Youth ministries choose curriculum in a variety of ways. You might find yourself using some of these methods:
There are a variety of problems with these ways of choosing curriculum, but the main problem is that they do not work within a curriculum plan. Granted, those who create the denominational curriculum or the plan from a particular publisher have put intentionality and thought behind their order and sequence, but have you considered whether that order and sequence works for what your ministry hopes to teach?
When most people think of a curriculum plan they think about the topics, subjects, and scriptures youth will be taught and the resources that will be used to teach them. Curriculum is more that the lessons we teach from a resource. Curriculum also includes all the experiences that youth have which teach them. Mission trips, retreats, service opportunities, and relationships become a part of the holistic curriculum a youth experiences.
A curriculum plan will not only explore how Sunday School, youth group, and Bible study work together to teach the desired material, but it will also incorporate mission trips, retreats, and other opportunities to learn in the plan.
In this three part series, we will look at how to develop a curriculum plan for your ministry.
This week we focus on what you want your students to know, feel, and do. The first step in developing a curriculum is to work with your youth ministry team and teaching volunteers to develop an thorough list for each of these categories. Introduce the exercise by encouraging the group to think about Jane and John Doe who are graduating from your youth group this year. Jane and John have been a part of your youth ministry since 6th or 7th grade. What do we hope that Jane and John know? What do we hope that Jane and John have felt? What do we hope that Jane and John have done? Here are some examples to get you going:
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Clearly, your list of things that you hope that they know will be longer than the other two lists. The group may seek early closure with this exercise (meaning they get tired of listing things that seem obvious to them), but I would caution against early closure because this exercise sets the stage for holistic curriculum development. If your team cannot paint a picture of what a graduating senior should look like if they have gone all the way through your youth program, then they should not be surprised when you cannot get them there. Youth ministry is a part of the discipleship process and a well-thought out curriculum plan will help youth as you journey with them.
Continue your plan with Curriculum Plan Step 2: Buckets and Structures.
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.