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 the shape of leadership

Four Things to Look for in Kids’ Curriculum

Discipling the children in your church

John Hailes on February 26, 2019

In my years as a children’s pastor, I sourced my weekly lessons from nearly every possible place. Many times, I wrote my own lessons or found free ones online. However, I don’t recommend this slapdash approach. While there is plenty of great, free content available, I believe it’s most beneficial for every children’s ministry to use a single, long-running curriculum.

I am often shocked when I talk with children’s ministry leaders who say they don’t have the budget for curriculum. While I understand there are sometimes financial limitations, I’m concerned that we may be failing to prioritize the most important part of kids’ ministry: our children’s discipleship.

This is especially worrisome considering that most children’s ministry leaders have received little to no training and have limited time to prepare lessons.

We must do better for our kids. Biblical literacy requires intentional teaching, and it’s most effective when it begins in the early years. Here are four things to look for in your children’s curriculum:

1. It maps out lessons carefully and purposefully. A lot of planning goes into good material. Most curriculum uses a scope and sequence that determines the lessons you will cover for the next three years. It may be chronological, which means you are teaching kids the larger narrative of the Bible. This helps create a systematic approach to discipleship.

We often take for granted the need to pass on good theology to our children.

2. It reflects your ministry philosophy. Curriculum often has a core philosophy that drives everything it does. It’s important to learn about this philosophy because it informs the guiding principles behind each lesson. You should be able to embrace this philosophy and allow it to become the foundation and framework of your ministry.

Good curriculum can give a children’s ministry leader a head start at discipling kids, providing something to build upon.

3. It is theologically sound. We often take for granted the need to pass on good theology to our children. Many pastors and elders would be concerned if someone preached poor theology from their pulpits. Yet we don’t always have the same rigorous standards for our children’s ministries.

Some pastors tell their children’s leaders to use any curriculum, as long as it’s free. However, we must consider the source of the material because that will determine its theological roots. Great curriculum can go a long way toward ensuring that teachers are training children according to our church’s beliefs.

4. It provides a community of support. While this might not seem like an obvious advantage, it is a definite benefit of certain curriculum. When your children’s ministry sticks to one curriculum, it creates an opportunity for the leader to connect with other churches and leaders who are also using the curriculum.

For instance, there may be an active Facebook group of current users who support and encourage one another. There may be community leaders across the country who are willing to help current users make the most of the curriculum. When you invest in this kind of curriculum for your children’s ministry, you are creating a pathway for your children’s ministry leader to grow and connect with other like-minded ministry leaders.

If you are looking for a Pentecostal children’s ministry curriculum, I would highly recommend Tru Fire. I used it in my ministry setting for the last three years, and it meets all four of the criteria above. Excellent curriculum like Tru Fire is well worth the investment. Our kids are worth the investment.

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