by Aubrey Kyle
Have you ever pulled into the drive-through of a fast food restaurant just to be overwhelmed by the menu options? Sometimes, those choices can seem like a bit much. It can be the same way when choosing a curriculum for your children’s Sunday school class. With all the options available, both good and bad, it can be hard to know which curriculum would work best with the children at your church.
When choosing a curriculum to use with the children at your church, there are many things that need to be considered. Is the curriculum engaging? Does it apply to the children? Does it explain to teachers how to prepare a lesson? Does it come with music and other resources, or is it just a lesson text? How much does the curriculum cost?
While I could go on, I think you get the idea. Choosing a children’s curriculum is a big job that has many important factors. While some things aren’t deal breakers, others should be essentials.
IS IT GOSPEL-CENTERED
First and foremost, find out if the curriculum clearly teaches the Gospel. Even if you can write the Gospel into a lesson, it’s better if the main focus of the lesson is the Gospel from the start. The most important thing for kids to learn in Sunday school is what the Bible teaches about who God is and what He has done for them. Make sure the curriculum you choose not only teaches about the different events in Scripture, but how the whole Bible points to Jesus and our need for Him.
IS IT SCRIPTURE-BASED
Hopefully, if the curriculum is Gospel-centered, Scripture can be clearly seen woven throughout the lesson text. Check that the lessons within the curriculum are Scripture-based instead of story-based. For example, have you ever heard the story of Jonah and the Whale? Well Scripture actually gives an account of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, not a whale. While it is possible that this fish was indeed a whale, the Hebrew word used when describing the fish doesn’t tell us what kind of fish or sea creature it was. This is why it’s best to have a curriculum that’s Scripture-based, not based on what people think Scripture says. This also shows why it’s so important to read the passage itself in addition to the curriculum text. When checking curriculum texts, see if the lesson narratives include actual verses from the account you’re teaching, or if it’s just a story script based off the biblical text. Remember, the more you read from the Bible while teaching, the more children will understand that what they are learning comes from and can be found in God’s Word.
Check that the lessons within the curriculum are Scripture-based instead of story-based.
IS IT RELEVENT FOR THE CHILDREN IN YOUR CHURCH?
There are some great curriculums out there. That being said, look and see which one will work best for the specific kids you have in your church. Ask yourself, “Do these children have a solid foundation of biblical truths?” Or will you need to help them build that foundation from scratch? What kind of home lives do these children have? What situations are they facing? Is your class normally filled with new faces, or do you usually have the same group of children every week? Along with being developmentally appropriate, the lessons and curriculum you chose must also be relevant to the specific children your church teaches.
Look and see which one will work best for the specific kids you have in your church.
These are only three things to consider as you choose a curriculum for your children’s ministries. When researching curriculum, see if there are sample lessons you can look at and try out. Have a meeting with your pastor and the other children’s teachers to see what else is essential to your children’s ministry and to see if the curriculum your church is considering using is one your teachers will feel confident teaching. Pray together and ask God to help you find the best curriculum for the specific kids at your church to help them clearly learn about Him.
For materials you can use within your children’s ministries, check out CEF Press®. While these lessons aren’t specifically designed for Sunday school classes, several churches (including my own!) have used products from CEF Press in their children’s church programs because the curriculum had exactly what they needed to best reach the children they taught. Also be sure to keep watching Sunday School Solutions, check out our U-Nite™ YouTube channel, and visit our blog to find more teaching tips, ideas, and more!