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Discussion with Dan




Q How did you get started into facilitating workshops?


 A  In 1977 a mentor told me I had the gift of teaching. When I began ministry in Canada the next year I seemed to gravitate to opportunities to teach and develop curriculum. Teaching has always been a part of our ministry among First Nations people. Throughout the 1990s I co-taught over 150 workshops with a First Nations pastor. Since 2001 I’ve been a part of a team in training two hundred missionaries for cross-cultural ministry in an eight-week program. I’ve been blessed by being surrounded by very resourceful people who have freely offered constructive feedback.


Q Do you facilitate workshops quite regularly?


 A In the fall of 2005 I received a couple of phone calls from pastor friends asking if I could make a list of workshops I could use to train their deacons or other leaders in their church. I sent off a list of twenty and in a four-month timeframe I facilitated thirty workshops.  Requests for my workshops are steadily on the increase: 2009: 35 workshops; 2010: 45 workshops; 2011: 55 workshops; 2012: 60+ workshops.


Q Where did you get the idea to list your workshops in a catalog?

 A My mission field director Dan Mayerle asked me in early 2011 to design a catalog of any workshop I can facilitate. We were discussing this new phase of Native ministry we seem to have entered. There’s an increasing number of folks who believe the day of Anglo missionaries providing up-front leadership in Native ministry is mostly over. Dan Mayerle is helping us missionaries get a vision for facilitating church planting instead of playing the lead role. Facilitating means sometimes we lead from alongside, sometimes from behind, and sometimes from the front.


Q You’re an ordained preacher. From your perspective, how does facilitating workshops differ from preaching?


 A Preaching tends to be monological. I am a fan of strong expository preaching. The longer I’m into facilitating workshops, the more I value discussion and dialogue. I don’t view workshops as another preaching opportunity. Nor is it another opportunity to share about missions, though I may occasionally use a cross-cultural example to illustrate a point. A workshop is a unique opportunity for the facilitator to lead participants on a path to discover truth. The most effective workshops are fashioned to the needs and learning styles of the participants. I’ve learned through experience that adults learn best when truth is discovered. I’ve also learned that life-change happens best in small groups. Whether I’m facilitating a group of 5 or 50 or more, I utilize small group exercises to harness the wisdom of the group. An effective facilitator brings this wisdom to the surface and directs it to discover truth that may be new to the group.



Q Your list of workshops seem to have a broad spectrum of topics, from healing and recovery to developing leadership and training boards. Is there any commonality of everything here?


 A Well, every workshop has a theological base. Each one is based on the Ephesians 4 principle our Lord offers His church, which I view as a fundamental purpose statement: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Also, there are two stories behind every workshop here. There’s a story of the people we’ve been serving among, and there’s a part of each workshop that’s connected to my own story. Each of these workshops involves truth I’ve needed to discover myself for my own spiritual formation. Taking this one step further, there’s a comprehensive and cohesive theme that runs through the entirety of what I’m offering. This catalog is not a collection of isolated or fragmented opportunities to expound truth. Instead, they all contribute to an unfolding story of Servant Leadership.


Q What do you hope to do with this catalog?


 A At this current time it’s been over five years since we’ve had a furlough, so Deanna and I are planning to visit our supporters soon. I hope to send each of our supporting pastors a copy of our catalog and perhaps we can be of encouragement to some of our churches through a workshop or two.


Q Can churches that aren’t part of your missionary support base access this opportunity for a workshop or two?


 A Definitely. Just call me or send an email.


Q If you furnish discussion guides for each workshop, how can you handle this financially? Do you have a fee in mind?


 A On our last furlough we suggested $25 per person per workshop. We’re being advised to raise this to $30 per person this time, to a maximum of $350 per event. If people are interested in having one of these workshops they really should give me a call. Back in 2006 one pastor told me he wanted seven of these workshops for his church leadership but some of them were a bit reluctant. I suggested they have a potluck supper and I would share a “workshop appetizer.” I created a discussion guide for this occasion. Following the supper the consensus was, “Let’s book Dan for every Friday night he has available while he’s in the area!” We met six Friday evenings, wives included, over the space of ten weeks. I only request transportation reimbursement if I’m coming from more than an hour’s drive.


Q Your catalog suggests that some of your discussion guides are available for others to purchase and facilitate themselves without you there.


 A Yes, especially in the area of team-building, I would be more than willing to discuss with anyone how I could make discussion guides available for them to facilitate team building in their church or organization.


Q You’ve been a missionary in Canada for over three decades. What if I’m a planning a missions conference and there’s something here I’d like you to speak on at our conference, not necessarily in workshop format? Could you do this?


 A Yes. I can flex with any situation.


Q When you facilitate workshops in churches, do participants usually pay individually or do churches have this in their budget?


 A Most churches have some budgetary means of equipping their leaders for ministry. Most are aware they will easily find a return on their investment, some of which will only be measurable in eternity.


Q For the sake of those who would like to know the method of payment, how do people pay for workshops you facilitate?


 A Check should be made out to InterAct Ministries and sent directly to our mission headquarters: InterAct Ministries, 31000 SE Kelso Rd., Boring, OR 97009-6099, earmarked Dan Woodard Support. Even if we were given cash for our services or a check made out to Dan Woodard, we are still legally obligated to send this entire amount to the InterAct office. Canadian cheques should be made out to InterAct Ministries and sent to InterAct Ministries, Box 60029, Strathmore, AB T1P 0C2.