Small Group Facilitator Training

small group
I have long been an advocate of parishes forming small groups for adult faith formation and sharing, and I have blogged previously about the importance of small faith groups. I have also talked about the importance of training people to serve as small group facilitators. While it is helpful, it is not necessary for a small group facilitator to have formal theological training. What is needed are basic facilitating skills.

With that in mind, I am happy to share with you “Preparing to Serve,” a slide presentation that provides a basic overview of the skills needed to facilitate a small faith group.

The presentation runs just over 11 minutes and covers the following:

  • the role of a facilitator
  • establishing trust
  • personal preparation
  • preparing the environment
  • posting signage
  • welcoming and hospitality
  • setting the tone
  • leading prayer
  • adult learning principles
  • leading discussions
  • asking questions
  • handling difficult participants and situations
  • doing follow-up after a session

Some small faith groups can focus on the Sunday Scripture readings using resources such as the Sunday Connection or Sacred Space, while others can focus on experiences in study or prayer, using tools such as Meeting Christ in PrayerMeaningful Conversations About Prayer, An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, or Six Weeks with the Bible. Still other groups can host book discussions. Many Loyola Press books, like the following, have discussion guides, making a leader’s job easier. (For each book, click on the “Extras” tab.)

The One Book, One Parish reading program includes discussion guides for affordable books perfect for multiple small groups to use within the parish. Learn more.

About Joe Paprocki 2750 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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