I had a consult with a pastor regarding groups yesterday. I was not planning it but it happened naturally. The pastor had met myself and our pastor for lunch to talk about some needs in their church and one of the needs that arose was about structure in their groups. I spent that afternoon talking with him about the different groups that are offered and it was a joy to hear him say "Now I get it..."
His biggest struggle came down to being intentional in offering groups. Let me share with you how this can happen.
1. Have an intentional purpose of your groups. Do you want the groups to be open or closed? Short term or long term? Depending on how you want the groups to operate will determine what kind of groups you desire to offer. Ask yourself: what do I want to see happen through these groups? Then once you have that settled you can start to look at the various groups offered: small groups: on and off campus, short term Bible studies, mentoring groups, Sunday school, etc. Just know your purpose then create your structure.
2. Have intentional leadership for these groups. You are going to need leaders in your church but also just as important you will need leaders in your groups. They will definitely need teachers but also people to help lead the outreach, ministry, and fellowship of the groups. Now you are making leaders for a purpose as well and the purpose helps support your group's structure overall.
3. Have intentional execution. Do not just talk about the groups or leaders that you need but set a date and a course and follow through. This may seem like a simple step but many struggle with this part because it requires time, action, and planning that some pastors do not have. If you are going to offer a short term study then try to offer other studies that coordinate with that time frame. If you are going to start a new SS class then set an intentional launch date and prepare for it. Whatever the plan needs to be, as the old saying goes, plan the work and work the plan.