Everything’s probably not going to happen overnight all at the same time – publish a reading schedule, tie in the pulpit ministry and Sunday School, get small groups going, coordinating children’s and youth ministries; but at some point you’re going to need coordination and this is a burden you want lifted from the Pastor so he can concentrate on his ministry. You’re going to need a coordinator.
Practically speaking, if you don’t have a coordinator you run the risk of the Sunday morning message, the Sunday School lesson and the small group study covering the exact same topic over and over again. The first duty of the coordinator is to act as the communicator between these ministries to enable each area to compliment the others and avoid unnecessary redundancy or overlap. The coordinator talks with the Pastor about the focus of upcoming sermons and is self-informed as to what the small group study will cover that week. Then he can communicate to the pastor, Sunday School teachers and small group leaders these intentions so that each will avoid covering to any depth the same material.
This is most beneficial to the Sunday School teacher because it’s always near impossible to provide even the most general overview of the chapters in each week’s reading, so knowing what will be emphasized from the pulpit and in small groups reduces the material needing to be reviewed. While going through the overview the teacher can plainly state, “We’ll skip chapter 5 because that is the focus of this morning’s sermon and chapter 7 because that’s reserved for small groups this week.” It doesn’t mean anyone’s absolutely prohibited from teaching from those passages, but they’ll be aware to not emphasize them too greatly for the benefit of the pulpit and small groups. In fact, it’s a great “marketing” tool for those who attend Sunday School that are not yet enrolled in a small group that subtlety says, “You need go to a small group to get the rest.”
Ideally this should be your “Small Group Coordinator” who oversees the creation of small groups, placing new members, recruiting new hosts and leaders for new groups, and distributes the weekly small group Bible study to the leaders of the groups. In this role this person will have dual ministry tasks in the area of teaching to coordinate the weekly study and working closely with the small group leaders, but also in the area of enfolding as they encourage people to join existing small groups or to create new ones.
If you’re just starting a small group ministry in your church, a person more gifted in enfolding is more desirable than a theologian as Bible studies are available not only from Walk with the Word but literally thousands of web sites and books; but a person who can make people comfortable joining a group or recruiting new hosts and leaders will increase the size and depth of the ministry many times over. If you become really successful you’ll be delighted to have a “Small Group Coordinator” and a separate person to write or coordinate the weekly Bible study guides.