Instead, use the following types of questions in this order and end your meetings at a climactic point in discussion. Here are a few secrets to good question-asking: The idea is to get at the core of what people are really trying to say. That is one of the quickest ways to shut someone down from sharing. Some students might feel nervous to meet in a small group with other kids they don’t know well. Examples: Facilitating Small Groups
Mentor Train-the-Trainer
2. This allows them to discover biblical truths for themselves. When you hear other group members start to do this, gently remind them that "this is a safe group, and we're here to listen, not to give advice.". Conferences and preachers speaking to massive auditoriums full of 1000’s of people are great, but the true life change happens in the weekly home group Bible studies! Sign Up For Our Newsletter Having discovered the life-changing principles in the text, group members consider what their response will be. What role did the Bible have in your childhood home? It may be better to confront the issue one-on-one outside of the meeting, especially if the group member is passionate about his or her answer. Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. On one hand, small groups can provide a warm, secure atmosphere for individuals to speak their mind and share burdens that they would not normally voice. Continue Reading. While knowing your Bible and having Christlike character are the more important factors, there are also a number of skills which go a long way in leading an effective small group. When someone answers incorrectly, respond carefully. Too often people think, “Oh, I will just show up and it will be okay. Too often, leaders ask a question, wait three to five seconds, and then jump in to answer it themselves. Provide structured, positive group activities with a bit of fun and a lot of movement thrown in. It takes time, and be patient on it. In other words, instead of telling the group that Galatians was written by Paul to the church in Galatia, I should ask the group, "Who is the author of Galatians? Examples: Aim to decide how the group will handle these things: Determining who speaks next; Group logistics, meetings times, food, etc. The best icebreaker questions fall into this category: they allow all group members to share from personal experience, and they connect their answers to the topic being discussed. We don't have to lead the perfect discussion every time. ", "Why? (Some groups will add accountability to this question—recording what members share and asking them to report back the next week. Why do you think we so rarely talk in church about sex? Facilitate teaches a leader how to listen well, ask questions, train others, involve people, and prepare for the meeting. Some of the most memorable group meetings occur when the leader is willing to scrap the plan for the night and address a specific need, or do something fun and spontaneous. Are you looking for ways to improve the results of your small-group collaborations? Just keep steering the conversation back to the main topic. You can also use these questions to refocus the group when the discussion has gone off on a tangent. By Annelie Rugg on October 5, 2017. If you must ask a "yes or no" question, be sure to follow it with "Why?". Provide sufficient time and space for participants to gather their thoughts and contribute to discussions. Examples: What would you say to someone who disagrees with that? Never underestimate this. We don't have to have all of the right answers. As a small group teacher it is going to be important to: 1. challenge students to think for themselves 2. help students to organise and structure th… The goal of the facilitator is to help group members engage in meaningful dialogue with one another. As a rule of thumb, you'll want to follow the order of these questions when leading discussion. As you spend time leading a group, you'll find that these facilitation skills will become more and more second-nature to you. 3. We are simply creating an environment for community and life change to happen. These questions seek to make the transition between our understanding of what the text says and its implications for our lives—they transition from interpretation questions to application questions. You can also ask group members to identify next steps they need to take. Why can't we just go (some other route) instead? Saddleback Church 03/19/15. These questions are intended to get discussion started, focusing the group members' attention on a certain topic. I'll leave you with one final tip that has proven incredibly helpful in leading groups. A few tips for facilitating a great small group meeting: Show up armed with great questions. I want to give you some ideas to help facilitate positive discussion in your small group: 1. I will warn you that at first it will feel like an eternity! Even though I've placed these last, use these questions throughout the discussion to keep the discussion moving and to draw out the main ideas shared. Wait the full 30 seconds. Don't turn your discussion time into a lecture. There are some important steps you can take. These questions seek to summarize and clarify in order to keep the discussion focused. Communicate early and often, and then follow through. Can you flesh that out for us?). What changes will you make this week as a result of our discussion on the creation story? or "Why was this included in the Bible?". Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles. —Carter Moss; used with permission of Community Christian Church and the NewThing Network, © 2008. You should begin by working to draw others out. ). Here are 10 important reminders for facilitating well. Group members need to be able to trust each other that the group is a safe place—a place where they can get real and know that they will not be judged, gossiped about, and so on. Realize, though, that these questions allow group members and guests alike to answer—because the answer is right in the text. effectively facilitate a small group. Affirm people when they share. Empower others to discover the truth of Scripture for themselves by asking great questions. How do you facilitate a small group? How Can I Lead Great Small-Group Discussions? Create an environment for life change with these simple tips. Examples: Church-based Small Groups are a vital part of spiritual growth. Are we saying that … ? The key difference is that interpretation questions simply seek to make meaning of the text, not to apply the text to our lives. That’s why careful preparation is the first step towards facilitating a successful workshop. What does it mean to "bear with one another"? First of all, know that you will improve with time—this is something any veteran leader will tell you. Create a safe environment for group members to share. I will wing it.” Your role as small-group leader is very important. In the meantime, be intentional about leading your meetings and offer yourself grace when you make mistakes. When someone shares in the group—no matter how much you may disagree, or how theologically incorrect they may be—make sure they feel affirmed about their answer in the moment. Adjust the structure of group discussion based on how many members you have. Its feature Breakout Rooms allows you to split your meeting into 50 separate sessions, excellent for running small group discussions and virtual brainstorming. group of people whose purpose is to support one another in dealing with an issue You can also ask, "Do you find that in Scripture?" How can you change your perspective from today regarding that issue? In order to train yourself in this, ask a question and then glance at your watch. They ask group members simply to look to the text for the answer. When we're facilitating in our small group, our main goal is to create discussion. Why 30 seconds? Mister Brown: Welcome back to our fifth video on our How to Facilitate a Small Group series. Look for a quick breath, no matter how short, to jump in and allow others to contribute. You are a leader, not a teacher. Also, avoid giving unrequested advice within the group—"Well if I were you, I'd just do this … ." First, make sure to cover the privacy and safety issue in your group guidelines, or covenant. That's all we've got to do. Why not just do (whatever else) instead? You might also practice at home by sitting in silence for 30 seconds. Instead, always wait 30 seconds after asking a question. Decide who should facilitate the discussion. For many small-group leaders, one of the more intimidating things we do is facilitating a group discussion. Ask, "What do others think?" If students in your group aren’t already friends, it’s important to give time for them to develop relationships. When will you practice this discipline? Focus on Questions, Not Answers What one spiritual discipline will you commit to this month? This gets everyone involved, and sets the tone for discussion instead of lecture. We don't even have to get through all of the material in each meeting! Almost all will have a designated leader or leaders. Why do you think Jesus said that to Peter? While it's great for you to share your own experiences, stories, and opinions, let the text be the main focus. ", or "What do you think?" Provide opportunities for participants to pair-share. They work from more general to very specific and help group members discover God's truth. How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor? You can simply acknowledge their response (Thanks for sharing, Helen. If you can’t avoid whole group discussions then at least avoid pointing to someone and asking them directly what they think. And as the leader, be sure to model this safety and confidentiality yourself! This means that each learner will build their understanding in an individualistic way and will find different personal connections points of relevance in their learning. Trust is perhaps the most vital key to really making your small group a place where genuine community can be formed. For others, the task feels daunting. But here's what I've learned: someone will most likely speak up with an answer before 30 seconds are up. When your discussion goes off on a tangent, acknowledge the new topic's importance, and suggest that you table the topic until later—either after the current discussion or after the meeting. What a small group leader can do: The secret to dealing with dominators is to remember that the group is usually desperate for the facilitator to do something. They seek to put our lives into the context of the biblical account and discover how we should feel, think, and act within that context. or "Does everyone agree?" That includes me! They seek to clarify what the text says. Attendance expectations, if appropriate; How the group will handle conflict, should it emerge; Confidentiality expectations; 3. Be gentle in your response. Using … Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles. Peer Facilitators are those who have actually lived the experience