by Nina Durning/ June 5, 2017
“We've been using this curriculum for 10 years! Why change now?” That was the first question I got from one of my volunteers when I decided to switch our curriculum to Tru Fire.
I knew Tru Fire would be the change my children's ministry needed to see true growth in our kids' spirituality, but many of my volunteers were hesitant about changing. We had been using the same curriculum for over 10 years, and they knew that changing curriculum would take a lot of work. Yet I knew that Tru Fire had the elements of response, application, and parent involvement our children's ministry needed.
In making the switch to Tru Fire, I wanted to bring my volunteers along with me, not drag them behind me. As leaders, anytime we implement change, we need to be conscious of where our leaders are and how they feel about the change. So, I endeavored to help my volunteers see the value and importance of changing our curriculum.
You may be on the edge of making the shift to Tru Fire, but are hesitant because of what your volunteers may think. I want to encourage you and give you some tips on how to make that change smooth, effective, and bring your volunteers with you on that journey.
Before making the change to Tru Fire, you need to be 100 percent sold out for this curriculum. You need to be passionate about its philosophy, how it works, and the elements that make up Tru Fire. You need to take time and learn in detail how the curriculum is intended to work. Your passion should flow out of a genuine love for the curriculum.
When I was preparing to switch to Tru Fire, I talked about it among our children’s leaders on a regular basis. I conveyed my belief that Tru Fire is the greatest curriculum in the world, and that we would miss out on something amazing if we didn't switch. As my excitement began to show, my volunteers also got excited about it. Be passionate about it! Your volunteers will see that passion and excitement, and will join you.
Explain the Philosophy
One of the most valuable things I did when making the switch to Tru Fire was to hold individual age group meetings, focused completely on explaining the philosophy of Tru Fire and answering the questions of my volunteers. I suggest you provide snacks, coffee, and give a card to each of your volunteers, thanking them for serving. Make it the most amazing experience for them. Take time to explain The Big God Story and how Response Stations work. Explain your vision for family ministry with the help of Tru Fire and how it can build family discipleship.
By walking your volunteers through the different elements of Tru Fire, you give them time to process and ask questions. Be open to all questions, explain and clarify as best as you can, and don't forget to show your excitement!
Don't Expect Perfection, But Reward Effort
After officially switching to Tru Fire, you need to remain faithful in helping your volunteers. Make your expectations clear, but don't expect perfection. Tru Fire is a philosophy switch from most other curriculums, and it will take your volunteers time to completely understand it.
Model for your volunteers how the services should look, and demonstrate response times for them. Help them see and understand the philosophy in practice, so they know what to model when they teach.
Keep in mind that all teachers are different, and they are different from you. Don't expect perfection from them, but instead congratulate and reward their efforts in pursuing Tru Fire. Give your volunteers encouragement the first time they successfully lead a response time. Congratulate them when they successfully lead an activity. Give small critiques when needed, but always give lots of encouragement and praise for the small things they do well.
The key to any curriculum change is to implement it slowly. We implemented Tru Fire one age group at a time. I wanted to be sure I could give all my energy and support to the group making the transition. I was available to my teachers every Sunday for questions, modeling, and any other help they needed.
Implementing Tru Fire slowly helps your volunteers feel closer to you as you mentor them in this endeavor to change curriculum. They will appreciate your allowing them to go slowly and to take their time in understanding all aspects of this new curriculum.
Curriculum Change? Volunteers Hesitant? No problem!
I pray that you would strongly consider Tru Fire and learn how it could change the course of your children's ministry. The change made a major impact for us.