I was talking with a children’s ministry couple the other day and they were asking me about curriculum ideas. They had done what most people do: they got on the Internet and browsed for what came up in a “children’s ministry curriculum” search, went to the various sites and downloaded their samples. Well, in one of the samples (I don’t know which one) was the story of Noah’s Ark and the application point had something to do with how to take care of one’s pet.
They found that entirely frustrating, sort of gave up, and ended up chatting with me about some advice on where to look next.
Well, at first I laughed, because taking care of your pet can be really important to a child. It’s a real reality for them. This young couple, though, were offended to some degree (and rightly so) because they were asking me the question:
Is this the level with which people teach and apply God’s Word to children?
In other words,
Is this what I can expect from ALL curriculum?
So after laughing, I got serious with their question about curriculum. I was excited for this young couple because they weren’t just asking about a specific curriculum and how to program, etc. I could tell that these eager disciplers of children wanted to comb the depths of the Scriptures because they believed that children can handle the vast truths of God in ways that put adults to shame. We, as adults, after all need to learn faith from little children. Didn’t some wise person say that once or twice?
Anyway, I asked them if they had a Bible. They did… great start!
And I encouraged them to open up the Bible and share the stories contained within with the children.
That’s it. Curriculum is that easy. I call it SIMPLE.
Okay, okay… I know there needs to be more to this conversation, but let’s pause for a second:
Is this where we start with the children in our churches?
Do we start with the written Word of God, ourselves (and our growing and maturing relationship with God, via Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit), and an eager audience of squirrelly kids?
I don’t know about you, but every week when I interact with different audiences and groups, no matter how big or small, inside of church or in the community, I start with the Word of God living and active inside of me and live and breathe those life-transforming stories to children, teens and adults. If you start with a curriculum company and their vision, means, and intention, then there is a curriculum in the way of you interacting with children. It is a very easy and subtle trap to place the curriculum or program in between the students and you. May it not be so!
Back to the curriculum conversation.
Once you start with the Bible, you and a group of students, then you’ve got the building blocks to a great curriculum program.
Now, with your passions and relationship intact and in the right order, go find curriculum that helps you accomplish how you want to teach and share the stories of the Bible. With the vast interconnected resources and the world wide web’s ability to share almost anything, there are countless options and resources out there! There are times when I purchase curriculum because it accomplishes exactly what our children in our community and church need. There are other times when I create and craft our own curriculum elements because they need something authentic that no box or subscription can offer (and there are PLENTY of freely available resources out there).
I tell you what, though, when I shared this with this young children’s ministry couple theirs eyes lit up with the possibilities. I saw their passion for discipling children extend beyond helping children raise their pets well. I saw them taking ownership of what God has called and asked them to do with the children He has given them to disciple, lead and infuse with the Gospel.
And I think this is what children’s ministry is all about:
Passing on faith to the next generation SIMPLY.
Hopefully we can be an interconnected resource and sounding board for each other as we share the weight of this important and vital ministry of the church.