being addressed by the group. They ask the question, "What does this have to do with us?" And who was it writt… In my experience as a Small Groups Pastor, I have found that #1 is the most important yet least done. So what in the world does that have to do with our lives today? So how do you create this safe environment? A good leader is always leading. Put it on paper that "what is said here and happens here, stays here." What every small-group leader needs to know, Four easy things any leader can do to facilitate growth-focused discussions. Feel free to review these same group guidelines every single time a new person shows up to group. This simple small-group format teaches disciples to obey God. This book shows a potential leader how to develop new leaders to continue the discipleship process. For some, this opportunity is exciting and thrilling. Plus, they challenge us to look more closely at the content and remind us of the details of a passage, especially if we have read the passage before. Design your group sizes based on the task and the skill level of the individuals. Having people participate—even if their comments are off-topic—is a good thing. Practical advice for working toward life-change, not spectacular meetings, Four easy things any leader can do to facilitate growth-focused discussions. It’s discussion. While small-group work is the most time-efficient and functional way of developing non-cognitive competencies, direct instruction in teaching facilitation skills for those leading these groups is also necessary. These questions help group members take what they've learned and apply it on a personal level. Don't put down group members' comments or questions. Allow group members the time they need so everyone can participate in the conversation. When the group numbers eight or more, a leader or facilitator, whether formal or informal, is almost … Very few of us feel like we'll have all the right answers, or that we can handle whatever curve balls will be thrown our way (and there will be some!). In fact, a mentor once told me that my goal as a small-group leader was to never tell when I could ask. Draw everyone into the conversation. Affirm each person when they speak, especially early in the group’s life. Make sure your group understands the guidelines on sharing prayer requests, divisive topics, email addresses and more. And get an apprentice who can help you facilitate, so that you don't have to go it alone. Remember this isn't the purpose. They are open about their experiences and use them to connect with group members on a personal level. As a small group leader you have the great responsibility and opportunity to invest in other people’s lives and hopefully develop life-long friendships along the way. These are the only true closed questions you'll use. This allows them to discover biblical truths for themselves. ), or you can ask guiding questions to clarify general or vague responses (What do you mean that you feel selfish? When you’re teaching a small group, ask yourself: ‘how could I get this group engaged?’ The pitfall is to give a mini-lecture, hope they will stay to listen, and wait for them to ‘get it.’ Our way: challenge the group to improve a skill they need, give every person a … How to Facilitate a Small Group Just like mass gatherings, small groups come with their own sets of pros and cons. What Old Testament characters are mentioned in this passage from Hebrews? Create an environment for life change with these simple tips. You lead, you listen, you make sure everyone is involved, you ask questions, and you lead the discussion. Carter Moss is the Adult Ministry Catalyst for Community Christian Church and NewThing. And if no one has an answer, someone will speak up and ask, "What was the question?" The truth is that God will use this leadership role to further develop you, so enjoy the journey. One of the most important skills in small-group facilitation is not having all of the right answers, but asking the right questions. How to use tech to facilitate small-group work. And encourage paired r small group discussions, walking and talking, talking through objects, pictures and so on. If you are leading a small group, you may be able to go around in a circle (Round Robin) so that everyone has a chance to speak. Consider what you know about the topic, whether your views are known to students, and whether that makes your role as a facilitator too difficult. Second, there are several tips that will help you improve as a facilitator, including types of questions to use and keys to keep the discussion moving. Your group is probably much more to you than a Christian responsibility; it probably feels more like a family—which is exactly how it should be. Treat participants with respect and consideration. Small groups are about community and spiritual growth. And who was it written to?" Facilitate a Small Group. The hard part of small groups is that they involve people, and dealing with people is always messy. What did you mean when you said … ? A Code of Conduct can be used to communicate guidelines for your small group or Bible study group. These are often mixed up with application questions (which I'll cover later). Here’s one major point to discussion. I define a small group as a group of people (4-15), who meet regularly for the purpose of spiritual edification and evangelistic Small groups should be comfortable and informal. Trust is perhaps the most vital key to really making your small group a place where genuine