Story-Formed Life is a unique spiritual formation tool that guides people through the epic narrative of the biblical story using Facilitators. A facilitator (think tour guide) is not there to be the center of attention, but there to help people to discover the truths contained in the story for themselves. A well-guided experience through the Story has been a major life-changing event in many peoples lives.
WHY FACILITATOR TRAINING
When SFL first started, anyone could facilitate. While leading to fast growth, it also resulted in mediocre SFL experiences. If a participant has a bad experience, they are unlikely to repeat it or recommend it to others. If you’ve been on multiple travel tours, you know the difference between a good and bad tour guide… and good tour guides are not born, they are made. Similarly with SFL, no one is born an awesome facilitator. It’s a skill to be learned and continually honed and essential to the future success and growth of SFL.
HOW WE TRAIN FACILITATORS
SFL has experimented with different methods of training. One of the challenges with a volunteer led organization has been scalability. As SFL grows, how can facilitator training grow alongside it in both quality and quantity as well?
The model of facilitator training we promote is co-facilitation. Why use this model? We know that facilitating a SFL comes at a cost of time and energy. It’s not a one-time commitment, but multiple weeks and takes a lot to give it your best. It is important to have a training model that facilitators can easily weave into what they are already doing. Having a trainee come alongside you in preparing for the group sessions, asking questions of the group, and other responsibilities makes our goal of having well-trained SFL Facilitators attainable while also making it easier on you. We want the default to be that every facilitator always has someone in-training in every SFL.
WHAT DOES THIS TRAINING LOOK LIKE?
The framework below is a simple and effective method of helping new facilitators.
Step One – Identify your Co-Facilitator(s)
Generally, new SFL facilitators are recruited from participants in your groups. Many facilitators were asked at some point if they wanted to facilitate. We encourage you to seek out and challenge people (as the Spirit leads) to consider training.
Please let us know if you are training someone (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Step Two – Weekly Training Calls
Pick a short time that you can separately meet regularly as you are going through an SFL (ideally right before an upcoming session)
Encourage them to study the Facilitator Handbook for the specific week beforehand.
Training Meeting Outline
- Ask “What stuck with you personally from the last session? – Goal is to find out what God is in them personally. First and foremost, to be a good facilitator we need to have our beliefs pushed deeper and deeper to be able to transfer our faith to others.
- Ask “What stood out to you from the last session” – Goal is to find out what they thought about the mechanics, group dynamic, any individuals, thoughts or questions on facilitation.
- Ask “How did you think you did last session” – Goal is to be able to both encourage and challenge them.
- Ask “Close your handbook. Thinking about the upcoming session, what are the main points or beliefs you want people to walk away with?” – Goal is to find out what they know already about the current week’s topic and help steer them to the most important beliefs.
- Ask “Which passage would you like to facilitate in the upcoming session? – Goal is to help them try facilitating more and more passages as the course progresses.
- Pray together for the upcoming session.
Step Three – Co-Facilitate the Sessions
Generally we’ve found that it works best if one person (usually the trainer) running point and the trainee providing color commentary or gently assisting the group through additional questions. As a trainer, make note of your trainees activities for feedback at your next meeting.
Step Four – Give Feedback
When the course is finished, fill out this quick feedback form and have a final call with your trainee. Encourage them in the direction you think they should go, whether that be jumping into the deep end with their own course OR co-facilitating again (with you or someone else) for further training before they go out on their own.