Archives For Facilitator Tips

You can never reach the correct interpretation of the Scriptures until  you’ve taken sufficient time to discover what the Bible is saying. Learning what has been written must always precede finding out what it means. Interpretation hinges on thorough, careful observation.

Charles Swindoll, “Searching the Scriptures” (p. 80)

The goal of facilitating a small group discussion is to get the group to talk together. The best way to foster a discussion-based environment is to put the chairs and couches in a circle. While this might seem simple, I have seen some small group facilitators overlook this simple step. Let me explain more. 

Facilitator Tip 12 - Put the Chairs and Couches in a Circle


Nothing says “let’s talk” like a bunch of people in a circle looking at each other.

Circles versus Rows

When people are in rows, it encourages them to listen to a teacher. When people are in a circle, it encourages them to listen to each other and talk. A circle fosters a discussion environment which is what the LIFEGroups at our church are all about (a facilitator should talk less than 25 percent of the time).

If Using a DVD, Move the Chairs

If your group is using a DVD-based curriculum such as the studies produced by Chip Ingram and Living on the Edge, you might want to place a half circle facing the TV. Then after the DVD is done, you as the facilitator can move your chair to the position where the TV is. This saves room in the space you are using and allows you to easily see everyone in the group.

Ensure New People Have a Good Seat in the Circle

One of the elements of our LIFEGroups at Rocky Hill Community Church is for each group to have an “empty chair.” This is a literal “empty chair” that each group should have as a reminder for the group to pray for the unsaved people in their lives. And, it is a reminder that when someone shows up for the group, there should be an empty chair for the person to sit in. However, new people visiting your group most likely will be a little shy and take a seat that might be on the outside or not within the circle. Make sure the new person feels welcome to the group and that he has a good seat within the circle of the group next to everyone else.

Today’s post is about helping small group facilitators prepare to facilitate a good discussion and lead a healthy small group study.

Facilitator Tip 11 - Watch the Study How-to Videos on YouTube


I do my best to create a brief video for each small group study that our church. Here are a few of my recent ones:

Continue Reading…

In this book on Bible study Warren Wiersbe writes, “Preparation for labor is as important as the labor itself” (The Delights and Disciplines of Bible Studyp. 80). As you facilitate a small group you need to do everything you can to prepare to facilitate a discussion of the people in your group. 

Facilitator Tip 10 - Watch the Leader Coaching Videos


If your group is using a DVD study, often there are some coaching videos on the DVDs (or available online). Continue Reading…

I am continuing my series of blog posts giving tips for small group facilitators. 

Facilitator Tip 9 - Read the Notes in the Back of the Discussion Guide


Most small group discussion guides will have some “leader notes” in the back of the guide to help the facilitator know what to expect during the discussion each week and how to prepare for the discussion. Be sure to read those notes during your preparation time for your small group (it is best to look at these notes after you have already worked through the lesson on your own). Continue Reading…