At a conference a few years back, I heard someone say, “Teach with the end in mind.” The point of the statement is that if we want all students to experience a growing relationship with Christ we should plan and teach to that goal.
What is your strategy for choosing preteen ministry curriculum? Do you have a strategy for picking curriculum that will help you reach the goals of your ministry?
Here are a few ideas to help you choose curriculum with a strategy:
1. Work Backwards
If you haven’t done so, sit down and think about your end goal. An end goal is a picture of what you want preteens to know when they move on to the next stage of life or ministry. What truths do they need to know before taking the next step in Jr. High?
The end goal for our preteen ministry is for preteens to 1) have a better understanding of the Bible and accept it as the source of Truth, 2) experience community with peers and a mentor, and 3) have opportunities to serve the Church and the world. We choose curriculum and plan our teaching to help preteens experience these three things. Once you have a clear end goal, it is much easier to choose curriculum that will help preteens move closer to that goal.
2. Explore All the Options
Major publishing companies specialize in creating curriculum that follows a specific scope and sequence. Publishers like Sparkhouse, Lifeway, SuperStart, and Group have curriculum for preteen ministry, and some might fit well with your strategy and end goal.
Another great option is searching for 4-6 week series that can be used in your curriculum strategy. Preteenministry.net and Seeds are great places to find curriculum series written specifically for preteens. These resources provide flexibility for your ministry and are generally less expensive options.
3. Be Prepared to Write and Rewrite
Your end goal should be specific to the preteens in your ministry, and so should your curriculum. Instead of using curriculum straight out-of-the-box, try editing it to meet the needs of your preteens and fit the strengths of your team. If nothing seems to fit your needs, maybe it’s time to try your hand at writing your own curriculum. Give yourself plenty of time and have church leadership evaluate your writing. It’s better to write 5 drafts and have a great lesson series than to write 4 weeks worth of curriculum that doesn’t help you move toward your end goal.
If you’re struggling with finding or editing curriculum, a FourFiveSix peer group would be a great venue to share ideas and hear from others. Much of the strategy I use in writing and editing curriculum came from conversations I had with other preteen leaders.