No More Facilitators

I just read this from Josh Hunt and had to pass it along!

I wish I had a nickle for every time I have heard this: “We don’t really need teachers; we need facilitators.”

I disagree.

  • Jesus said to, “Teach all nations” (Matthew 28.19). He didn’t say to facilitate discussions of all nations.
  • In the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-2) we read that Jesus began to teach them. We don’t ever read that He facilitated a discussion.
  • In Acts 2.42 we do not read that the early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ facilitation of discussion. We read they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching.
  • In 2 Timothy 2.2 Paul admonished Timothy to entrust the truth he had heard to reliable men so that they would be able to teach others. Teach—not facilitate discussions.

Perhaps it is time we defined our terms. Wikipedia defines a facilitator this way: A facilitator is someone who helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to plan to achieve them without taking a particular position in the discussion.

I draw your attention to that last phrase: “without taking a particular position in the discussion.” I can’t imagine Jesus ever doing that.

Paul said, “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Persuade. It sounds like he took a particular position as well.

This is not to say that we should not use a question-and-answer approach. Jesus did. We have 100 recorded examples of Jesus using questions to teach. But, when he asked questions, He had an agenda. He was teaching through using questions, not facilitating a discussion about who knows what.

When I write Good Questions Have Groups Talking, I don’t do it so that teachers can facilitate discussions. I do it so that teachers can teach using questions. There is a world of difference. We don’t need facilitators of discussion; we need teachers who teach.

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