An easy-to-follow, power-packed curriculum helps teachers reach the kids they teach but finding lessons that fulfills a specific criteria challenges many. Every children’s church is different and factors like church doctrine, time and volunteer constraints make selecting a curriculum even more of a task. According to some estimates, up to 18% of churches do write their own kids ministry curriculum. Is that a viable option for you? Before setting pen to paper, consider the pros and cons.
Pros of Writing Your Own Curriculum
- You can create unique messages tailored to your group’s ages and interests. By writing your own lessons with your audience in mind, you can excite kids with specific references to their favorite hobbies and games. You could even use kids’ names in skits and puppet plays — with parents’ permission of course.
- You can address specific issues in the group. When family or community tragedies strike, you can write lessons that kids will appreciate and understand. Target a sin that the group seems to struggle with like lying or disobedience to parents. By writing your own curriculum, you can teach in real-time about immediate issues.
- Teach lessons from verses that “speak to your spirit” during your own Bible studies. Sometimes the best lessons we teach come from the oil that God presses out of us during our personal devotion time. (For example, recently, God spoke privately to me about forgiving a friend who had wronged me. I took that lesson to my kids and we experienced a powerful move of His Spirit. He knew what we all needed!)
- You get to collaborate with others. By writing your own lessons, you could work with other teachers, pooling your best ideas to make one solid work.
Cons of Writing a Curriculum
- Writing a curriculum takes lots of time – probably more than you think. Even if your proposed book only contains 12 lessons, enough for a quarter, you will need dozens maybe even a hundred hours of writing time.
- You won’t have the advantages of a professional publishing house like editors and proofreaders. Typos can’t be avoided and everyone makes reference mistakes. When you write your own work, you might not end up with a clean copy that you could be proud of. It takes several drafts to catch all the mistakes.
- Your writing may not match your teachers’ styles. When you write a curriculum from your teaching perspective not everyone will get it. Teaching styles vary and it’s hard to inspire everyone.
- You could infringe on copyrights unknowingly. Referring to a beloved cartoon character or using a song title in your lesson could break copyright laws. You need to understand basic copyright infringement issues before setting pen to paper.
If you are considering writing your own curriculum, weigh the pros and cons. Test the creative waters by writing an outline first. If you find this difficult, you might feel that writing an entire curriculum is a waste of your time. However, if you have the fortitude and spare time, this project could be fulfilling and useful.
Read Mimi’s children’s parable, “The Young Boy and the Great Mountain,” or visit her blog at Encouragement for Christians.