A Brief Process Guide to Group Facilitating

8 1/2 by 11, 10 pages, 3-hole punched

$5 ($4 for Process & Faith members)

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Effective group facilitation is "doing" process, not just talking about it or studying it. This simple but effective guide shows you how.

Helpful for facilitators of any kind of group.

Can be used by church leaders and teachers of Process & Faith curricula:

Authors' Introduction 

Groups convene for a number of reasons: to brainstorm, to make a decision, to share information, to resolve a conflict, to study a subject, to have fun. Your role as the facilitator is to use a set of skills—listening, speaking, affirming, observing—that help participants feel welcome, heard, and participative. Give permission for participants to be curious, open, and adventuresome. Model caring and encourage sharing, listening, and responding as ways to learn from one another.

There are a number of books available on leadership styles, but a style grounded in process-relational theology suggests leadership by proposal. A proposal is a possibility, an affirmation, an assertion, an offering. A proposal is a possibility in a world filled with many other possibilities. A proposal is not a fact, given, known, or truth. Leadership by proposal invites people to consider a possible way of doing things while respectfully acknowledging that there are other possible ways to do it. Leadership by proposal also suggests that while we usually think of the leader as one who is assigned or elected and assumes that position throughout the entire group process, there are occasions when


participants assume leadership. The participant who offers a new proposal—a new idea, recommendation, or direction—becomes in reality a leader during the time that his or her proposal is being actively considered by the group.The following pages provide an overview of group dynamics from the perspective of process theology, followed by specific behaviors and attitudes helpful to facilitators and participants engaged in any group process, whether a class or committee meeting. The checklist enables each participant to complete a three-fold assessment of the experience, from personal sense of well-being, to the group itself, and to the broader context of the community. The journal page encourages facilitators to acknowledge issues to which they may be particularly sensitive. Anticipating and preparing in advance for potentially difficult subjects can not only help you but empower you to facilitate more effectively.

And our final word . . . enjoy yourself and your group! Group life can be empowering, offering opportunities for everyone to speak, cooperate, create, and propose new ways of being in the world.

Authors:  Robert and Adrienne Brizee

Robert and Adrienne Brizee are co-founders of First United Methodist Church of Wenatchee’s Lay School of Theology and co-authors, with Julia Gotthold, of Dancing with the Divine: An Interactive Journey into God.

Adrienne Brizee practiced as a licensed mental health counselor for nearly thirty years, served as vice-chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, Pacific Northwest Conference, and is a recipient of the Bishop’s Award for a layperson.

Robert Brizee is an ordained United Methodist minister who practiced as a licensed counseling psychologist and pastoral counselor in Wenatchee, WA. He is the author of Eight Paths to Forgiveness, and The Gift of Listening.