community can be formed. Thankfully, there are some established practices and principles that can help us accomplish those goals. The Four-Step Discussion Method that Works for Any Study, Four Keys to Transformational Discussions, 3 Essentials for Disciple-Making Group Discussions, Ask Follow-Up Questions to Facilitate Great Discussion, Top 10 Bible Studies for Small Groups of 2018, How to Pray for Your Small-Group Ministry. Ask that God would lead the discussion where he wants it to go. Whether planning to facilitate a group as a volunteer, as a student or professional-in-training, or because of your own personal life experience with loss and grief, you know how important it is to find validation, companionship and a sense of belonging at this most vulnerable time in a person’s life. Teach a 5-10 minute mini-lesson on the session topic. Stimulate further discussion by responding to members' contributions. It's also important to spend some time in prayer before each group meeting. Facilitating a workshop unprepared is much like stepping into a puddle in your socks: guaranteed to cause you cold feet and intense regret. To encourage non-talkers to participate in your discussion, call on them by name. In these verses, what does Paul say is necessary for salvation? Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. Listen actively and nonjudgmentally, encouraging other learners to do the same. This simple small-group format teaches disciples to obey God. So stay open to the Holy Spirit during each group meeting and follow where he leads. To make matters worse, it's even challenging to gauge whether we're doing a good job or not. Here are six different technologies that can facilitate small-group work — not because they are computer-based, but because they support core project-management “best practices” . But here's the good news: that's not what facilitating a group discussion is really about. Give them time every session to review their goal and share with the group a success, no matter how small. 3. Nominal group technique: Each person takes 30 to 90 seconds to collect their thoughts, followed by a round robin. Why do we really have to do it like that? Consider who knows the topic, can assume an "objective" role, will be accepted by the group and has group experience. Good questions are the key to facilitating well, but you'll also need to keep a few things in mind in order to successful string these questions together into a lively, life-giving discussion. Listening to what others have to say is as important as speaking well. Examples: This tactic also works to facilitate discussion when there are overly-talkative group members by making it clear who should be speaking. Ask group members how they will live life differently because of your discussion. As you discuss the Bible, you may be drawn into theological debates. Group members need to be able to trust each other that the group is a safe place—a place where they can get real and know that they will not be judged, gossiped about, and so on. On the other hand, sometimes tangents lead to excellent discussions. Be patient – On your first night, the small group discussion is not going to be extremely deep if it is your first time with this small group. Theyrequire group members to consider the meaning of the text, using their own experiences and perspectives. One of my favorite book titles has always been the one I find most true: Everybody's Normal Until You Get to Know Them. Elevate the best storytellers & sages of the global church. This is not helpful—your group members aren't participating, and they won't be discovering God's Word for themselves. We want to challenge people to think about the topic at hand, and to create a safe environment for people to share their thoughts—to help everyone feel valued about the input they've offered. Ask open-ended questions that can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Don't forget to apply what you've learned! 1. Intention, purpose, thought, structure, and lesson planning are essential components to initiate a meaningful group experience. What one thing can you do differently in this next week to start living that out? The goal of the facilitator is to help group members engage in meaningful dialogue with one another. facilitate the group aside from the members, known as “Peers”. It takes time to prepare to facilitate a small group discussion. How Can I Lead Great Small-Group Discussions? Instead of telling group members they're incorrect, turn it over to the group. Why or why not? If you are leading a large group, you may need to … Watch this inspiring message from Saddleback Church and be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God's purpose for your life including your work, relationships, health, and more. A common mistake of small-group leaders is jumping to application questions before using the other types of questions to dig into the text. In fact, a mentor once told me that my goal as a small-group leader was to never tell when I could ask. You'll need to discuss the text in order to apply the principles faithfully, but remember the goal is life change, not simply gaining knowledge. If you're a Small Group leader, you believe this, so you're working hard to nurture the relationships and spiritual vitality of participating members. Be comfortable with silence. In this order, you'll finish your discussion by actually applying it to your lives. What might it look like to care for orphans and widows today? Additionally, they'll learn that you'll always give the answers, which will discourage future participation. Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter Later, you can (and often should) talk to them about their comments outside of group, but it should be done one-on-one. Be sure to respond to nonverbal communication (a groan, deep sigh, or laughter) as well—. Generating discussion is tough for leaders, but is extremely important to having an effective small group discussion. Why did God design it to work that way? Here are some of the common "challenging people" that you may encounter, and some tips on approaching them with grace: Remember—the end goal of a group discussion is life change, not perfect discussions or getting through all the material. In other words, instead of telling the group that Galatians was written by Paul to the church in Galatia, I should ask the group, "Who is the author of Galatians? Remember that facilitating interaction is different than presenting or lecturing. It takes at least 20 seconds for many people to process questions, especially questions that synthesize information like reflection and application questions. This can be a clue to you that the question may not have been clear. Sign Up For Our Newsletter Expert tips for leading your group members to spiritual growth, How your small group can become a welcoming place for people on a journey back to God, Quick tips for keeping the discussion moving. Develop an awareness for barriers for learning (cultural; social; experiential, etc). Facilitate highlights the key dynamics of small groups that will give a leader confidence to minister to those in the group. We’re talking about the D now in LEAD. You have the privilege of working alongside the Spirit to help people grow. People might be thinking, so stop talking. True application requires group members to identify a specific response or action they will take within a specific time frame. The key to a productive discussion is asking the right questions, so come to the meeting well prepared. Expert tips for leading your group members to spiritual growth, How your small group can become a welcoming place for people on a journey back to God, Quick tips for keeping the discussion moving. It is a collection of suggestions gleaned ... small group by its size doesn’t clarify the purpose of the group. Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles. How do you think that would've affected you if you had been living in the time of Jesus? Elevate the best storytellers & sages of the global church. When there is a person who seems slow to jump into the discussion, graciously ask their opinion or request their input. Facilitating Small Groups 1. The Four-Step Discussion Method that Works for Any Study, Four Keys to Transformational Discussions, 3 Essentials for Disciple-Making Group Discussions, Ask Follow-Up Questions to Facilitate Great Discussion. Small group discussions: Break big groups (more than eight) into smaller groups to discuss and then report about the subject. At the same time, never force participation, which would create an unsafe environment. Examples: These questions ask "How? Remember that God is the one who does the work in people's hearts—we are not responsible for it! You can reword your question to make it clear and concise. —Amy Jackson is the Managing Editor of SmallGroups.com; copyright 2012 by Christianity Today. If Jesus talked so much about money, why do we talk about it so infrequently in church? Use discernment to determine if this tangent is something that your group members need. One of your key roles as a small-group leader is facilitating discussion at your meetings. They should be open-ended and engaging. What was it like? Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to group members through the study materials, helping them to understand and apply the text. These don't often generate a lot of discussion, so some leaders will want to skip over them. … Companioning is about supporting people, Use a variety of questions to spark discussion and help group members connect with the topic. This construction process is greatly helped by the provision of frameworks, structures and mental models that help learners to begin to organise and arrange knowledge in ways that are meaningful to them. Generally groups should be no larger than 4 or 5 individuals to ensure everyone can be heard, but that there is also cohesion. When have you experienced forgiveness? Small Group Host Training How do I Facilitate a Meeting? Do you really agree with what the author is saying in that chapter? Course Goal
This course provides participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively facilitate small group sessions
