Youth ministries choose curriculum in a variety of ways. You might find yourself using some of these methods:

  • Two hours before youth group you grab something off the shelf
  • Your Sunday School teachers teach whatever is on their hearts
  • You have been instructed to use the denominational curriculum or have bought into a curriculum plan from a publisher
  • And a few of you try to write your own curriculum each week

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.

  1. Know, Feel, Do
  2. Buckets and Structures
  3. Calendaring and Curriculum

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.