Tag Archives: Simply Youth Ministry

Finding the Right Youth Curriculum

Last week, I wrote a very convincing blog on why you should consider using curriculum. This week is a brief list of websites that will help you find the right curriculum. Even if you already using a year-long curriculum like XP3 or LIVE, you most likely have other teaching times. So, you inevitably have the daunting task of searching the internet for curriculum that will fit your topic, your teaching style, your group size…and the list goes on. Below is a list of websites that I have used in the past.online support

Quick tip: Open all websites, type in the topic or Book study in the search box provided, and compare the products found.

Youth Specialties. What is nice about Youth Specialties is explained in their organization’s name. They specialize in youth ministry material. Several of these other companies have a wider range of material, which does not make them any better or worse, but I feel Youth Specialties garners trust with their focused material on youth. You will not have to worry whether the material is designed for older or younger audiences, but is tailored specifically for youth ministry.

Group. What I like about their website and curriculum is it is tailored for a specific program. Whether it is a small group setting, mission trip training, sermons, or even junior high or high school material, the resource organization on their website is very helpful. Group also provides a LIVE curriculum that will last the entire junior high and high school years – 72/144 weeks respectively.

Regular Baptist Press. This one might not be as well-known, but it happens to be my favorite. Out of all the curriculum I have used, this is the most user-friendly and creative. If I ever have a guest speaker for a series, I typically will try to give them this curriculum. The only downside is there typically is not DVD-based curriculum, if you are into those, and also the topics are somewhat limited. But if you find something that fits your topic, I would strongly recommend purchasing or at least using it as a supplement material to your lessons.

Simply Youth Ministry. See Youth Specialties description. This is essentially the youth department of Group. So much of what is on this website overlaps with Group and their products. But I still go here to make sure I didn’t miss any resources.

Zondervan. This may have gone under the radar to many of you, because Zondervan is often viewed as a publisher or regular books, not necessarily curriculum. I’ve found some great material here, including some incredibly creative DVD-series that my student have enjoyed. Worth a look.

Word of Life. When a youth worker or a new youth pastor is looking for a curriculum that is already designed, planned, and much of the pre-work is done already…this is where I point them. Word of Life has done a great job at providing curriculum that saves the teacher time in lesson planning, but also provides quality teaching and material for the lesson prep and study time.

What say you?  What curriculum websites do you use when you are searching for the right curriculum.  searchconfusion

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

liquidCurriculum Review: James Bible Study – Live at Five – Liquid DVD Series & James by Simply Youth Ministry

FYI: Combining the DVD series and the Bible study provided a good balance of the study of James. Oftentimes, teens can get overloaded with DVD series and become bored or indifferent towards them. I try to provide a good balance of media and formal teaching time.


The Good:

Live at Five provides a good change of pace in a Bible study. The liquid series always do a great job at providing a different perspective that sparks conversation and discussion. With a visual generation watching, it is interesting to see the students interact with the video. Who wouldn’t want a real live version of the lessons in the book of James? Seriously, the videos provide a real life portrayal of your Bible study. It will provide a great jump-start to your James study.

James by Simply Youth Ministry was perfect for my small group teaching times. It provided a short lesson and in-depth discussion questions at the end of each lesson. That is exactly the format of our small group times. So for our ministry, it fit perfectly. The lessons were well-written and easy to teach. Very few complaints about this curriculum coming from this guy.

The Bad:

If you are looking for a blockbuster movie with superb cinematography, dynamite acting, and two thumbs up from movie critics, you won’t find it in the Live at Five series. If you are comparing this series to Avengers or Godzilla, the special effects are going to fall short. But if you enter with a mindset of content over quality, then you will get your due. The acting is corny at times, and the video is low-budget, but as long as you keep your perspective, it will serve your purpose.

The James Bible study really had few downsides. One could be, if you rely heavily on curriculum for a lengthy teaching time, you will need to supplement. If you are not comfortable doing that, you may need to look elsewhere. Also, a 5 week series may be too short for a series (Thus, the reason for combining with Live at Five)

The Grade:

Live at Five – B

It was great to have a real life portrayal of the book of James. Students need to understand how the Bible is relevant to today. The corny-ness and shallow acting at times brought the grade down a little. You could turn off some of your avid movie goers pretty quickly.

James (by Simply Youth Ministry) – Ajames

This curriculum, as I mentioned before, fit my needs perfectly. Oftentimes, curriculum doesn’t take the time to spell out discussion questions. It simply leaves that task up to the teacher. This James Bible study provided everything a teacher needs. Sure it was only 5 weeks and was a little on the short side, but if you need something for a small group context, it fits perfectly.

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Evangelism Training Curriculum

evangelism_1Last week, we kicked off the Evangelism blog series with Trying Something New in Evangelism.  Evangelism must be an integral part of any student or youth ministry.  But where do you start?  In the next few weeks, I’ll be presenting ideas, recommendations, and evaluations of evangelism resources that may help revitalize student’s passion, training, and execution of personal evangelism in their lives.  Let’s begin with the evaluation of evangelism training curriculum…here are a few I have used in the past:

Contagious Christian (Youth Edition)

The Good:

  1. Helped the teen understand their evangelistic style – confrontational, intellectual, testimonial, interpersonal, invitational, & serving
  2. Eliminated excused based on characteristics or weaknesses of student
  3. Promoted the use of testimony in witnessing

The Bad:

  1. Weak on developing a evangelism method/gospel presentation
  2. Teens struggled to put material into practice

Recommendation:  This would act as a good complement to Evangelism training, but was not effective in a stand-alone series.


Evangelism Explosion (Adult Version)

The Good:

  1. Superior evangelism method training/gospel presentation
  2. Develops a consistent, usable witness script
  3. Provides valuable illustrations and clarification points for non-believer conversations

The Bad: (more difficult, than bad)

  1. Length – 13 week session, which includes memorization & visitation

Recommendation:  For ready-to-work, mature students, it is highly recommended for evangelism training


Everyone Matters (Simply Youth Ministry)

The Good

  1. Good utilization and development of testimony
  2. Fair assessment and explanation of the evangelism process, very real & honest

The Bad

  1. Brief – example would be the Gospel explanation is one session.
  2. Does not contain a strong evangelism method training

Recommendation:  Provides a good introduction to evangelism, but not enough content for complete training.


2nd Greatest Story Ever Told (Simply Youth Ministry/Doug Fields)

The Good

  1. Fits well in a mission training context
  2. Good, practical development of student’s testimony

The Bad

  1. Strictly used for testimony work, not evangelism training as a whole

Recommendation:  Good tool in developing testimony, not complete evangelism training.

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