Self-Reliance
Facilitating Groups


“Facilitating Groups,” Facilitating Groups for Self-Reliance (2018)

“Facilitating Groups”

Facilitating Groups

Getting Started (10 minutes or less)

Facilitator

Begin the facilitator training meeting as follows:

  1. Begin with a prayer (and a hymn, if desired).

  2. A self-reliance specialist or other member of a self-reliance committee may provide a three- to five-minute introduction and testimony.

  3. Have each person briefly introduce himself or herself (no more than 30 seconds each).

  4. Invite the entire group to open their manuals and follow along.

Welcome

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Thank you for being willing to serve as a facilitator. You will help lead a small group of individuals to become more self-reliant by helping them learn new practical skills and live gospel principles. You are going to be part of something wonderful. Self-reliance groups can change lives. You don’t need to be an expert. Just follow the materials and rely on inspiration from the group and the Spirit.

Because self-reliance groups are a little different from other groups we have been in, this training will help us learn and practice what is unique about these groups. Today we will answer some common questions that facilitators have before starting a group:

  • What does it mean to be self-reliant?

  • How do self-reliance groups work?

  • What can I do to be a great facilitator?

In addition to this training, be sure to read the Appendix on your own and check out the resources at srs.lds.org before your first meeting.

Today’s training will look and feel like the self-reliance group meetings we will be facilitating. In this training and in our self-reliance groups, we will follow the material as it is written. All self-reliance manuals come with prompts to help us know what to do. When we see the following prompts, we will follow these directions:

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SRS Facilitating Groups Graphics

Read

This training and the manuals we will use in our groups include time recommendations for sections, discussions, and activities. This helps us manage the time and cover the material. Always assign a timekeeper for each group meeting to keep the group on track.

Facilitator

Ask someone if he or she would like to be the timekeeper for the rest of the training.

What Does It Mean to Be Self-Reliant?

Read

“Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 6.1.1). Being self-reliant does not mean that we can do or have anything we want. If we are self-reliant, we know that through the grace and power of Jesus Christ, combined with our faith, we can work for the spiritual and practical necessities of life we need for ourselves and our families. Self-reliance groups have been designed to help us change the way we live, working with the Lord to become more temporally and spiritually self-reliant.

We are going to watch a video of group members and leaders talking about their experiences with self-reliance groups. As you watch the video, listen for how self-reliance groups affect people both temporally and spiritually.

Watch

“Self-Reliance: Tools to Become Better,” available at srs.lds.org/videos. (No video? Keep reading.)

Discuss (2 minutes)

What experiences have you had that helped you learn that the spiritual and the temporal are related?

How Do Self-Reliance Groups Work?

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Self-reliance groups are small councils focused on helping each group member grow. There are four self-reliance groups to choose from:

People may learn about the groups on their own, at a devotional, or through a direct invitation. People choose which group they want to join.

Groups are usually small, with fewer than 12 people. The group meets every week for 12 weeks, and each meeting takes about two hours.

Every self-reliance group is directed by a facilitator (us). Self-reliance groups are facilitated, not taught by a teacher. As facilitators, we aren’t expected to be experts on the subject. Instead, we help the group follow the materials as they are written and invite each group member to participate.

Each group meeting follows a chapter in the manual. Each chapter has five sections with a recommended time. These five sections are the core of a self-reliance group meeting. To run a group meeting, simply follow the materials and the suggested times—never skip a section.

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Change Facilitators

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At the end of each meeting, we can help our group members select an action partner for help and support during the week. Action partners can change each week. They are typically of the same gender but are not family members.

The combination of spiritual principles, practical skills, and the power of the group creates a unique learning environment that helps people improve their lives. As you will see in the following video, in our self-reliance groups we learn from three sources: the materials, one another, and the Spirit.

Watch

“The Power of the Group,” available at srs.lds.org/videos. (No video? Keep reading.)

Discuss (2 minutes)

How do you think your self-reliance groups will be different from other classes or workshops you’ve attended? How will they be similar?

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Change Facilitators

What Can I Do to Be a Great Facilitator?

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Being a facilitator can be a wonderful experience. The most effective facilitators do three very important things:

  • Facilitate, don’t teach.

  • Take care of a few other responsibilities.

  • Serve as a shepherd for the group.

Facilitate, Don’t Teach

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Self-reliance groups are purposefully designed to be facilitated and not taught by a teacher. Facilitators do not prepare lessons, lecture the group, or speak more than any other group member. They follow the course materials and invite each group member to participate equally. Facilitators help create an environment where the Spirit can teach the group.

In the next video, watch for the ways one facilitator changed from teaching to facilitating, and how it impacted the group.

Watch

“How to Facilitate a Group,” available at srs.lds.org/videos. (No video? Keep reading.)

Discuss (2 minutes)

How is facilitating different than teaching?

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Change Facilitators

Read

As a facilitator, we are responsible for creating a positive, respectful, and enjoyable learning environment. We help our group members to care about each other and to show love and support.

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Change Facilitators

Read

As facilitators, we set the example. We can help our group members create a positive and caring learning environment. Things won’t always go perfectly, and at times we might need to help group members see how their actions are affecting the group and how to change them. We will talk more about this in our next activity.

Facilitator

For the following discussion on facilitator responsibilities, it might be helpful to switch facilitation back to the primary facilitator.

Take Care of a Few Other Responsibilities

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As facilitators, we also have a few responsibilities outside of our group meetings. The next activity will give us a chance to talk about these responsibilities.

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Change Facilitators

Serve as a Shepherd for Your Group

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Now that we have covered how to facilitate and walked through some of our other responsibilities, it is time to talk about the key to great facilitation. The best facilitators love and care for their group members. They serve their group almost like a shepherd would care for a flock. Christ used the example of shepherds because shepherds knew each of their sheep by name, personality, and needs. Great facilitators get to know their group members, care about their success, and help them participate and be successful. It might take a few weeks for your group to come together, but most self-reliance group graduates talk about how close they became with their group and how much they cared for each other. As a facilitator, we can help create an environment that encourages this.

Take turns reading the following suggestions on being a shepherd for your group.

Being a Shepherd for Your Group

  • Call or text group members. You can check in with them and remind them of the date, time, and place of the meeting.

  • As people arrive, greet them warmly and get to know them.

  • Recognize and show excitement for the progress of your group members.

  • Remind group members to respect confidential information.

  • Between meetings, encourage group members who are struggling. Help their action partners to contact and support them as well.

  • Together with others in the group, reach out to group members who may have missed a meeting.

  • Pray for your group members by name.

  • Prayerfully look through the materials for your next group meeting.

  • Stay close to the Spirit, and act on ideas and inspiration.

Discuss (2 minutes)

How will doing these things help us be a shepherd for our self-reliance groups?

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Change Facilitators

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Change Facilitators

Conclusion

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Hopefully this training has helped us understand a little more about self-reliance, how self-reliance groups work, and what we can do to be great facilitators. Being part of a self-reliance group might be a different and new experience for us and our group members. It might even take a little time to feel comfortable with the process and with one another. Refer back to this manual often, check out the additional information in the Appendix—especially the assessments—and visit srs.lds.org for more information and helpful videos. With time and trust in the Lord we will have a great experience.

Watch

“Self-Reliance Facilitators: Bringing About Change,” available at srs.lds.org/videos. (No video? Keep reading.)

Discuss (3 minutes)

What are the most important things we learned from this training?

Ponder (3 minutes)

Individually think about what you have learned from this training, and consider what the Lord would have you do. Write your response below.

Based on the experience I had today, I would like to:

Prayer

Invite someone to say the closing prayer.