As a Children’s Ministry leader, your job isn’t easy! It’s your passion to help children become life long followers of Jesus. Part of that is getting kids excited about the Word of God. Over the years as I’ve been involved in Children’s Ministry, I’ve developed a passion for equipping those who equip others. I’ve also seen how critical curriculum is when it comes to Children’s Ministry, and along the way, I’ve researched and chosen my fair share of curriculum. I’d like to share with you 3 things to consider when choosing a Children’s Ministry curriculum.
What’s The Most Important Aspect of Children’s Ministry Curriculum?
I’ve personally used numerous Children’s Ministry curriculum from all kinds of backgrounds. The most important aspect by far is that the curriculum is Biblically based according to your church/denomination. Why is that important? The less theological customizing you have to do, the better. In addition to that, when your volunteers read something that goes against what your church believes, it now puts you in an unnecessarily difficult spot. This doesn’t mean that if you’re Presbyterian you can only use Presbyterian curriculum, but it does mean that it’ll probably be easier to get approved, to get funded, and it’ll probably be easier to use. Like most tools, the easiest one to use is often the most powerful.
Buy Curriculum vs. Create Curriculum
I get asked this question all the time. Should you buy curriculum or create it? As a Children’s Ministry Pastor, I had a leader volunteer who was extremely passionate about children’s evangelism and discipleship, he was in seminary, and worked as a public school teacher. He practically begged me to allow him to write our own curriculum instead of spending a couple thousand dollars a year on one that we would buy. I said no, and I don’t regret it. His time was just too valuable to spend writing a curriculum that only we would use.
There are so many great children’s ministry curriculums out there that I just don’t see why someone would want to create their own for their own use. The opportunity cost is just too high for that. There are so many people who feel a calling to write and produce curriculum, that unless you have that calling, you should stay out of that lane. It’s much more efficient to buy great curriculum and modify aspects as necessary.
If that’s the route you’re headed, then keep reading for 3 things to consider in Children’s Ministry curriculum.
1. Curriculum Should Be Interactive
There’s one thing that will keep kids engaged in Biblical teaching, or any kind of teaching for that mater. The teaching has to be interactive. If you can teach adults, you probably can’t teach kids. If you can teach kids, you can teach anyone.
I’ve heard people say that you remember a small percentage of what’s communicated but you retain a large percentage of what you interact with. Remember this when choosing a curriculum. Look for activities, discussion questions, videos, etc. Anything to break up the time and be more interactive with the kids.
2. Curriculum Should Support Leaders
I love a curriculum that incorporates technology because, well, I love technology. One curriculum we used had corresponding DVDs that went along with the lesson. We had Children’s Ministry worship, a large group teaching, then small groups. In the small group time there was a video to show, the video changed depending on the age group.
Sundays were visually exciting and appealing. Still, all the activities should be in support of the leader. Whether the leader is the worship leader, the large group leader, or the small group leader. The activities support the leader, not the other way around. Make sure that your curriculum encourages this prioritization, if not, customize as necessary.
I will never be a part of a Children’s Ministry that “presses play” and puts evangelism and discipleship solely in the hands of a DVD player, and you shouldn’t be either!
3. Curriculum Should Go Beyond Sundays
You many get 1-2 hours a week with the kids in your Children’s Ministry, maybe 3-4 if they come to multiple services per week. Still, that’s a fraction of the week. Their parents, family members, teachers, and classmates get so much more time.
How can you equip your kids in just 1-2 hours per week? You can’t. Your curriculum and your plan for Sundays must go beyond Sundays. Are there activities that they can take home and share with their parents? Are there discussion questions that they think through during the week and bring back the following Sunday? Better yet, how is your curriculum equipping parents in leading their children? This is the biggest hole that I see in many Children’s Ministry curriculums and unfortunately, one that just isn’t being addressed by many curriculum companies.
Love Children’s Ministry? Read these related posts.
- 10 Steps to a Safer Children’s Ministry
- Top 10 Bad Words in Children’s Ministry
- Top 3 Reasons Children’s Ministries Become Silos
- 10 Ways to Make Volunteer Meetings Productive (and bearable)
- Should Kids sit in Church with adults?
- Don’t Say “Thank You” to Your Volunteers
- The Most Important Ministry In Your Church