leader guide

Thanks for leading the Praxis Course! We think you’ll get just as much out of the Course as the people in your group, if not more. Here are a few resources to help you:

PLANNING YOUR GROUP

what to do before a session

tips for facilitating

what to do after a session

Frequently Asked questions

Access Original Course Content

 
 

First, a welcome from Praxis Venture Partner, Jessica Kim.


 
 
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PLANNING YOUR GROUP

Every session has the same structure.

Every session is designed to be completed within 1.5-2 hours. We recommend allotting two hours per session in total, to allow for informal conversations and prayer at the beginning and end. We highly recommend adding 30 minutes to the first session for introductions. Each session is structured similarly:

  1. RECONNECT: A short prompt to reconnect the group to last week's conversation.
  2. WATCH: The video talk, based on footage from a live Praxis event.
  3. DISCUSS: A set of questions to talk through as a group.
  4. REFLECT: A short time of reflection on this session's topic.
  5. PROTOTYPE: A challenge to live out the session's message in your daily life. 

Note: Sessions 1 and 3 feature two talk excerpts each, so they have two rounds of "Watch" and "Discuss."

There are a few LOGISTICAL decisions to make before you start.

We've done the content part of the course design for you, but there are a few key questions you'll want to answer as you launch your group:

  1. WHO AND HOW MANY? Most groups have between eight and twelve people. We have seen groups with participants that have known each other for years, others are meeting for the first time, and groups that have had over 40 participants (we recommend breaking up groups of 10 or more into smaller groups for discussion).

  2. HOW OFTEN? You can choose to meet weekly, monthly, or semi-monthly, or whichever cadence works best for your group. Groups that set the specific dates/times for all six sessions ahead of time have the most success in consistently meeting and finishing the Course.  

  3. WHERE? Some groups choose to alternate homes or locations each session, or you may choose to host all of them yourself in a home, office conference room, or third space. Look for a comfortable environment where you’ll easily be able to project the videos and speak freely. If your location doesn't have Internet, you'll need to remember to download the session videos beforehand.

  4. HOW LONG? Schedule a time block of two hours per session. This longer time block allows for enough time to gather, catch-up, watch the content, discuss in depth and pray. We highly recommend pairing the session with fellowship over a meal. 

When you're ready, invite your group members by email. 

After determining who, when, and where, send out the details! Here's some email copy to help establish the group’s vision and communicate all the important details. Feel free to modify it to add a more personal touch!

Hi friend(s)!

I'm hosting a discussion series to explore the mindset of "redemptive work" and understand further what the gospel has to say about why we create, how we create, and what we create. The course will teach us how to demonstrate the deepest truths of the gospel through our individual and institutional creative capacities, using video content from renowned theologians, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders (Andy Crouch, Dave Evans, and Jena Lee Nardella, to name a few).  I'd love for you to be a part of it!

It's a free six-session course created by an entrepreneurial community and venture group called Praxis. We plan to meet once a [week/month] at [location] on [day/time].

You can learn more about the course here: praxiscourse.com

Are you interested?

[Your name]

Remember, you have the Praxis Community to help you.

If you haven't yet, join the Praxis Course Leaders Facebook Group, and if you ever have a question for our team, reach out to the team at course@praxislabs.org.

 
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WHAT TO DO BEFORE A SESSION

The course is designed for minimal prep—just come ready to play the videos and lead the discussion.

Make sure you know how the group will watch the videos. A TV, a projector, an Apple TV or device for mirroring your computer display, or just a large computer monitor can work, depending on the size of the group.

If you can trust the Internet in your meeting location, the easiest approach is to stream the videos directly from each session page. If not, you'll want to download the videos for all six sessions beforehand (you can do that from the Session One page) and play them from a hard drive.

Each session page walks you step-by-step through the flow, so if you spend a bit of time before each session to get familiar with the questions and develop some of your own variations and answers, that will help you lead the discussion effectively. If you have 30 minutes or more to prepare, we highly recommend watching the videos in advance as well. You'll understand the discussion points much better that way.

Don't feel you need to make it through all the discussion questions. In fact, if the group is engaged, you won't have enough time. We provide more questions than necessary so that a) in preparing, you can choose the questions you think will drive the best discussion; b) in case certain questions don't work for your group, you always have some backups! 

Take time before the session to think about and pray for each individual in your group.  

Investing in each person by understanding and praying for their needs will give you unique insight into how best to guide the conversation. Take a few minutes before each session to pray for each person by name and thank God that you have the opportunity to listen to and learn from them.

Feel free to come up with additional questions or activities as well.

If you review the videos and questions and think of additional things your group might do to engage with the topic, go for it. Let us know how it goes so we can share your new ideas with other groups.

 

 
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Tips for Facilitating

Each session is built around a recommended template of 1.5 hours. Adjust as necessary for the needs of your group. Most groups want to spend more time than that!

