Facilitation Training Guide

While this document is designed for training facilitators in a conference or workshop, the information and techniques are also applicable for small groups and one-on-one facilitating.


This training should be delivered in a “facilitation style” to model how facilitation works.

Always consider your PURPOSE for the training.  What do you want to accomplish? 

What do you want them TO KNOW?

  • For example: Do you want the attendees to know the DTI curriculum / manual?

What do you want them TO DO with the information from the training? 

  • For example:  Do you want them to disciple/mentor at least one person and to implement in their churches?

What do you want them TO BELIEVE?

  • For example: They must believe that one-on-one spiritual mentoring is important, and they can do it.  Otherwise, no matter how much they “know” – they will never “do it”.  So don’t ignore this important part of the training.

ASK: What is the purpose for this conference?


  • Effectively learn DTI Material, so we can help others grow.

  • We want attendees to mentor others and implement in their churches.

    • WHY?  So individuals / churches will grow spiritually.

    • “Equipping the saints for the work of service” or training believers for the work of the ministry.  

Ephesians 4:11-6  And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness....

ASK:  What is the most common way to teach any information?


  • Someone teaches a large group of people all day (such as in school).

    • Perceived to be the most efficient way to get information to the most people.

ASK:  If people are TAUGHT information or a skill, why don’t they DO what is taught?

People listen to sermons every week, why doesn’t their behavior change?

  • Is it because they don’t truly BELIEVE in the importance of what is being preached or taught?

It’s critical to help mentors BELIEVE in the value of one-on-one discipleship and that they are able to mentor (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit).  Otherwise, they will LISTEN, but won’t DO anything to implement once they finish the training!

ASK: What do we want? 


  • 100% retention and to DO!


1) Teaching / Preaching / Education

  • About knowing content –information.
  • “Outside / In” – you tell them and they listen to what you think they need to know.

2) Training

  • About “doing” – practicing / roleplaying / involving attendees.

    • Example:  having them read the questions in the curriculum.

    • Example:  having them role-play one-on-one discipling / mentoring.

  • They remember better what they DO versus what they hear.

3) Facilitating

  • Facilitating actually means “to make easier”.

  • It is the art of asking questions so THEY come to the conclusion YOU want them to!

  • Your goal is to help them DISCOVER the concepts.

  • Students talk more, and that helps them BELIEVE in the concept.

  • “Inside / Out” learning – how real change happens. (Holy Spirit transforming…)

    • Because they BELIEVE in their hearts the principle / concept that’s in the material.

    • Allows the Holy Spirit to work / grow / guide them.

  • This is “learner-centered”.

    • Adults like an element of control.

    • How much do you learn when you don’t want to?  They must want to!

    • Learning is change – and that requires openness and a willingness to change.

    • Adults also need respect at all times in order to learn.


1)  Teaching as the method/type for platform presentations and preaching.

  • We know how to do this; it’s easier; takes less time, but not as effective for creating BELIEF in the discipling process.

2) For small groups: some Training and a LOT of Facilitating.

  • We want them to understand the content and material.

  • Most importantly – we want them to BELIEVE in the discipling/ mentoring process and understand HOW to disciple so they are MOTIVATED TO MENTOR others and implement discipleship (using the DTI tool) in their church

Result and Goal:  Christians know how to live the victorious Christian life and are motivated to disciple / mentor others.

APPLICATION: what should this look like in small group breakouts or in one-on-one mentoring?

TRAINING: (involve participants as much as possible)

  • Read the points and scripture out loud. (In one-on-one setting, take turns reading.)

  • In a small group, the facilitator should never read ANYTHING that someone else can read. (The more they participate, the more engaged they will be in the process.)

  • Be sure to open / close in prayer.  In a small group, it should be an attendee, not the facilitator; in one-on-one, each person should either open or close, unless the mentee is not yet ready to pray out loud.

FACILITATION: Ask; don’t tell

  • After reading a point or scripture, ASK for their thoughts / comments or ask a pertinent question.

  • ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS that can’t be answered with just a “yes” or “no” or one word. (Examples are in the Techniques and Tips section)

  • Try to make very few statements.  Think about how you can turn the statement / conclusion you want to get across into a question.

  • FACILITATION TAKES LONGER!   You have to be patient; But they will “get it” faster!

  • Do YOU BELIEVE in this process for the breakouts and one-on-one?

This is why one-on-one discipleship works so well– it’s a type of facilitating!

  • This is NOT materials to be “taught” but concepts to be “caught”!

  • You can’t teach belief or conviction or relationship – you can only model and encourage and ask questions so they discover!


1) Set up chairs and tables to encourage discussion.  

  • Sometimes you are constrained by environment (space, type of chairs, noise, etc.)  DO THE BEST YOU CAN!
  • U shape or semi-circle ispreferred.   Classroom is better for group/general session

    • You will have to work harder to involve everyone in a classroom setting.

2) Whether you sit or stand – and where – will encourage discussion.

  • Sit down – will encourage discussion.

  • Move to the side (while still standing) – will encourage discussion.

  • Stand up from a sitting position – to take control and stop the discussion.

    • Stand up and move to the center to take control when just standing up didn’t do it.

3) Always ask questions and actively LISTEN and MAKE EYE CONTACT with the person speaking.

  • While they talk, YOU PRAY!

  • Don’t jump in with the answer. (Ask what others think.)

  • Don’t judge an answer.   Ask others for additional thoughts. 

