Possibly one of the biggest questions I get just about everywhere I go has to do with curriculum. We all use it, we all want to know how to use it, and we’re always looking for something else. It’s the #kidmin life. I’ve been doing a lot of speaking about this lately. I felt it might be helpful for you to hear some of these key things as you navigate the world of curriculum.
I know that curriculum choosing, using, and implementing can be difficult but I have found some ways that can make it easier for you. As usual when dealing with me you’re not going to get just a quick step by step process, because I love helping leaders think for themselves and grow into the type of leadership that we’re called to be in. That type of leadership has to take a different approach to curriculum. We have got to switch our thinking. Many of us go to curriculum thinking, “ok, this curriculum will give life and direction to my ministry.” I hate to say it that, but that is unhealthy thinking.
Curriculum should not tell you the direction of your ministry you tell the curriculum the direction of your ministry.
When did it become okay for us to simply take whatever we’re given and implement it without ever really thinking about it and figuring out how it’s going to work for us?
Let’s have an honest moment, there are so many curriculums to choose from and it is hard as a leader to narrow down what the best curriculum is for you. I want to encourage you, leader, that you can greatly narrow down curriculum choices when you set the stage, the standard, the bar for what you’re looking for in your curriculum.
I get frustrated when I go into churches and they’re looking for an easy way out. Honestly we are dealing with an epidemic of kids and families leaving the church and un-engaging from the church. I believe that is because we have taken the easy way out too often. Kids and families are looking to go deep. God created us to go deep, we need to go deep with them.
I believe that curriculum is only as good or as bad as how you make it work for you. I’ve seen some terrible curriculum be used extremely well because of how the leaders are adapting it to fit their context. That is what I want to encourage you to begin to do in your own ministry. Let’s set the standard and tell our curriculum where we’re headed, not the other way around.
Let me give you three steps for taking ownership of your curriculum.
1. Look at your context. Who are you as a church? What is going to work in your context? What will work in inner-city Philly is not necessarily going to work in rural Oklahoma. Figure out your context to figure out what will work for you.
2. Look at your vision. Where are you going as a church? What is your passion? What is your heart? What is the DNA of who you are as a community of faith? This is the point where I love when churches put a team together of people who say “what do we want our kids to know?”. “What will connect our kids with the heart of Jesus?” These churches then come up with 3-5 things and they say this is the vision of who we are this is what we want to pass on to the kids that God has allowed us to serve. So look at your vision and figure out where you’re going. You can’t aim at something that has no target, you need to provide a target for your curriculum.
3. Look at yourself. I’ll be really honest, leaders, most often when we think we have a curriculum issue in the church it’s not a curriculum issue, it’s a leadership issue. Leader you have to lead in this area of curriculum. You have to set the vision, you have to bring people on board, and you have to equip them. If you have those 3 to 5 vision pieces that tell your curriculum what to do your curriculum doesn’t get old. Set the vision, speak the vision, and consistently point back to the vision. (Also, if your curriculum IS just really old or is more work than help, be honest and move on. There are season and life cycles.)
Take ownership of your curriculum. Your curriculum doesn’t tell you what to do, you tell your curriculum what to do. That’s called being a good steward of the gifts and abilities that God has given you. And if you have been called by God to lead, he will equip you.