How to Choose and Use Curriculum

Student at DeskDuring my first youth ministry, I wrote all of my own lessons. From time to time, another Sunday school teacher would hand me a curriculum order form. But I usually returned it to her without considering it.

About halfway through my second youth ministry, I began using curriculum. Now it is a regular part of my third youth ministry.

Curriculum is available for any age group on almost every topic. It can be  a helpful tool that makes you more effective in your ministry. But it can also be confusing if you aren’t sure how to choose and use it!

Benefits of Curriculum
Maybe you still insist on writing your own lessons. It took me awhile to adjust to using someone else’s material. But here are two reasons you should consider using curriculum:

  • Time. Full-time ministry is a busy job! There are many responsibilities besides teaching that demand our attention. We simply cannot spend all our time writing lessons. Curriculum saves us time by providing lessons that are already written.
  • Variety. When we write our own material, we tend to repeat texts and topics that are meaningful to us. Curriculum adds variety to our teaching by making us cover different texts and topics. It also gives us a variety of resources beyond the lesson.

How to Choose Curriculum
There is an unlimited amount of curriculum available! How do you choose which is best for your students? Here are a few factors to consider when shopping for curriculum:

  • Price. Decide ahead of time how much of your budget should be spent on curriculum. Check the quality of the material by downloading a sample lesson. Make sure the material will last long enough to be worth it as well.
  • Package. Curriculum provides so much more than lessons! Some also offer promotional materials, follow-up devotions, memory verses, and information for parents. This extra stuff can help enhance your teaching ministry.
  • Purpose. Find curriculum that serves your purposes as a teacher. Decide ahead of time what you want to teach about and how you want to teach it. Then choose curriculum that will best help you accomplish these goals.

How to Use Curriculum
Curriculum is a helpful tool, but it isn’t a silver bullet or magic formula. In other words, we should never force the material on our students “as is.” Instead, we should adapt it to meet their needs and address their circumstances.

We should also adapt it to suit our teaching style. My goal as a teacher is to help my students discover truth for themselves. So I often turn straightforward teaching into opportunities for personal study and class discussion.

You may hesitate to use curriculum because you don’t want it to stifle or hinder you. But this doesn’t have to happen! Adapting the material allows you to continue using your gifts and expressing your personality as a teacher.

My Recommendation
I do a lot of teaching in my ministry, so I’m always looking for good curriculum. I’ve been most impressed with the material available from youthministry360. It’s reasonably priced and well worth the money. It’s also highly adaptable and easy to teach.

What do you look for when choosing curriculum? Which curriculum have you found most helpful? Share your thoughts with a comment below!

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