What is a good facilitator-to-participant ratio?

Do all facilitators need to attend every session? What about substitutes & facilitator rotation?

Congregations have had success with different facilitator configurations. Here are some guidelines:

  • For Our Whole Lives for Grades 7-9, two facilitators must always be present. The ideal ratio is one facilitator for every 5-8 participants (with the minimum of two): two is enough for a group of 10 or fewer; with more than 16 participants you will want a 3rd or 4th facilitator.
  • For younger participants you’ll want a higher facilitator-to-participant ratio.
  • If you’re adding more facilitators, remember that gender diversity is still important.

Different models for facilitator teams include:

  • Two “primary” facilitators and two “assistant” facilitators. All are trained in Our Whole Lives (OWL). The primary facilitators plan sessions and obtain supplies. The assistant facilitators support. They review session plans with the primary facilitators, attend sessions, help set up, and help with small group work and supervision.
  • Four facilitators, all trained in OWL. Each week two facilitators take on the primary facilitation and the other two provide support. The next week, they rotate the responsibilities. This allows a facilitator to miss a session if necessary.
  • A “base” of 5-6 trained facilitators with only 2-3 facilitating each week. The facilitators who are not leading that week need not attend. (Note: all facilitators will need to be in regular communication with each other to know what happened in every session.)

Experience indicates that having a group of 4+ facilitators plan and run every session all together seems NOT to be helpful. The logistics of getting everyone together to plan, and the conflict of different facilitation styles make such a model hard to manage.