by Christie Wall/ June 23, 2016
Selecting the perfect curriculum for children’s ministry is like trying to find a unicorn—unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. In lieu of a perfect curriculum, how do we select and use imperfect curriculum to help us disciple children in God’s word?
For sake of length, I am assuming that you have already bathed this decision in prayer, and you are looking at God-centered, Bible-based, discipleship-building, and student-centered curriculum. However since there is no perfect curriculum, you will find a lot of good curriculum that does not include our Pentecostal distinctive and sometimes is theologically out of alignment with our beliefs. Therefore, we have to know how to take what is good and reframe it to include who we are.
Start with your end in mind. What is it that you want to accomplish? What is your vision for your ministry? What is your goal for this month or quarter? What do you want kids to learn and be able to do because of what they have learned? If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t be able to plan the best route to get there.
Know yourself, your team, and your children. While there are some best practices in teaching that applies to everyone, we also know that context matters greatly. What works for my delivery style in my church in my town may not work for you and your kids in your town. That’s okay. Just be honest about that and find a curriculum that best fits with your vision, yourself, your team, and your children.
You must be passionate and knowledgeable. When teachers know the material themselves and are passionate about what they believe and teach, then they can help students understand and apply the material to everyday life. This goes beyond memorizing the lesson for the day—it’s about understanding the biblical truth you are teaching and being passionate about why it matters. If you know what you are teaching, then when something goes awry, and it will, you will be able to use that as a teachable moment instead of stressing because it wasn’t in the curriculum.
Relationships are an equally important key. When you build relationships with the children in your ministry, you can build bridges between the curriculum and your students. The fact is, no matter how good the curriculum is, it doesn’t know your students. It doesn’t know you have a kid who loves dinosaurs, or a kid who has been in three different foster homes, or a kid who has seizures. You have to build relationships, know what is important to the children, what motivates them, and what shuts them down. No curriculum can ever do that, nor should it.
So find a curriculum that works best with your vision in your church. Whatever your discipleship goals are, be knowledgeable and passionate about them. Remember, no one knows your kids like you, so make the curriculum work for your kids, not your kids work to understand your curriculum.