Picking the Right Curriculum in Kids Ministry
Choosing curriculum is a hard area that you have to really study in being able to make changes in being able to lead the kids ministry at your church. There are many factors including cost, time restraints, and volunteer availability that lead to making these decisions. At my current church, I have switched our Wednesday and Sunday morning curriculum with guidance of following these steps:
You gotta pray about it - Lots of praying and focus on where you want to go as a ministry. Where is the Lord leading you? Take some time to get focused on what that could mean for your ministry. Ask friends, parents, and leadership to pray with you. This help you keep your footing and stay grounded in the midst of change.
What in brings to teaching the kiddos? - Your curriculum needs to be engaging and help bring kiddos closer to Jesus. Its hard to lead Bible Study when you feel like its not engaging. Along with that, you have to make sure it is age appropriate based on where you're kiddos are. Always know you can make it your own based on your church but you have to focus on engagement and if they are learning the Gospel.
How does this curriculum engage the parents? - Helping parents be able to disciple their kiddos is huge. Make sure this curriculum is engaging to parents because you see them only a few times a week but parents can use these materials to partner with parents in leading children to Jesus. I love that there are many curriculums that have apps that even help parents without helping keep up with the papers as kids are picked up in a hurry after church. Make sure there is a clear plan to engage parents as "primary disciplers" in curriculum to be an overall family discipler.
What does this curriculum do to empower the volunteers? - They give up so much in order to help in kid's ministry and often they are running on fumes when they get to church to help because they have been at work. Make sure the lessons are simple to teach, give you resources in what the crafts will look like, and easy to access. This makes volunteering in your ministry simpler and helps make sure they are properly trained for the curriculum and can lead kiddos closer to Jesus.
What does this mean for your budget? - small churches usually don't have the huge budget to work with. You gotta look into how much overall this is going to cost you when it comes to there overall impact. I wish we all were rolling in the money when it came to our ministries but you have to be realistic. Some things are just way too much money and you have to be mindful when looking at your options.
Get a team to help you vision cast - When we switched curriculums this last time, I did the things above and then pulled a couple of ideas to let my children's ministry leadership team look over. We had two we were looking at and praying about, and every single leader came together and picked the same curriculum we liked. My team is filled with parents and volunteers and we were able to come together and say what we liked, what we would change, and how we would help the church get behind it. I know change can be super hard, but having a team to help you cast where you are going with the change, it helps tremendously.