Facilitating Conversations Means Being a Part of Them

I’ve written and spoken extensively about my experiences as a participant in small groups, and why I think everyone should be a part of one. But come to think of it, I haven’t talked about facilitating them, have I?

Facilitating a small group — a chalice circle, covenant group (interest-based), or Acorn group (for new members) — means that you get to be both a participant and a “coach,” helping the group move smoothly and with purpose. And as such, you will naturally be shaping the group in subtle ways.

Two men ballroom dancing.

A metaphor that I’ve heard used for leadership is to imagine a large ballroom with a balcony. When you’re a dancer, you’re can see the people right around you, and you can focus on doing the dancing.

Leaders are often asked to be up in the balcony, looking down. They’re not on the dance floor, and thus not participating in that way, but they get the wider view. They see the movement across the entire dance floor, they can see which are the people dancing under the spotlight, and which are the people in the shadows, or even the wallflowers sitting along the perimeter.

As a small group facilitator, you get to be both. You get to participate in the group, sharing your experiences and thoughts — and part of you is also up in the balcony, noting the person who keeps the energy going, the shyer person who you can help by drawing out, the magical “electricity” that happens when all of the group members are in sync and sharing thoughts in an open-hearted way.

Think you might be interested in being a facilitator? Let Carrie or me know! dlfd@liveoakuu.org and minister@liveoakuu.org. We’ll teach you what you need to know. You may discover that you have a real gift for this, and I know you will find it rewarding.

And besides, the view from up here in the balcony? Breathtaking!