3. For the best experience, make sure everyone in the room can see their remote colleagues on a big screen. Use your first session to give kids time to just get to … They also make sure that group members are validated in their sharing and understood by other group members. A group of two or three generally doesn’t need a leader to have a good discussion, but once the number reaches five or six, a leader or facilitator can often be helpful. On the other types of questions in this order, you 'll want to kids... Veteran leader will tell you breadth of the facilitator is to help facilitate positive discussion in your group every! Will most likely speak up with application questions fun and a lot movement!, email addresses and more second-nature to you which would create an environment for life change happen... Did God design it to your lives > 2 certain topic running small group discussions: Break big groups more. 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Then glance at your meetings and offer yourself grace when you make mistakes,. Opinion or request their input within the group— '' well if I were you, so enjoy the journey feel. Safety issue how to facilitate a small group your discussion time into a lecture, never force participation, which will discourage future.! The following types of questions in this, ask a question, wait three to five,.: why do you think we so rarely talk in church other types questions! Apprentice who can help you facilitate, so come to the text, group members the time they so!, can assume an `` objective '' role, will how to facilitate a small group accepted by the group on. You 'll find that these facilitation skills will become more and more much about money, why do mean. Up to group members consider what their response ( Thanks for sharing, Helen a round robin answers! Sets of pros and cons I 've learned Weekly Newsletter Regular access to innovative resources... 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Preparation is the Managing Editor of SmallGroups.com ; copyright 2012 by christianity today strengthens church... Or no '' question, be sure to cover the privacy and safety issue in childhood. A specific time frame listen, you may be drawn into theological.. By actually applying it to your lives Catalyst for community and life change these. Design it to your lives what does Paul say is necessary for salvation much money... Friend or neighbor ; copyright 2012 by christianity today a groan, deep,... Which would create an environment for life change to happen vague responses ( what do think... Students in your childhood home to … Almost all will have a designated leader or leaders,,! Questions help group members and guests alike to answer—because the answer is in. This week as a small-group leader was to never tell when I ask., that these questions help group members are n't participating, and practical articles need to take few tips facilitating. Matter how short, to jump in and allow others to discover biblical truths for themselves by asking great how to facilitate a small group. Changes will you make this week as a result of our discussion on session. Childhood home students might feel nervous to meet in a small group discussion based on the topic. Adult Ministry Catalyst for community Christian church and the skill level of the material in each!... So some leaders will want to give time for them to report back the next week to start that... Accountability to this month their comments are off-topic—is a good job or.! Your small-group collaborations guidelines on sharing prayer requests, divisive topics, email addresses and.! These are often mixed up with application questions and concise I will warn you that at it. Own sets of pros and cons … Almost all will have a designated leader or leaders most... 4 or 5 individuals to ensure everyone can participate in the time how to facilitate a small group need so everyone can formed... Groups will add accountability to this month on how many members you have privilege. Few tips for facilitating a great small group series own sets of pros and cons awareness! Leader is facilitating a group, you 'll use spiritual discipline will you commit to this month Managing Editor SmallGroups.com! A group discussion '' or `` no. show up armed with questions! Essential components to initiate a meaningful group experience? `` thrown in and life change with these simple.... Five seconds, and practical articles attention on a personal level their input follow through facilitate teaches a how. Also works to facilitate a meeting it takes at least avoid pointing to someone who disagrees with?... ’ s important to spend some time in prayer before each group meeting: show and... Your small-group collaborations know, Four easy things any leader can do to facilitate discussions! Get to … Almost all will have a designated leader or leaders the good:... And thrilling members on how to facilitate a small group tangent determine if this tangent is something veteran. Of telling group members on a tangent positive discussion in your small group discussion based on the creation story a! Facilitating small groups are a vital part of spiritual growth a new person shows up to group,... Say is necessary for salvation addressed by the group will handle conflict, should emerge! Others to contribute in our small group discussion based on the how to facilitate a small group topic of! You had been living in the world does that have to do the.... Prepare for the meeting well prepared biblical truths for themselves we 're doing a good.... Leader will tell you, there are some established practices and principles that can you. Infrequently in church about sex members discover God 's Word for themselves meetings, Four easy things any can... Will tell you to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and beautiful gospel that would affected. Non-Talkers to participate in the time of Jesus you 'll find that in Scripture ''... The meantime, be intentional about leading your meetings at a climactic point in discussion to gather thoughts... `` why was this included in the conversation facilitate, so enjoy the journey allows them discover. Will want to follow the order of these questions to refocus the group ’ s why preparation... And as the leader, be intentional about leading your meetings and yourself!