Here are some tips for leading a group well.

  • Hospitality is essential to making the group feel welcome. There is no obligation to provide food for your members but we like to operate with the mindset that no one should leave spiritually OR physically thirsty. We suggest offering food and drinks at the first meeting and asking the members if they are willing to alternate bringing snacks or dessert for the group.

  • Create sub-groups if needed. If you have a group larger than about 10 people, you should plan to split up into smaller discussion groups for the discussion sections.

  • Open and close in prayer.

  • Lead by example. If the question requires being vulnerable, try to go first to exemplify the kind of answer and posture you want to see from your group members.

  • If the group isn’t very talkative or responsive to the questions, follow up with “What key topics, questions, or helpful ideas did you take away from the video?”

 
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what to do after a sessioN

Take the short feedback survey.

Would you please take 3 minutes or so after each session to give feedback? Your feedback is essential to improving the quality of the experience for other groups.

We ask for this feedback in two ways: through a button on each session page called Session Feedback (do it while it's fresh in your mind!); or through a link you'll receive in an email each time you confirm that you've completed a session.

[Note: the survey is only for you to fill out as the Leader. We'll survey the participants in your group at the end of the Course.]

Send a follow-up email to your group.

Follow-up emails are a chance to thank the group for coming, remind them of the conversation, and offer additional resources in case they want to explore the topic further. Each session includes a button called "Send Group Follow-Up" linking to suggested text that you can copy and paste into an email, customize, and send to your group.

 

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frequently asked questions 

I’m a bit nervous to lead right away. Can I participate or attend a session first?

We understand that it may be intimidating to sign up to lead something you’ve never experienced before. However, almost all Praxis Course Leaders are in the same situation.

And the Praxis Course is designed to be really easy to lead. You don't have to have started a company or followed the work of Praxis. You don't even have to have led a discussion group before.

What it really takes to lead is just three things:

  1. a strong interest around the topics of entrepreneurship and redemptive work

  2. the willingness to gather people and lead a discussion

  3. a place to meet.

To find out more, visit our Praxis Course Leaders Facebook Group or contact course@praxislabs.org.

 

How do I share the content on this website with my group?

We've designed the Course so that you as the leader can manage everything from this website (download/stream videos, lead the session through a recommended flow)—and all your participants need to do is show up to the session (no homework!). So only the leader needs to register on this site to get access to everything.

Some groups, however, choose to have everyone watch the videos on their own before the session, so that the session time can be devoted to discussion. If that's your group's preferred mode, then you can email out a link to the videos for each session beforehand. On each session page, click the "Download Videos" button to go to a Dropbox folder with the videos for that session (as well as the Session PDF). Just paste that Dropbox link into an email and share.

Separately, we also provide a template for a follow-up email to your group after each session, which you can customize and send. That's a key way of reinforcing the learning from the session.

 

How is this Praxis Course free?

Praxis is a New York City-based, globally-facing 501c3 nonprofit. Our mission is to advance redemptive entrepreneurship, and we do this through high-touch programs, robust content, and a global portfolio of redemptive business & nonprofit ventures.

Our goal with The Praxis Course is to spread these ideas and widen our community of practice. We offer The Praxis Course for free—and in return, we ask for your commitment to complete the full Course and to give us feedback that helps us improve. We appreciate you for taking the time and effort to lead The Praxis Course as an expression of our call as Christ-followers to be redemptive leaders and culture creators in our age.

 

What if my group members don’t answer the questions and we keep having awkward silences?

We provide questions to guide your discussion around the main themes of the session. If you are having trouble facilitating conversation, or if the questions don't seem to be landing, consider one or more of the open-ended questions below:

  • What challenged you?

  • What resonated with you?

  • What surprised you?

  • Was there anything new or significant to you in the video?

  • Do you have any lingering questions about the topic?

 

Do all the people in my group need to share my Christian faith?

Great question—the answer is, it depends. We've had groups that included participants exploring or unfamiliar with Christianity, and it has worked really well for those groups if they can create a space for everyone to process and reflect on the content at their own pace.

Your goals for the group as a leader should determine how you handle this question. If you're gathering team members to get aligned on what you're trying to accomplish as a company, it can be a great way of clarifying and communicating your motives as an organizational leader. Likewise, if you're looking to build community among social entrepreneurs in your city, it could be a great venue for discussion about the deep meaning and purpose behind what we create.

Bottom line: make sure your non-Christian friends know what the content is about, and be prepared to lead discussions that honor different perspectives. If you're prepared to do that, go for it. And tell us how it goes!

 

What if I need help or support? Who do I contact?

We commit to be responsive to our Leaders! There is a Facebook Group for Praxis Course Leaders where you can post questions, interact with other Leaders, and get updates/announcements/tips. And you can always reach us as course@praxislabs.org.