Facilitator Best Practices

Facilitation styles vary from person to person, building on the gifts each brings to the task. There are, however, common characteristics of good facilitators, which we list below.

 

Good facilitators set the group up for success when they:

  • Own and take seriously their role as facilitator
  • Prepare for each and every session
  • Are flexible
  • Help maintain the integrity of the group from week to week
  • Are prepared to refer a member of their group for pastoral or mental health care
  • Ask for feedback at the end of each session, and readily hear and incorporate this feedback
  • Pray for their small group and individual participants before and throughout their time together

 

Good facilitators create a safe and welcoming space when they:

  • Create a safe space for conversation by laying out expectations around confidentiality and social media policies
  • Post the ground rules in a visible place each week and refer to them when necessary
  • Are clear about cell phone expectations
  • Clearly communicate what is expected from group members
  • Make space to be human, especially in regards to restroom policy! We’re all adults, just go if you need to!

 

Good facilitators keep the conversation fruitful when they:

  • Make sure that participants understand the structure of each session
  • Do a focused check-in, as provided in the Meeting Jesus curriculum (e.g. “How did you meet Jesus this week?” vs. “How was your week?”)
  • Are mindful of the time, and keep the session moving
  • Recognize that silence is not only okay, it can be fruitful and good
  • Allow for every voice to be heard, shepherding those who talk to much into silence and those who are not vocal into sharing
  • Ask “process” questions, such as, “I see you’re thinking hard about this. Would you care to share your thoughts?”
  • Can see when it’s time for participants to take a stretch break
  • Keep the conversation on track by guiding participants back to the question
  • Rephrase or reframe questions so that they may be better understood by the group
  • Understand that there everyone has a unique learning preference and try to engage participants with different learning styles every session
  • Expect and welcome differing perspectives, and name the healthy tension when necessary