As a youth ministry leader, one of the most important responsibilities you have is choosing an enriching kid's ministry curriculum with material that encourages them to follow Jesus and grow their faith. Choosing a curriculum should implement your discipleship and spiritual education needs for the children at your church.
With the wide variety of options out there to consider, how can a person determine which is the best? As a major influence in children’s lives, it’s wise to prepare yourself with a well-considered idea of what to look for - and perhaps what to avoid. There are a few things to keep in mind as you choose a church curriculum for kid's ministry.
Initial Questions To Ask Yourself…
Is what I’m using effective?
What else is available out there?
Is it time for something new?
Should I stop writing my own?
Though it might not be crystal clear at first, understanding kids’ experiences within your church is important to achieve a thriving congregation full of members who know and follow God. With that said, an enriching church curriculum is a great place to start your journey. Ask yourself this when doing your research - does this specific kids ministry curriculum teach the Bible in a way that they can understand who Jesus is and means?
Like anything within your church and ministry, this should always be the main focus - keeping the focus on God. This may seem obvious, but not all church curriculums fit this category. Again, it's important to choose a children's ministry curriculum that's foundation teaches kids about Jesus and our need for Him.
Choosing a children's ministry curriculum that connects to kids and engages their hearts.
When a church curriculum focuses on engaging a kid's heart with the Gospel, it becomes more captivating than any take-home resource, song, game, or creative element.
First, determine what areas the children need to know.
This should be at the forefront of evaluating whether or not a kids ministry curriculum fits your needs. If you feel as though the children you teach should have an understanding of faith and following Jesus, then carry that value into your search.
Knowing what ideas and concepts kids at every age can grasp.
Gospel for adults is easy to understand. On the other hand, children need an effective approach for different age groups in which they can understand. At each age group, you'll want to assess what they understand about God. This way, the curriculum you choose can present Truth in an effective and receivable way.
Choose a kids ministry curriculum that you and other church leaders are passionate about.
Choosing a kid's church curriculum plays a vital role in setting the tone for your entire ministry. Furthermore, it is the foundation of educating youth on God, equipping them for success, growing their faith, and creating a congregation full of members ready to share the good news.
What To Ask Yourself When Deciding On A Kid's Ministry Curriculum
As you pray for guidance to the best choice, request and consider other leaders' opinions and feedback. In the meantime, ask yourself these questions:
Who am I teaching?
What age group(s)?
How does this specific curriculum support other leaders and me?
How does my youth group(s) learn best?
What gets their attention?
Who am I teaching?
This question should be fairly straightforward to answer, or at least take a tiny bit of research - of course, depending on if this is a new youth group or you know them quite well already. Start determining their needs, knowledge level, ages, and so forth. Suppose you are coming into this without experience, or your church has substantially changed recently. In that case, you might consider taking a survey amongst the children's parents, youth volunteers, and other church leaders. Ask questions regarding ministry expectations and results.
- Grade levels/ages of children.
- How many children you'll be leading.
- Do these children have any knowledge about the Bible?
- Have these children ever been to church before?
- Where do these kids attend school, and will their school experience affect how they learn in church?
- What time will the class be, and will it affect their attention span?
- Will there be any special accommodations or needs that should be considered?
- Will the parents and/or church leaders have any requests or expectations?
What do I want to teach?
Kids ministry curriculum is very diverse, with several various goals for the learners. Different curriculums might focus on self-reflection, acts of service, gaining knowledge, and life skills and application.
Think about the non-negotiable aspects that you require in your curriculum; theological and pedagogical integrity being two of the significant factors. What is most important to the children and you?
- How does the curriculum align with my church's beliefs and values?
- Is it age-appropriate?
- Will the children clearly understand it?
- What key concepts do I want kids to understand when they reach certain milestones/ages?
- What are the expectations we strive to see from our children and this curriculum?
- If the child has no church experience, will this curriculum support them properly?
- No matter the age or lifestyle a child has, will it support and benefit them?
