When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I help produce Bible study curriculum. But, of course, it is so much more than the way I feed my family—it is a passion and a privilege, one I seek to steward well. With that deep care for curriculum in mind, I want to share six things that I wish every kids leader knew about curriculum. Knowing these things, I believe, can transform a ministry, which more importantly, can transform lives.
So far we have covered:
- Every curriculum is crafted around a set of core values.
- The goal is to teach the Bible, not the curriculum.
- There is no perfect curriculum.
Building off of the previous point, we need to recognize that the perfect curriculum simply does not exist. Nor can it exist. Every curriculum is produced by finite people. I tend to be a Type A kind of guy—a perfectionist in many ways. And this is a struggle for me. No matter how hard we try and how many eyes are placed on it, there has never been a single volume of curriculum printed without a typo. The amazing thing is that they seem to jump off the page immediately as soon as we open our preview copies from the printer!
But there is one more nuance to flesh out here, the most important one. The perfect curriculum does not exist, cannot exist, but more than that, it should not exist. That might sound strange from a guy who works on producing curriculum and who is a Type A perfectionist, but hear me out. The reason that there should not be a perfect curriculum is because each church is unique, as is every group, as is every teacher, and as is every kid. While we share the same mandate to teach the same unchanging, uncompromising Scriptures, the unique context of each group demands that what is shared and how it is shared differs. That is why no curriculum can be, nor should be, plug-and-play. And that is why it is called a Leader Guide and not a Leader Mandate.
So if you are a leader, be patient and gracious with us when you come across a typo! Know that it pains us that it is there and our goal is to provide you with a resource free of all typos. But more than that, follow the Spirit’s guidance as you prepare as we addressed in the prior post. And be patient and gracious with us here too. That main idea or activity that doesn’t help you, might just be the most important one for the church down the street from you. Know that our goal is to get as close to the ideal curriculum for as many churches and groups as we can. We want to make preparing as easy as possible for you, which will take us to the next point covered in the next post.
Questions for reflection
- What is unique about your context? What needs and opportunities should you be aware of as you lead your group?
- What is unique about you as a leader? What strengths, weaknesses, and biases might you bring to your group as you lead that you need to be aware of?
Next time: Teaching God’s Word takes work.
Brian Dembowczyk is the managing editor for The Gospel Project. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to Lifeway. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his family live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.