Archives For facilitator tips

Facilitating a small group is more art than science. While there are certain principles small group facilitators need to follow, 1 there are various techniques you can use.

VISIT OTHER GROUPS TO SEE HOW OTHER FACILITATORS FACILITATE

Each facilitator is going to have his own unique style of facilitating a small group. Thus, there are things each facilitator can learn from each other. Which is a principle that Scripture also teaches. Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Some of these principles are doing the Unifying Question each week, having an apprentice/assistant/co-leader, having an Empty Chair in the group to remind everyone to pray for unsaved people, serving together at church or in the community, talking less than 25 percent of the time, starting and ending the group on time, calling someone who is part of your group and did not show up for group and did not tell anyone he wouldn’t be there, and encouraging everyone to participate in the discussion.

John Calvin was a Swiss reformer and contemporary to the well-known Martin Luther (Calvin is twenty-six years younger than Martin Luther).

In the city of Geneva, jewelers and goldsmiths made crucifixes, chalices, and other items that people were reverent to and sometimes even worshipped. When John Calvin had political influence in the city of Geneva, one thing he instituted was a Consistoire, or “ecclesiastical court.” This “court” got rid of jewelers and goldsmiths making crucifixes, chalices, and other instruments serving papacy and idolatry. However, John Calvin allowed the clockmakers to stay.

In John Calvin’s mind, timeliness was a virtue because a Christian was not supposed to let minutes go unused for the Lord. In Calvin’s theology, every Christian would have to give an account to God for every moment of his life, and the personal clock was a way to help Christians make the most of the time they had. 1

Similar to John Calvin and his reverence for time, you too, as a small group facilitator, need to make the most of the time you have in your group meetings. However, be sure to begin and end on time.

BEGIN AND END ON TIME

Starting and Ending on Time Is Your Responsibility as the Facilitator

As the small group facilitator, you are the leader of your group. The king of Israel, David, reminds us about the limited time we have and how we must make the most of it, Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Jennifer McNutt, and David Lauber, The People’s Book, p. 100.

If you have led a small group for any length of time you know that sometimes you ask a question and no one responds. And, let’s be honest: it is awkward, embarrassing, and discouraging. But as a small group facilitator, you don’t want to answer your own questions.

Facilitator Tip 16 - Don't Answer Your Own Questions

DON’T ANSWER YOUR OWN QUESTIONS

Why Not Answer Your Own Questions?

If you as the facilitator ask a question—then jump in and answer it before others talk—it discourages the group from sharing their thoughts. The group recognizes you as the leader, so if you share your answer before others share, then it tells the group that you have all the answers, and that you have shared the right answers. As a result, others will be scared to share their answers because they might differ with yours. You only want to share your answer to a question after others have already had a chance to share.

The Goal Is Get Others to Talk

While it is tempting to answer your own questions when people want to talk, it is important that you focus on getting others to talk and share their thoughts. Your goal is to get people to talk about the Bible (while using a tool like the Wiersbe Bible study guides or Chip Ingram study guides), what’s going on in their lives, and how they can apply what they are learning.

How to Not Answer Your Own Questions

Here are three basic tips to help you not answer your own questions.

  • First, let the group sit in silence for a bit. A little bit of silence is okay.
  • Second, ask the question again. You might want to read the question slower or maybe rephrase it slightly to help people understand it.
  • Third, just move on to the next question.

If the group struggles to understand what a question is asking or is not sure how to answer, just move on to the next question.

Facilitating a small group discussion each week is not the only thing you are responsible to do in your life. Most people have at least one job, a family, volunteer with service organizations, and have other things to do. When you know that you have a busy season of your life approaching, you might want to delegate your facilitator responsibilities. 1

DELEGATE YOUR BUSY WEEKS OR SEASONS

Facilitator Tip 14 - Delegate Your Busy Weeks or Seasons

Four Practical Aspects to a Healthy Small Group

You need to have four elements in place in your small group to maintain a healthy and strong group. For the sake of review, let’s take a look at those. Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. DELEGATION IN THE BIBLE

    But, is delegation a biblical idea? Let’s take a look at some examples of delegation in the Bible.

    Exodus

    Moses was in the wilderness with the nation of Israel and was listening to the people’s disputes against each other from “morning till evening” (Exod 18:13). He was a busy guy and likely had little time for anything else. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro, saw what he was doing and told him,

    21But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. 22They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. 23If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace. (Exod 18:21-23, NLT)

    Jethro tells Moses to find some good leaders, to appoint them to a leadership position, and that those men could help Moses with his work.