- What learning gaps do I need to fill for these children, and will this specific curriculum help do that?
Does the curriculum support you and other ministry leaders?
Volunteers make the church world go round. Most churches are blessed to have volunteers who work with youth groups. When it comes to preparing lessons, time is typically limited. Some leaders may be new believers with little to no knowledge, while others might be seasoned and a part of the church for several years. The church curriculum should be user-friendly, customizable, organized, and well-paced to fill the allotted class time. Last but certainly not least, be sure it is well equipped with information to teach about the Bible, historical context, and other important matters.
Your youth ministry and how they learn best
Every child is unique in their own special way. An ideal kids ministry curriculum will meet all of their needs by offering a variety of material. There are different learning styles out there, including kinesthetic, auditory, visual, and writing/reading. All students will learn in different ways, so it's your job to become familiar with them and choose a curriculum that combines all of these various learning styles.
- Are the lessons memorable?
- How often do the topics change?
- Will I need any tools/equipment for this curriculum?
- Will I need a projector, DVD player, computer, or another piece of technology with audio-video capabilities?
- Will this type of technology make a connection and teach the lesson?
- Will I need books or supplies?
- Does the curriculum provide Scripture passages, or should children have their own Bible to refer to?
What gets your kids’ attention?
Listen, we get it - keeping any child's attention is a job in itself. It's tempting to reuse old material from back in the day, but it's most likely outdated and will no longer amuse today's tech-savvy kids. Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms typically hold a kid's attention span these days. It's engaging and speaks their language.
- How old is the curriculum's material, and is it relevant?
- Will it hold the kid's attention?
- Who created the content/material, and do they have experience working with youth groups?
- Does it focus on biblical truth?
- Does it convey a message?
- Can the kids apply the lessons in real life outside of church?
An Important Decision: Choosing Your Children’s Curriculum
When choosing a church curriculum, it will most likely take some time. Be patient and be thorough. To make it easier, work with other parents, pastors, volunteers, church leaders, and perhaps kids themselves, to gain their input on what might work best. Don't be afraid of risk-free trials or samples, as this will let you test them out.
As previously said, gospel-centrality should be the foundation of any kids ministry curriculum. Sharing our love for Jesus and His message of salvation is important to us, and it's something we are passionate about. A curriculum that appropriately and effectively shares who He is and what He has done for us will move you and your leaders.
This valuable church curriculum is a staple for churches near and far. This incredible resource combines child development and theology into a strategic approach. Orange Curriculum's foundation is based on loving God. They branch this out through loving God through wonder, loving God through discovery, and passionately loving others. There are nine core insights - design, image, connection, faith, transformation, truth, restoration, compassion, and community. This approach allows ministry leaders to create a biblical foundation in children's lives and help them grow spiritually.
Orange Curriculum allows leaders to minister through children in an understanding, interactive, and exciting way that makes them shine each and every week. There are monthly themes that keep the excitement flowing, all while allowing flexible teaching. If you are searching for a community to bounce ideas back and forth and share advice, then the Orange Curriculum is an excellent choice. Plus with Orange you get access to free Playlister.
With intentional and inspiring lessons children look forward to every week and that leaders appreciate, it's no wonder that churches choose the Grow Curriculum. They strive to help children spiritually grow at home and at church and help them apply their knowledge of God's Word. Grow Curriculum is completely scalable for however big or small your youth group is. The amazing team at Grow is responsive to feedback, understands your needs, and displays a ministry of giving. With Grow Curriculum, you can look forward to great resources for events, volunteers, weekly programming, families, discipleship, and more.
Children always look forward to the lessons and teaching videos, and leaders appreciate the simple yet in-depth biblical messages they teach. Not to mention the easy-to-use and organized material it provides. Grow Curriculum focuses on the Bible and the Word of God and that God exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They believe in Jesus Christ, His birth, death, resurrection, and of His return someday. Grow Curriculum believes that anyone can be forgiven for their sins and that we can receive eternal life through Jesus.