4 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Church Curriculum
We all want to maximize what curriculum we have for our kids and youth. With so many options out there, it can be hard to decide which one is best. We know that the curriculum you choose can make a big difference in your ministry’s success.
Here are four simple steps for maximizing the curriculum you have for kids and youth:
1. Know your Audience
It’s easy to see curriculum as the answer for so many things. We use curriculum out of habit because it’s what we know or because a well-meaning friend suggests it.
Are you wondering why your curriculum is not working? It might be because you don’t recognize who you are trying to teach. The curriculum may not be the issue. It may be your curriculum is for a different audience than the one you are trying to reach!
Make sure that the curriculum you have selected is reaching your kids and youth.
One way to discover if the curriculum you’re using is the right fit for your audience is to conduct some interviews. Ask the students and volunteers that represent the oldest and youngest of the age range your curriculum is serving.
Find out if the older kids are still challenged by the lesson. Make sure they down feel like it’s not too dumbed down for their stage of development.
Likewise, check-in with the younger student groups and their volunteers. Find out from them if the curriculum is easy enough to understand. The goal in this interview is to make sure it’s not going over their heads.
This will help you ensure that the curriculum you’re using is a great fit for your audience.
2. Train your Volunteers on How to Use the Curriculum
Speaking of volunteers, you might want to have a small group of leaders get on board before launching the curriculum. If they are not trained, then there will be no curriculum that year! We’re big fans of training volunteers. It gives them valuable skills that they can use throughout the year. It also helps them to see the curriculum in a whole new light.
Make the curriculum as easy as possible for volunteers to teach! Ensure that the curriculum is laid out in a simple format, with space to write notes and plans on the side. Include ways for volunteers to prepare before each lesson (such as time of day and length). You can even make sample lessons so that your teachers have an idea of what to do.
3. Provide a Variety of Activities and Lessons
Volunteers don’t need to use curriculum just like you do; they can adapt it to fit their students and their age group better. This could mean reading a book using the written curriculum, changing the order of lessons, skipping things that don’t apply to the age group, etc. Leaders can provide lesson plans for those Sundays where the curriculum is missed or activities during curriculum time that are not written on the curriculum.
Make curriculum fun! Use a curriculum that includes games, fun activities, and opportunities for the kids to respond creatively. Find a curriculum that can challenge kids and help them make a difference in the world right now. These courses will get the most out of the curriculum you have and be used again and again!
4. Communicate Curriculum to Parents
Parents are our secret weapon! Some parents can find activities that fit in well with curriculum lessons. But, if parents do not know what the curriculum is teaching, they will not understand what is going on in their kids’ classes. They also won’t know ways to help their kids discuss what they’ve learned after church. So, you might want to make sure that parents are receiving curriculum information before the curriculum starts.
Here are some ideas on how to include parents:
Send curriculum at-home activities with your curriculum each week. Parents should receive these before the first curriculum lesson. This serves as a reminder and makes parents feel involved in their kids’ curriculum. They can use it during family time or curriculum time at home with their kids.
Make curriculum memorable by sending parents curriculum information before the start of the curriculum. Send out curriculum objectives, study guides, pictures from curriculum lessons, quiz sheets for memorization, anything that will help them be involved in their kids’ curriculum.
To close, here are some tips on how curriculum is being used well in different churches:
- The curriculum is mailed out ahead of time, so the teacher knows exactly what material to use.
- The curriculum comes with easy-to-use videos so that the teacher can play them on any computer or DVD player.
- Attach a curriculum guide that tells all about the curriculum and how to teach it. Also, put together a list of materials needed for each lesson (such as props, scriptures, pictures, etc.).
- Make the curriculum easy to understand. For example, a kid’s curriculum should have a simple storyline and lots of pictures. Find out what will interest your youth or children, then make sure that they can grasp the ideas quickly!
- Put up the church curriculum on a website so that the teacher can find it when they need it. Or email the curriculum ahead of time to your teachers.
- Use a curriculum that stands the test of time! If it doesn’t age well, then don’t make a curriculum using outdated ideas or methods.
Once you ensure that your church curriculum is organized and effective for its purpose, then you can use it in a variety of ways!
I hope you’re inspired and able to see how you can make the most out of your church curriculum. It is one of many ways your ministry offers a comprehensive message to the kids and teenagers in your church and when taught effectively, helps bring everyone on the same page.
Jeremy Lee is the founder of Ministry to Parents, co-author of Pass It On, and has more than twenty-four years of ministry experience. He is passionate about helping ministers create strategic plans for connecting with the parents in their church. He lives outside Nashville, Tn with his wife Elisabeth and two sons. You can contact Jeremy at www.ministrytoparents.com.
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