Facilitating a DNA Group
Facilitating a DNA group is a wonderful opportunity as well as a great responsibility. By being a facilitator, you assume a certain amount of responsibility for the group. You are a catalyst in helping people grow spiritually as they interact with one another around the Scriptures and in prayer. But it is also an opportunity for you to grow. Perhaps you will be stretched in certain areas in which you are not comfortable. You may also learn you have strengths of which you were previously unaware. Through facilitating a DNA group, however, you will learn to lean more on the Lord and on the power of the Holy Spirit. This sheet is designed as an aid in helping you become a better facilitator so that we all “grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.” (Eph. 4:15)
The Purpose of a DNA Group
As a facilitator, we must always keep in mind the purpose of a DNA group. DNA is an acronym that reminds us of three key components of discipleship: Discover, Nurture, and Act. We want to discover and get to know God better through time spent studying the Bible, nurture loving relationships with those we come in contact, and act in obedience to how God wants us to live. A DNA group accomplishes these objectives by discussing together how they are getting to know God through the Bible reading, asking one another the six accountability questions, and praying for one another. All of this is accomplished in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. A facilitator’s job is to help these three objectives take place within the group.
A Facilitator, Not a Leader
This choice of the word “facilitator” rather than “leader” is key in understanding your role. Too often the title of leader is misunderstood. It is usually considered to be the person in charge, or the one who does the teaching. A picture of a hierarchy comes to mind with one person being at the top while the others are underneath. One definition of a facilitator is, “A person or thing that makes an action or process easy or easier.” Your purpose is to help the process of discipling one another move along easier. You help discussion take place by asking thoughtful questions. You help draw out people who may not be participating. You set a good example in Bible reading and prayer. You stand alongside of those in the group, not above them. Thus, a facilitator needs to approach their role simply as one person helping another in the spiritual growth process.
Specific Functions of a Facilitator
There are three main responsibilities of a facilitator; to aid in organization, discussion, and time. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
- Organization. Someone needs to be the point person for the entire group. Facilitating discussion on when and where to meet, what part of the Bible the group will read together, sending mid-week reminders, passing along prayer requests and other basic communication are the facilitator’s responsibilities. Having everyone on a group text or email is very helpful.
- Discussion. Talking about what we have learned from the Bible, how that has pointed us toward knowing God better, and what difference that has made in our life is a large part of getting together. The facilitator helps guide the discussion and encourages everyone to participate. A facilitator comes prepared with a question or two to help stimulate discussion as needed, looks to draw a non-participating member into the discussion by asking what they think, or gently curb someone who is dominating the conversation. These skills will take preparation and awareness on the part of the facilitator, but over time, a facilitator will grow and become more comfortable in doing this naturally.
- Time. DNA groups should be enjoyable and those involved will look forward to spending time together. However, time is precious, and it is important to be careful with our time together. While most groups meet for about one and a half hours, some may choose to go closer to two hours. A facilitator should be conscious of the time and work to keep the group moving along. A goal each week should be to have time to catch up with one another, discuss what God is teaching us through the Bible, ask the six accountability questions, and pray for one another. Of course, if someone needs prayer or has a special need then more time and attention will be spent around that need, but this should be the exception and not the rule. Being aware of time should not become legalistic, but a facilitator’s role is watching the clock and helping to keep the time together profitable for everyone by making the most of the time spent together.
The Importance of a Facilitator
Everyone in a DNA group will have the opportunity to be the facilitator. Since a DNA group meets together for one year, each person should facilitate for approximately three months. If the facilitator will be gone for a week, they should ask someone else in the group to facilitate. While a DNA facilitator is not a teacher as in a traditional Bible Study, the importance of having someone to encourage and direct discussion, work through the accountability questions, and have time for prayer, should not be downplayed. Without direction, it is easy for time to be wasted and we want to maximize the time together as we encourage one another toward loving God first and foremost, loving one another, and loving the world around us. Thank you for taking on this role and may God teach, stretch, and mature you as He forms and transforms us all to be more like Jesus. (2 Cor. 3:18)