Are you confused about children’s ministry curriculum? Purchasing the right curriculum is an important yet sometimes daunting task! The challenges are many: it’s costly, budgets are limited, and there is an overwhelming amount of choices.
With all the free resources, lesson plans and ideas available on the internet why spend hundreds of dollars to buy a curriculum when you could just write your own? Unless you or someone in your ministry has the time and the skills to develop the entire scope of teaching for your children, I would not recommend trying to write your own.
Often this is not sustainable nor does it move children through a well thought through plan of discipleship and biblical education. A good curriculum has been developed by a team of people trained and experienced in curriculum design, understanding the learning process and age-appropriate teaching. All good curriculums have a scope and sequence which shows the specific teaching that will happen over a 2-3 year cycle.
Purchasing the right curriculum for your context is an investment that is well worth the cost. The overall discipleship process will have much more value and strength and it will be much easier to train, recruit and retain volunteers! With that in mind, here are a few key questions to consider in evaluating curriculum.
- Determine your needs. What direction is your children’s ministry going in? Do you have age/grade segregated classes or do you follow a large group/small group format with multiple ages together? Do you need to have printed teaching manuals or will an online based curriculum work for your volunteers?
- What is the particular theological approach of the curriculum you’re reviewing? Every curriculum is written from a specific theological approach that may or may not fit your church’s beliefs. If there are differences, how significant are they? Can you tweak it easily?
- Will this curriculum appeal to your kids? Is the content relevant and relatable to your context?
- Is this curriculum easily adaptable? You will not find any ‘perfect’ curriculum! None will work as is but will need some adapting to your context.
- Is it volunteer friendly? Are the teaching plans and resources included adequate to equip the volunteers in your ministry or will there be a lot of work needed to prepare each lesson?
- Do you have the resources needed to make this curriculum work?
- Is it age-appropriate and engaging for different learning styles?
Remember to carefully look through the content of the curriculum. Glossy pictures and flashy presentation does not necessarily mean good content!
Most curriculums have free sample packages to review. Carefully look through them and the scope and sequence of the curriculum line. Don’t rush a decision! And once you’ve chosen a curriculum, stay with it for at least the length of the scope and sequence cycle before changing again.