  • Don’t take sides in a discussion and allow disagreement. “Agree to disagree sometimes.”

  • Always be patient.

  • Don’t allow group members to attack another group member. (Create a safe environment so they can feel safe to say what they feel.)

4) Active listening is the key – that means:  be quiet!

  • This is how you will identify “gaps in understanding”;  we don’t know what they don’t know.

  • Listen for belief / conviction.

  • Belief will trump fear – even if they are afraid to disciple or approach someone to witness, they will do it, IF they believe it’s important – even if they are uncomfortable.

  • How to Listen Actively:   

    • First you must really listen to hear what is being said.

    • Decode / decipher / interpret what the learner is saying by asking clarifying questions  and interpreting feelings.  (ASK Tell us more about  _____.)

    • Then check – restate the words and feelings -- to check if what you heard is what they meant.  (SAY So what I heard you said is _________.)

5) Since this takes longer, don’t rush to cover everything in a limited time frame.

  • Method for a seminar or breakout when you have limited time:  What are the principles in each lesson?

  • How do you get them to understand those principles?  What points / verses are critical and which ones can be left out?  (ONLY when you are training “trainers”.)   

  • DO NOT leave out any of the verses or material when discipling…  when discipling – just stop and continue next time where you left off. 

6) Stay away from doctrinal issues that could divide (in a multi-church situation); stay focused on the material and the principles. 

  • There is no need to defend the DTI materials or the Holy Spirit if the attendees disagree with a point!  Refer them to their pastor for clarification.

7) Include “doing” in the form of role-playing one-on-one mentoring. 

  • f they don’t DO it in the training, they may never DO it when they go home!

8) Always ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and listen to HIS leading!!


1) Have your breakout area set up (if possible) before the General Session starts. 

  • What will you need?    Such as: 

    • something to keep time,

    • DTI book,

    • Bible,

    • water,

    • notepad,

    • pen or pencil,

    • nametags?

    • “parking lot” – to capture topics to discuss at a later time.

2) Begin with Prayer (and always end each session with a short, relevant prayer)

3) Introductions

  • Introduce yourself (briefly).

  • Have them introduce themselves (also briefly).

    • Name and Church and church role or function.

    • What they hope to gain / why they came.

4) Housekeeping

  • Timing expectations:  Start and end on time!  (Begin, even if everyone isn’t present!)

    • Example:  We will be together until lunch.

    • Example:  We will take a break or two.

  • Facilities are_____  (water ; bathrooms, if they don’t know).

  • Please arrive on time and return from breaks promptly as a courtesy to the others.”

5) Explain the “ground rules” in the beginning, to reduce problems later.

  • We will have lots of discussion and we may not always agree.  But we can be respectful.

  • All ideas are valid.

  • Have your say – we want to give everyone opportunity to share.

  • Actively listen to others and let them express their opinions and thoughts.

  • Please – no disruptive side conversations.

  • Explain “parking lot” for never-ending conversation / “rabbit hole” topic to discuss later.

6) Begin with “debriefing” the general session

  • Do this in every breakout after a general group session. 

  • Invite discussion about any immediate thoughts / feedback / “ah-ha’s” before delving into the lesson.  (This should normally only be about 5-10 minutes)

7) Go to the lesson – have them read – and begin!!

8) Ask someone for a 1-2 sentence review of a lesson before moving to the next one.  

  • Consider if there is a question you can ask them to ponder / think about, when you finish before lunch or for the day.

EXAMPLES OF OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS: (for use in facilitation)

  • How do you feel about…

  • Tell me more…

  • What do you think  (to someone else after a statement by one person).

  • Let’s all consider that question / point for a minute.  What are other people’s thoughts?

  • That’s a great question….who wants to address it first?


  • You are MODELING for them how to have their own small groups!!  (and how to disciple / mentor!)

  • Be enthusiastic, flexible, and patient;  Relax and have fun!

  • BALANCE of keeping on task and on time – and letting them talk / discuss.

  • Keep a safe, open environment; protect confidentiality.

  • Involve everyone!  (This can be a challenge…..what do you do for those who talk too much or not enough?  See tips below.)


1) Reluctant / quiet participant

  • Give them lots of eye contact.

  • Call specifically on that person.

  • Ask an open-ended question.

  • Go around the group and invite each person, in turn, to speak so that all opinions are heard.

  • Give recognition for experience or contribution.

  • Recognize and reward participation, even if it’s minimal.

2) Noisy Participant (especially having side conversations)

  • Pause.  Wait.  Look at the people involved.

  • Stand by them.  (If that doesn’t stop the conversation, lightly touch the talker on the shoulder.)

  • Ask a direct question to them (such as Do you have a comment to share with the group?)

3) Disruptive participant  (address the behavior – not the person)

  • Ask the person to take notes or do something for you.

  • Say:  You are very knowledgeable about this topic.  Thank you for sharing another perspective.  Now, let’s hear from someone else on this….

  • Thank you – let’s be sure to allow everyone the opportunity to share.

  • Let’s refocus on…

Facilitating is a rewarding experience – but may be uncomfortable initially! 

  • We challenge you to TRY it…and trust the Holy Spirit.

  • Keep in mind the GOAL – NOT the learning of the material, but seeing Christians live the victorious Christian life who are then motivated to mentor / disciple others.

DTI Facilitation Guide2018 DTI Facilitation Guide2018