Rules of the Road (And Other Important Guidelines / Assumptions With Groups)

Last week I co-facilitated a group of 40 people. It was with my friend and colleague Quanita Roberson. The group was all staff for a United Church of Christ conference. It was four hours.

I like working with this group. Their leadership is inspiring. Darrell Goodwin and Audrey Price are committed to a deliberateness in thought and in heart. They are committed to a relational weave for a group in transition. They are committed to an operational clarity. They are committed to an authentic relationship with Spirit and mystery.

As we began last week, I spoke a few ground rules / guidelines to the group. I also spoke a few assumptions about the group. I continue to learn that it matters to invoke a tone and feeling in these, even if it is often a reminder of something they know and intuit.

Ground Rules / Guidelines

  • Speak your truth (speak with intention).
  • Listen to learn (listen with attention).
  • Honor confidentiality.
  • Practice grace (with all of the imperfections and gifts).

We invited others to add any further ground rules that they felt were important to speak that were not already covered enough in what I had named with a bit of description and example.

I liked the feeling. These each felt like important tethering to invite good journey together.


  • We all come with gifts and with flaws.
  • Some of what each of us do is complex; some is simple.
  • It is important to do your job, and, connect it to community and team efforts.
  • Inner work matters; so does outer work work.
  • Some things you know; some things are mystery
  • Be willing to be surprised.
  • Independence is a myth (added by Quanita)

Again, I liked the feeling. We didn’t build tremendous exercise around this. However, we didn’t skip the naming. We didn’t skip the breath that each of these welcomed.

One of the participants later texted me a link to a list with similarity, UCC’s Rules of the Road (for working with groups):

  1. Be fully present, extending and presuming welcome to/from others.
  2. Listen generously and suspend judgement about another’s story. Hold stories with care and respect.
  3. Author your own story and share your own gifts.
  4. Wonder. Welcome discomfort. Love the questions.
  5. Be mindful and respectful of time.
  6. Practice hospitality and inclusion, especially when diverse cultures meet.
  7. Believe that it is possible to emerge from time together refreshed, surprised, and less burdened than when we came.

Here’s to good journey together. Invoked perhaps, just a bit more by some important naming, and invitation to breathe and embody a few guidelines that bring us to a path together.

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