Breaking Up With Your Curriculum: When It’s Time to Call It Quits
Our church began to pray and dream about what God may have for us regarding the future of children’s ministry. We were feeling tension in a few areas, and it seemed as though evaluating our curriculum was a good place to start. As we compared our current curriculum with three recommended options, it was evident that a change was on the horizon. When weighing the contributing factors, three emerged as pivotal to our decision to make a change:
- It’s Not You, It’s Me This could mean a number of things. In our case, there were three senior pastor transitions (including an interim), an exodus of young families from the church, and an influx of new families with new needs coming into the church—all within a three-year period! Our children’s ministry dropped from about 60 kids to around 35. The size, scope, vision, and direction of our senior leadership changed. We were looking for something different. We needed a curriculum that introduced the possibility of multi-generational discipleship. It wasn’t anything our previous curriculum did wrong, it was simply that our needs as a church had changed.
Action step: Assess the current needs of your church. Has anything changed that would necessitate a change in curriculum?
- My Friends and Family Don’t Approve Curriculum is a resource for teachers and parents. If it no longer serves their needs or assists them in their ministries, it’s time to “put it out to pasture.” Our teachers were sorting through 50 pages of material to teach from 4 pages. The digital curriculum was taking three times as long for our volunteers to download and print; and a printed curriculum wasn’t an option. The take-home pages were frustrating our parents each week. They practically had to bring another bag to carry home their child’s classwork!
Action step: Take the time to listen to your teachers and parents. Is the curriculum still serving its intended purpose as a useful, time saving tool?
- The God Card As children’s leaders, our personal relationship with Christ is key to our ability to lead. By keeping our eyes focused on Him, our ears attuned to His voice, and our hearts open to His instruction, we place ourselves in a posture to move as He leads. In our case, I sensed God calling us to something more. I felt a deep desire for kids to know His story. I wanted them to see evidence of Jesus throughout the pages of the Bible and to be able to identify not only people who God used to write His story but also how they fit into Christ’s redemptive work. I yearned for our young families to grow in their knowledge of God’s big story and, as a family, become part of His plan and help complete the Great Commission. This was the call God placed on my heart, and our current curriculum wasn’t the best fit for accomplishing it.
Action step: Prayerfully ask yourself—and the Father—if you, as a leader, are keeping your eyes focused on Christ, your ears attuned to His voice, and your heart open to His guidance for you and your church family.
As we began evaluating the new curriculums offered, one in particular stood out as a good fit for our church. Not only did it help resolve the tension we were feeling as leaders, but it also aligned well with the mission, beliefs, and purpose of cmalliancekids. While it was hard to say goodbye to our old curriculum—which had served us well in years past—we as teachers, parents, and church leaders shared a fresh excitement about where God was taking us and how this new curriculum could help get us there. It took time and intentionality to make the shift, but we are moving forward and following God’s leading into this new partnership!
A Note from Mel (Melissa J. MacDonald) National Children’s Disciplemaking Specialist: Below is how we evaluate curriculum here at cmalliancekids. Every curriculum we recommend or talk about runs through these questions. Feel free to use these or adapt them to fit your needs. Thank you Abby for writing about such an important topic.
Cmalliancekids Curriculum Criteria
- Does it emphasize relationship with Jesus over character building and performance?
- Does it present the Bible as God’s complete, inspired, and authoritative Word?
- Does it have a clear strategy for biblical disciplemaking?
- Does it promote spiritual practices that enable a child to learn to hear from and respond to God.
- Does it help a child apply God’s Word to their every day life?
- Does it seek to convey and shape a Biblical identity and worldview?
- Does it encourage intergenerational relationships within the faith community?
- Does it foster a partnership with parents?
- Is it adaptable to multiple contexts?