Small Group Facilitator
Small Group Facilitator

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. - 2 Timothy 2:2

One of our goals is to raise up an army of confident prayer warriors able to intercede confidently for others. The principles and concepts of healing prayer ministry that have been entrusted to us we intend to pass along to those that can also faithfully teach others.

How do we know that they know? If the learner does what is being asked we can be certain that the teaching was successful. How does the learner know that he knows? He just did it. This is the practical test used for all of our workshops, seminars, and small group lesson plans.

The Holy Spirit is in charge of bringing the truth to light. He is the teacher. The role of the small group leader is to organize a team of learners, make sure they have the necessary resources to work with, and to facilitate the learning process. It tends to be more consultative than deliberative. In other words, the facilitator encourages the learners to discover truth through the Holy Spirit rather than deliver it to their mind.

For these reasons, the lesson plans for our small group sessions are built around exercises and practice. It is beneficial for the group that the facilitator has personal experience with the material, but that is not strictly required. The facilitator acts as witness to the process, but leaves the responsibility for teaching up to the Holy Spirit and the responsibility for learning up to the participants.

Leadership and Facilitation

“Do not tell what you can ask. Do not ask if you know the answer; tell in dialogue.” - Jane Vella

Healing prayer is not difficult, it is personal. Our early teaching attempts were heavy on telling and left little time for dialogue. We transferred a great deal of information, but the audience often left feeling overwhelmed rather than equipped. Unfortunately, some were intimidated and believed it was too complex for them.

So we switched things up. Now we teach just enough information so people can engage in an exercise. Then we debrief and answer their very practical questions. If possible, we repeat the exercise so they can prove to themselves that they know the information.

The small group study guides are set up in this same format. There are twenty to thirty minutes of instruction that sets up an exercise. This information comes in both video and written form, and the small group is encouraged to use the vehicle that will work best for them.

The facilitator is not required to present, interpret, enhance or tell the information, but to simply administer the setting and moderate the flow of dialogue.

Learning Happens in Community

“A learning task is an open question put to a small group with the resources they need to respond to it.” - Jane Vella

A small group can be further separated into learning teams of two to four persons. Some exercises specify the size of this learning team, while others do not. The smaller group allows safety for the participants and gives everyone a chance to share in the process. Groups of six to twelve may have a natural leader that emerges, allowing the more timid members to listen rather than participate. The facilitator should watch the dynamic of the group to ensure opportunity for all to actively participate.

The facilitator should also moderate the question and answer time after the exercise. This does not infer that the facilitator will have responsibility to answer every question. Rather, he or she keeps the question in play until the learning team discovers the answer through the Holy Spirit’s guidance. From time to time the facilitator may choose to reword the question, or encourage a line of discussion that seems to be making progress. The answer discovered by the learner is more valuable and is retained better than any answer they are “told” by a teacher.

There is safety and camaraderie in the group process. A task that seems overwhelming to one individual may be intuitively understood by a peer. The courage of one is infectious, and soon all are engaged in the learning task. The facilitator should feel free to influence the team makeup before the exercise begins to ensure best participation. However, anytime a person leaves or is added to a group, it becomes a new group that must form anew.

The Checklist

  1. Well in advance of each session make sure all invitees are aware of the time, location, and purpose of the small group meeting. Secure an adequate facility and make arrangements for comfort, such as chairs, restrooms, and other equipment.
  2. Prior to the session review the material, prepare the handouts and video projection. Follow up with small group members to encourage them to attend.
  3. Begin the session with a welcome statement, make any appropriate announcements, and then set the tone with an opening prayer that invites the Holy Spirit to teach.
  4. Introduce the instructional component to the whole group through video or written form. Allow for discussion or feedback if time allows.
  5. Set up the learning teams, if necessary, and review the exercise with the group. Be clear on the amount of time available, and help them understand the appropriate pacing that will be required.
  6. Facilitate each exercise and oversee the feedback conversations. This discussion portion allows the learners to articulate their thoughts and express their feelings.
  7. Take a leadership role in the final exercise by leading the prayer time or assigning leadership to others.
  8. Complete the session with a chance for discussion, agreement on the next meeting time, and a closing prayer.

The Role of Witness

As a small group is learning about healing prayer, they are likely to come up with questions and problems that require immediate prayer coverage. Use this time to intercede with and for them so they can experience the freedom of true healing.

Do not underestimate the power of active listening. If a discussion seems to be going off-track, you can gently redirect it with a summarizing statement that brings the teaching moment back in view. Be willing to restate the comment to gain clarity, and ask permission of the group to work together toward the common goal.

It is exciting for the person that has learned to hear from the Lord, or discovers a new truth that gives freedom, or releases a huge load of guilt, or offloads a heavy burden of bitterness. Let them share their testimony as an act of worship. It brings joy to the one who shares as well as those that hear.

The role of witness is one of my favorites, especially in healing. God brings up the problem that needs to be healed. He takes the responsibility. Then, He does the work. The witness is like the color commentator. Go ahead and give the play by play. God is on a roll, and the supernatural is happening. Give Him the credit, and share the moment with others.

Here is a list of resources for your small group healing prayer workshops:

Heal Me, O LORD - Textbook

Healing Prayer Small Group Guide - Online session resources

Classes and Workshops - Other scheduled classes and workshops