It’s fun to try new things. Modern curricula offer many bells and whistles in the form of graphics, online resources, and music. It’s tempting to move to the next best thing. But how do you really know when it’s time to change? Here are some things to consider.
Your Church’s Mission
These goals are the foundation of ministry with the children in your church and in your community. If you don’t know your church’s mission and ministry goals, it’s time to find out (or to write them!). Now look at your curriculum. Does the curriculum support your goals?
Your Church’s Theological Perspective
Are the teachings about God, Jesus, and the Bible ones you want your children to learn? Are there teachings included that your children will have to unlearn later? Is the curriculum biblically accurate? Are the images in line with your church’s understanding of God’s love for the world?
Does the curriculum help children discover the whole Bible over the course of their Sunday school years? Does making a change continue a discovery of the whole Bible? Or will the children hear the same stories over again because the next new curriculum starts with the same favorite stories?
Have things changed since you started your present curriculum? Do you have more children? fewer children? What are their ages? Do you need to change your educational model to fit your present group or your available space? Do the learning activities appeal your children? Are they age appropriate? Do your children want to come to Sunday school?
We recently made a change in my own church. We’ve been using the Large Group/Small Group model for elementary because we had a small number of children. It was really Small Group/Small Group. We’ve grown! We’re now have enough children to support a change to separate age-level classrooms. We changed curriculum and the children love having the colorful Bible story leaflets and activity pages that go with the new model.
What kind of feedback are you receiving from your teachers? Are you getting complaints? Is the curriculum easy for your teachers to navigate? Is it easy to prepare? Do they find enough activities and support resources for the amount of time they teach?
Is ministering to parents one of your ministry goals? If it is, what does your curriculum do to support that goal? Are resources easily available? How are the family faith resources delivered? Does the delivery method make it easy for you to get the resources to your parents and grandparents?
Choosing new curriculum can add energy and excitement to your children’s ministry. And it’s an opportunity to redecorate! But taking a hard look at these five areas will help you make a change when it’s right for your church.
Daphna Flegal is the Lead Development Editor of Children’s Resources at The United Methodist Publishing House and a happy grandmother.