    Ephesians

    Paul was writing about spiritual gifts to the believers in the city of Ephesus when he told them,

    11Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Eph 4:11-12, emphasis added)

    Here Paul instructs us that the job of pastors and teachers is not to do ministry. Instead, their job is to equip people to do ministry.

    2 Timothy

    Paul was writing the last of all of his letters we have in the New Testament when he told his disciple Timothy.

    You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (2 Tim 2:2, emphasis added)

    Delegation is at the heart of Paul’s words here. Paul is asking Timothy to teach to others what Paul has already taught to Timothy.

    Titus

    Paul told another of his disciples, Titus a similar message.

    I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. (Titus 1:5)

    Titus was left on the island of Crete by Paul to do ministry. But the time has come now for Titus to delegate that ministry to the elders.

    Revelation

    The apostle John was told,

    I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star. (Rev 22:16, emphasis added)

    There are a few levels of delegation here. Jesus gives the message to an angel, and that angel gives the message to John, and John is supposed to give the message to the seven churches.

If there is one piece of coaching that I give to the small group leaders I serve with it is that they need to talk less. Yes, talk less! As a small group facilitator their role is to get other people to talk. Here’s another tip in my series for small group facilitators. 

Facilitator Tip 8 - Talk Less Than 25 Percent of the Time

TALK LESS THAN 25 PERCENT OF THE TIME

The number 25 percent is probably too high for many of our small groups. In 2018 I evaluated several aspects of our LIFEGroups ministry at Rocky Hill Community Church. And one thing that stood out to me was that out of the twenty LIFEGroups at our church, ten of them had three to six people in them. Meaning, 50 percent of our small groups at church had three to six people in them. With that said, I started with the 25 percent rule, but the percentage should be smaller as the group gets larger. For example, if your group has ten people in it, then you should talk less than 10 percent of the time.

Learning: Instilling the Word of God

Continue Reading…

This article was significantly revised submitted for publication at New Identity Magazine. I’ll post a link to the article if they accept it. 

Great Study Bibles

Which study Bible you have is not as important as the fact that you have one which you regularly use. I recommend the following study Bibles:

When I facilitate various small group Bible studies I have found it helpful to keep a paper Bible nearby and ready. I know that I can read any version of the Bible that I want from a tablet or phone, but there is something special about reading the Bible from a paper Bible. In this week’s facilitator tip, I want to encourage you to always have a Bible within reach when you facilitate a small group. 

Facilitator Tip 5 - Always Have a Bible Within Reach

ALWAYS HAVE A PAPER BIBLE WITHIN REACH

 “The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.” ~ Patrick Henry

A paper Bible limits distractions and there is something special about reading from a real paper Bible versus a Bible on a phone or tablet. “The Word of God is a weapon Satan cannot overcome, but our responsibility is to know it, obey it, and trust it” (Warren Wiersbe, The Delights and Disciplines of Bible Study, p. 227). Therefore we should have one nearby at all times ready for reference and use.

L is for Learning: Instilling the Word of God

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In my early years of serving as a small groups pastor I often would talk to a person interested in joining a small group, refer him to the small group facilitator, then would find out that no one showed up for the group. Thus, I developed these ten tips because several of our groups had ten people sign up to be part of a group, then when the group was ready to start only two people showed up the first night.

10 Tips to Grow the Size of Your Your Small Group

Following these ten tips will increase the amount of people that show up for your small group.

SHARPEN YOUR FACILITATION SKILLS

“Do your planning and prepare your fields before
building your house.”
~ Prov 24:27

There are many different elements to a healthy small group. While you might select solid curriculum and provide tasty snacks, if you are a poor facilitator people will visit and not come back to your group. Here are a few basic tips to sharpen your facilitation skills. Continue Reading…

Start a Bible study . . . they said. It will be easy . . . they said. Well, facilitating a small group discussion as part of a Bible study or small group is not as easy as one thinks. In this post I give you twenty-five tips that will help you become a better small group facilitator. Leading a small group discussion is difficult.

Photo Credit: Kahunapule Michael Johnson

PREPARE WELL.

Don’t just show up and wing it. Pray, read the passage several times, and write out your answers to the questions. A great small group discussion doesn’t just happen. It takes preparation and hard work.

Continue Reading…