Children’s Ministry leaders have the very important job of discipling the preschoolers, kids, and preteens in their church. To do this wisely and effectively, choosing a solid curriculum is essential. However, it takes time, effort, and sometimes money to sort through the variety of options out there and make a well-informed decision about which curriculum to use. Consider these three steps to create a curriculum lab for yourself, fellow staff, volunteers, and even parents to utilize as you prayerfully choose a wise plan of discipleship for the children and families in your ministry.
Step One: Capture & Collect
This is the part where it can feel overwhelming. There are so many options on the market, on the internet, in stores for purchase, or online for free. Where do you begin? Start by capturing the content you can get for no cost. Most content providers offer free lessons for preview purposes. Download and print any of these you find for your lab. Consider placing these in folders or binders with labels, making it easy to identify. You might also ask your network of local and social media friends to see if they have portions of a curriculum for you to preview and place in the curriculum lab you are creating. Another option is to do some “window shopping” in Christian retail stores. You can ask the retail workers questions about various products and even ask permission to photograph for your lab. Purchasing various curricula – especially the ones you have an extreme interest in may be in your best interest.
Step Two: Organize & Display
Find some space to display your collection of samples, products, photographs, and notes. Place on tables so that you can invite anyone to peruse the lab and partner with you in making the decision. You might consider making multiple copies depending on how many people will be visiting the lab.
Step Three: Investigate & Collaborate
Designate some intentional time to dig-in and really evaluate the options you have. Collaborate as much as possible with people on your team and other staff members such as the Youth/Student ministry leader, the Education Minister, or Discipleship Pastor—even the Senior pastor. This will help you align a bigger vision for thorough discipleship from birth to adult. You will also want to allow some of your most trusted volunteers and parents to help speak into this important decision! Ultimately, you will make the choice—but don’t do it in isolation. Prayerfully seek counsel and select accordingly.
Choosing a curriculum doesn’t have to be overwhelming, labor-intensive, and expensive. If you remember these three helpful steps, you will be off to a great start to amazing discipleship! The children and families in your ministry are worth it!
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of LifeWay Kids. Jana brings a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and curriculum writing. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children live in Nashville, Tennessee and enjoy serving in a variety of ways in their local church.