Implementing - Group Leadership/Facilitation
(comments at end of section)


Group Leader implements the model to promote intimacy and ultimacy and provide ministry. The Leader also maintains the group's connection to the larger program and the congregation.

Session Facilitator leads a meeting of the group, using basic facilitation skills, and assists with upholding the model during the meeting.

Selection of leaders: Factors.
Leaders are selected for:
*commitment to the model,
*strong connection to the church,
*understanding of the role,
*ability to relate well
*being a good listener and an non-anxious presence,
*willingness to attend Leaders Meetings and accept direction from the minister and program coordinator.
Selection process:
*Selection is by the minister and/or Steering Committee.
*This is a leadership role within the congregation. Membership is a commitment to the congregation.
Support. Facilitators meet with the minister, coordinator or 'coach' on a regular basis as a way of being connected with the congregation and having support regarding group process.
Contacts (Meeting and individual)
Regular Contacts: Group leaders may meet on a regular basis to discuss issues and problems in their group, for short training topics, to reinforce the "shared ministry" between the leaders and the minister, and/or to have a SGM session themselves.
The theme of the sessions may be related to leadership or group needs. This also allows dialogue on group development.

Non-regular contacts. Leaders may meet less frequently as a group, with contacts between the coordinator and the leaders on an individual basis. Without contact with the larger program, a group can become insular, exclusive or detached.
Leadership 'training' and development. This is done initially and/or over time, to include:
--small group ministry model overall and in the specific congregation.
--dynamics of group process.
--facilitation as spiritual practice
--enhancing skills in facilitation as ministry
Initial orientation.
*This can be an extended period of time and sessions, especially when the program is new and the first group of facilitators is being oriented.
*A Facilitator's Guide can be developed that provides everything a new facilitator needs to know for success. The trainer then reviews the manual with the new facilitator.
Facilitator or co-facilitators.
*Co-facilitators gives opportunity to review group dynamics with another person.
*Newer facilitators can be partnered with experienced facilitators.

Note: This is the more traditional model, and the facilitator (s) serve as Group Leader.
Facilitation rotates. The facilitation of sessions may be shared within the group. There still is a designated leader who holds the vision of the group and observes group dynamics and may intervene if the group violates the covenant or strays from the model.

Ongoing development.
*This provides opportunities for facilitators to share skills and experiences, with an awareness of how their own skills are developing.
*Skilled/experienced facilitators can become mentors to newer facilitators.
Facilitators and Session Content.
Facilitator involvement in selection of the session topics varies with program structure within the congregation.
Knowledge of Content.
*The facilitator does not need to have knowledge or expertise related to a topic. The focus of the group is on personal relation to, rather than knowledge about, the topic.
*A facilitator knowledgeable about a topic (example, a poet with a Poetry session) needs to be aware of the topic as related to ministry.

Facilitator Manual for Training and Development, UU SGM Network, Dec. 2008

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Introduction and Index | Overview of Small Group Ministry | Programming: Starting, Rejuvenating and Restarting Small Group Ministry | Oversight | Group Leadership and Facilitation | Groups | Sessions | Service | Visibility for Vitality

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