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Sunday School Curriculum Guide

Children's Ministry Magazine

There should be a special graveyard for all those saints of God who've died on the vine writing their church's own curriculum. Many churches can pull this off, but more churches have watched some of their best people dry up and blow away because of the heavy burden.

There's nothing deficient or substandard about these churches; it's just that it can be an overwhelming task to create curriculum in addition to all the other children's ministry demands. For churches who are able to pull it off, the results are usually phenomenal. But because of the huge challenge, we join with those of you who've given up and shout, "You curriculum companies: God bless you one and all!"

To help you wade through the mounds of ready-made curriculum available, Children's Ministry Magazine asked the top-selling curriculum suppliers to give us basic information about their materials. This is not a review; it's simply a report.

Selecting a Sunday school curriculum is no easy task. It's often hard to even know where to begin. Use the questions below to help you determine if the curriculum program you're interested in will meet your needs.

Goals and Objectives -- It's important that the curriculum's objectives fit your program's goals. First things first, though. Do you have a mission statement for your children's ministry? If not, determine this before going any further.

Answer these questions:

  • Does the curriculum's philosophy fit our mission?
  • Does the curriculum fit our theological emphasis?
  • Do the objectives of the curriculum help us meet our goals?

Spiritual Growth -- Children need to not only learn the Bible, but also to grow in their faith. Knowledge without practical application, according to the book of James, is like looking in a mirror, walking away, and then forgetting what we look like.

Answer these questions:

  • Will this curriculum provide children with the spiritual formation they need to grow in Christ?
  • Are the lessons based solidly on the Bible?
  • Do the lessons emphasize understanding of relevant life principles based on biblical truths?
  • Are there opportunities for children to apply biblical principles?
  • Are there service opportunities connected to the truths of the lessons?

Children's Needs -- All children are different. It's important for a curriculum to meet children's needs in a variety of ways.

Answer these questions:

  • Does the curriculum offer educational opportunities for all the learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)?
  • Does the curriculum involve children in the learning process?
  • Are there opportunities for self-discovery?
  • Is the curriculum challenging for children?
  • Is the curriculum child-centered? Will it capture children's interest?
  • Are there age-appropriate lessons and activities for each age level?

Ease of Preparation -- Let's get real! If the curriculum you choose is too difficult for your volunteers, you'll have a revolving door in your ministry. Consider the needs of your children and volunteers equally as you evaluate curriculum.

Answer these questions:

  • Are the lesson plans easy to understand?
  • Are there theological helps and insights for the novice teacher?
  • Are lessons neither supply- nor preparation-intensive?
  • Will volunteers feel "successful" and satisfied using this curriculum?

Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change.

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