Church Curriculum: 6 Tips for Choosing the Best in Kids and Youth Ministry
As a church leader, you are faced with many different decisions. One of them is choosing the right curriculum for your ministry. The question is, what curriculum should you use?
A few essential ingredients to look for in a family ministry curriculum will serve as the foundation of your small group teaching.
Here’s what to look for:
1. Choose a Curriculum that is Biblically focused and walks students through the whole Bible.
You must keep the main thing the main thing and choose a curriculum that has a solid foundation regarding Bible teaching. If you want your students to have a solid biblical foundation, they must be in an environment where the curriculum is biblically based.
Ensure that the curriculum covers a portion of Scripture in each lesson and plan to lead the students through the Bible. This learning should happen over a pre-determined amount of time. Some publishers refer to this as a “scope and sequence,” but it is just a plan to ensure that students get the complete picture of God’s Word while studying the curriculum.
When you choose a curriculum that offers a teaching plan, it will take your students through the Bible with a well-designed approach that is easy to understand.
2. Choose a Curriculum that is age-appropriate and engaging for students.
Children want more than just bible stories read out loud every week! They want fun games and interactive lessons where they get to explore. Research has proven that children learn through play. Some of the most common ways to do this are using toys and games that help them practice things that interest them. Children’s curriculum should include crafts, activities, and engaging activities that offer concrete ways for children to understand the abstract concepts taught through Scripture.
Teenagers can also quickly lose interest in the y ministry if they are not given something interesting to do or learn about each week. Youth curriculum should ask engaging questions, offer icebreaker games, and share stories/illustrations that get the teenagers talking about the topic they are studying.
3. Choose a Curriculum that invites Parents to be a part of the learning experience.
Publishers in recent years created intentional ingredients in their curriculums to include parents. Many of them have pre-written text messages or emails that church leaders can send to parents each week explaining what their students learned in the curriculum. Other curriculums offer handouts or discussion questions that give parents information to follow up with their students on what they learned.
These features are significant because they set parents up to be a part of the learning experience. Since parents are the most significant spiritual influence in the lives of their students, then that is a powerful connection to make with your curriculum.
4. Choose a Curriculum that fits your budget.
A too costly curriculum could lead to putting too much of a strain on your ministry budget. Likewise, a curriculum with limited resources for children will be frustrating and ineffective. Beyond the price point, it is worth considering whether there is an upfront cost and monthly fees, which can get pricey over time. This can include annual licensing fee payments or mandatory subscription plans. There are many children’s and youth curriculums that provide a digital or online option for minimal cost.
Ask the publisher for a sample of the material. Then you can test it with your students before your purchase.
Some publishers also will allow you to ask for a refund within a pre-determined amount of time if the curriculum is not what you expected. Make sure to ask if a policy like this is available to you before you purchase.
5. Choose a Curriculum that volunteers can lead and teach
A curriculum should have lesson plans provided to church leaders to teach the children what was learned in their lessons. The publishers may give an example lesson plan, but it is essential that there also be space for you to create your customized lesson plans based on the needs of your children.
Some curriculums offer tools and materials lists, making it easy for church leaders to teach children and teenagers.
The volunteers that teach your curriculum have other responsibilities like family, work, and other activities. Volunteers should maximize the time they offer to teach students by using a curriculum that sets them up for success.
Make sure to consider how easy or difficult it is to prepare each lesson. One way to do this is to give sample lessons from each curriculum to your volunteers and get their feedback before deciding.
6. Choose a Curriculum that fits your church’s statement of beliefs.
Many curriculum publishers are affiliated with a denomination that uses doctrinal statements to support their material. It’s worth your time to ensure that they work in agreement with what you believe and the church believes. An essential step is making sure leadership approves, so it aligns well for everyone involved!
You’ll be glad you took the time to consider this, so you can focus on the central issues at hand and avoid distraction from doctrinal arguments.
We hope this list helps you organize your thoughts and develop a plan of action for choosing the right curriculum for your church.
The curriculum you use to teach the children and teenagers is an essential part of your church’s impact on the families in your community. It’s crucial that you take your time and prayerfully consider all of your options. There are many different options to consider that both serve students and equip families to discuss what they’ve learned at home. We hope this article gives you a checklist of what to look for as you search for the right curriculum for your family ministry.
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.
For more on Curriculum and Bible Study check out:
Connect with your parents in less than five minutes!
Download & send these digital resources to your parents.
A PRAYER GUIDE FOR YOUR FAMILIES & 2 PARENT VIDEOS.