I have a sickness. The other day, I received a shipment from Staples and you would have thought it was Christmas. New pens, new highlighters, and a fresh, blank calendar…pure bliss. Like a 6 year old in a chocolate fountain.
While I enjoy the process of planning out the teaching calendar, the anticipatory joy of spiritually impactful lessons…it does take more work than just throwing a couple series titles together. In fact, it is a process that has developed for months. Let me explain the process in steps.
- Feed the Need. Survey your parents, students, and others to find out what the greatest needs and greatest interest of your students are. More than likely you will hear topics like purity, end times, devotional life, and the list goes on. So what I have done is come up with a 6 year calendar, where in the teaching times available, I can show how a 7th grader entering the ministry will learn these things in their 6 years in our student ministry. (*Could be 4 year calendar if in high school ministry)
- Glad That’s Over. The 4 or 6 year calendar is the heavy lifting of your curriculum planning. Now the fun part. Picking your teaching material/curriculum. See, for me, I don’t choose the same curriculum for all 4 years. I like to pick and choose, allow myself some flexibility with what I teach from, and what I teach. I’ve used materials from: Regular Baptist Press (my personal favorite – fits my teaching style & doctrine well), Youth Specialties, Simply Youth Ministry, Group Publishing, Answers in Genesis, Lifeway, and Zondervan.
- Make it Your Own. Listen to me. You are not Doug Fields or Andy Stanley, so don’t pretend to be. Take the curriculum and make it your own, modify and teach it as if it was written just for YOUR students. Put together you OWN PowerPoint. Use personal illustration and make up your own introductory hook. Make your students feel like the lesson is FOR THEM, and not for a church in California or Atlanta.
What about you? What curriculum do you use? Got any tips for your teaching planning?