Why & How to Share Facilitation

One of the most intimidating roles in a Community Group is facilitating discussion. Because of that group leaders often fail to share facilitation fearing it is too difficult or important of a role for other group members. 

5 Ways Failing to Share Facilitation Limits Your Group

  1. Facilitation is seen as something only group leaders can do

  2. Fewer people get in the game and develop facilitation skills

  3. People who are great question askers are stuck on the sidelines

  4. People are too intimidated to consider group leadership because they don't think they could lead good discussions

  5. Groups are unable to multiply for lack of new leaders

The goal of group discussion is not teaching but application. Anyone can ask questions about how to apply the Bible to our lives. 

So, how do you share facilitation with your group members? 

3 Ideas for Sharing Facilitation

  1. Schedule a different person to facilitate discussion each week.

    • Hand out the schedule the first week of group and let people know you'd like everyone or almost everyone to facilitate discussion in group.

    • Let them know that all they need to do is read questions off a piece of paper.

    • Communicate with them that if they are not comfortable leading discussion to have a conversation with you after group.

  2. Send Group Facilitation Guide

    • We have put together a short 1 page Facilitation Guide to email to your leaders the week before they facilitate discussion. This guide includes everything they need to know to lead discussion their first time. 

    • Here is a suggested email to send group members before they facilitate.

  3. Followup After Meeting

    • After group, follow up with the person who facilitated discussion to celebrate and affirm them. Most of us are anxious about doing something new, especially talking in front of others. So do all that you can to encourage and thank them.

    • If you have any suggestions, limit them to one or two at the most.

    • They mostly just need your affirmation that they can do it and they did a good job.

If you have further questions about how to share facilitation in your group, let your group coach know. The more people we can get into the game the better.

10 Ways to Squash Group Discussion

When facilitating in your group, here are 10 surefire ways to stifle the discussion and keep group members from sharing:

  1. Teach.  This is your chance to dispense everything you've learned about the topic.  Study up, stand up, and do all of the talking.  Wear black-rimmed glasses and do a lot of pointing for effect.
  2. Correct.  When one of your group members answers a question with the wrong response (or at least not the response you were looking for), be sure to correct them and coldly dismiss their contribution.  Be sure to inform them of the correct answer.   
  3. Intimidate.  Use every opportunity to infuse terms like transubstantiationsactification, or substitutionary atonementinto your discussion.  Incorporating names like BonheofferStottLucado, and Luther are equally impressive.  
  4. Overload.  Be sure to come prepared with at least 40 discussion questions, which will nicely limit responses to 10 seconds or less per question.
  5. Control.  Don't permit any conversation that deviates even the slightest bit from your agenda for the group discussion.  Stick to the script and establish strict boundaries.
  6. Read.  Keep your eyes focused on your Bible and your discussion questions.  Avoid eye contact with group members at all costs.
  7. Factualize.  Be sure to focus only on facts.  Opinions, thoughts, and personal application have no value when discussing issues of faith. 
  8. Steamroll.  When you ask a question and no one responds within 2 seconds, answer the question yourself, then move on immediately to the next question.  You must keep the discussion moving.
  9. Monopolize.  As the leader you know that everyone wants to know what you have to say.  About everything.  Do most, if not all, of the talking.  Be sure to comment after anyone speaks, even when it comes to icebreaker responses.
  10. Grimace.  Groups should be a serious environment.  Since we are studying God's word, there isn't time for frivolity or fun.  Friendships, common ground, and laughter are intended to be shared outside the group.