Choosing Curriculum

Can you believe fall is nearly here? For regular people falls summons thoughts of colorful leaves, pumpkins, football, school, sweatshirts and more! If you’re involved in the kidmin world fall may be summoning feelings of panic, thoughts of quitting, and sleepless nights. Volunteers, new curriculum, launching of programs, the list of things to stress about goes on and on.
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Take a minute and breathe, remind yourself this is God’s ministry not yours.His plans for YOU are not only good but his plans for your ministry are just as good.

I digress….

Things to think about as you approach fall and look at curriculum.

  • There is no such thing as a perfect curriculum. Every one has high points and low points.
  • Curriculum is only as good as the person who is teaching it. Instead of curriculum hopping from year to year you may need to reevaluate. Is this a curriculum problem or a teaching problem? Even the most poorly written curriculum can be made to dazzle if you have teachers who are trained to adapt and adjust. And the best curriculum can fail if you have teachers who do the bare minimum, prepare the night before, and expect the curriculum to teach itself.
  • Studies tell us we will most likely have only 40 hours a year with kids. WHAT!!!??? Anyone else concerned about that figure? It’s the truth. Once you factor in vacations, sickness, sleeping in, etc most likely you will have a very small amount of time with kids. Think on this: if I only have 40 hours a year with kids what’s the most important thing to teach them? That question has completely changed how I do children’s ministry and what I teach. It should change you too.
  • Curriculum must take biblical truth and make it applicable to students lives. It has to go beyond head knowledge to penetrate their hearts. Memorization of facts sounds great in theory but in actuality how is that changing a kid’s life? How is that penetrating their heart?
  • We have an epidemic of adults 18-30 leaving the church and not coming back. It’s a problem and I applaud and encourage those who are reaching that generation. I also look at it and realize that’s not an adult issue, it’s a kid issue. Somewhere along the way we in children’s ministry forgot about penetrating hearts we forgot about making biblical truth applicable. We have to step up, we have to change, we have to adapt and teach differently

With all of that in mind, look at your church and decide what type of curriculum will work best for you, your teachers, your building, your DNA.
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Lastly, remember, it is Jesus who saves, the Holy Spirit who convicts, God who grows, not you. NOT you. You are simply to be his willing vessel. His grace covers over a multitude of bad crafts, poor stories, and rowdy kids. It’s His ministry and He’s far more invested than you will ever be.

I’ve put together a list of some curriculum divided into categories. This is not exhaustive by any means

Large group/small group This type of curriculum is designed for you to have children in small groups for practical application time and then move into a large group for the story and/or music time. This type of curriculum works well with limited space and is easily adaptable for any size group.

Media Driven/Video– This type of curriculum is very media driven. Typically kids will learn along with a DVD lesson. They are high energy and very engaging. The level of participation at the church level varies depending on what you’re looking for. Most curricula have options that allow you to choose to use what you want when you want. This type of curriculum works will with limited space and is easily adaptable for any size group.

Traditional- This type of curriculum is what most churches will be the most familiar with. Children are divided by age groups and typically stay in their classrooms with one or two teachers. Book work, crafts, and activities will make up the bulk of the teaching time. Because of the division needed for this type of curriculum typically you will need to have a separate space for each age group.

Family Aspect- Family ministry is extremely important and these curriculum will help integrate the family as a whole into what your kids are learning. These go beyond just a take home paper to actually involving the parents and encouraging whole family interaction. Very creative and unique these are typically easily adaptable for any size or space.  

African American- Specifically designed for the African American community this curriculum works best in a church that is predominately so. Integrating the rich heritage of the African American people and weaving the story of the Creator throughout this is a unique and effective curriculum.  

Special Needs- Ministering to children and families with special needs is a must in the church today. These websites and curriculum can help you do your best to reach everyone in your ministry.

As always, I count it a true joy and privilege anytime I’m invited to speak, train, or do seminars with a body of volunteers. Don’t hesitate to contact me to do training for you!

Melissa J. MacDonald

Melissa MacDonald, a consecrated worker, spends her time speaking, training, coaching and encouraging churches to “be the Church” for the sake of our next generations.

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