Facilitation: Making Room for the Spirit

Facilitation: Making Room for the Spirit is a four-hour course for lay and clergy leaders that welcomes the voice of the Spirit within the context of meetings. Meetings are the means by which groups make communal decisions, solve problems, and embody community that encourages and inspires both personal devotion and active service. Parish gatherings embody the theology of the facilitator and the parish. Meetings are faith in action. Administration is pastoral care in action. And meetings of all sorts—when they work!—are the lifeblood of the church and of community organizations.

This workshop offers a model of facilitation for lay and clergy leaders that welcomes the voice of the Spirit, not relying on the leader as expert, teacher or sole authority.
The material and exercises of the workshop address how to become and be the person who creates space for the Spirit to speak and then conducts a group to segue into the realm of task-based results. Facilitation styles, creating safe space, handling conflict, the role of ambiance and prayer, boundaries, and accountability are all a part of this important role.

The facilitators, Ms. Elsa Bakkum, Education for Ministry Associate Director for Training, and The Rev. Carleton Bakkum, each have more than thirty years of experience in managing church meetings.

Saturday, April 21, 2018
1–5 p.m.

EQB Building
The University of the South
Sewanee, TN

Tuition: $50 per person; $125 for a team of three.
Light refreshments will be served.

Register here >

This workshop will address the following:

  • Clarification of purpose and goals in group settings;
  • Facilitation styles for different types of meetings;
  • Setting and maintaining appropriate context;
  • Process as distinguished from content;
  • Inviting participants into deeper vulnerability;
  • Addressing personal anxiety for the leader;
  • How to create safe space;
  • How to use a candle;
  • Incorporating silence and brief worship experiences;
  • Handling conflict in groups;
  • Relating to people who present specific challenges;
  • Group debriefing and learning;
  • Consensus vs. democratic models;
  • Meaningful accountability at group conclusion: who will do what, when.

The workshop will include:

  • Modeled facilitation;
  • Activity: brainstorm different types of groups and meetings you lead or envision leading;
    • Individually place each type of gathering on a continuum between total control and stepping back as facilitator;
    • Compare continuum and notice differences.


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