Tag Archives: Youth Specialties

Youth Curriculum Review Series – 2015 Edition (cont.)

In the final installment of the Youth Curriculum Review of 2015, let’s take a look at some small group curriculum.

41efF+SLSLL._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_Creative Bible Lessons in Job by Doug Ranck.  Let me just say this.  I have searched and used many youth curriculum, and one of the curricula that I often recommend is the Creative Bible Lessons.  Here’s what you get with this curriculum.  A starter or icebreaker for the lesson that often comes with multiple options with minimal setup but maximum effectiveness.  Then the lesson is dynamic, easy to teach, good foundation of Scripture, and a good challenge.  In the end, there are discussion questions and worksheets that work very well in the small group setting.

66475Serving Like Jesus by Doug Fields & Brett Eastman.  This was a good fit for small group, but on a heavier teaching night, it would not work as well.  The teaching material is limited and often required some additional work.  However, the discussion questions and outlined series were phenomenal.  I actually added to the series by inviting people in the church who were serving like Jesus to interview them.  That added to the material.  The highlight of this curriculum was definitely the plethora of interaction and discussion questions.  So if you struggle in the teaching side, this might not be best series.  But in a small group setting with shorter teaching and more discussion, this is perfect.

indexSurrender by Francis Chan.  Disclaimer to begin:  I’m a huge Francis Chan.  I’ve read every book he has written and Crazy Love happens to be in my top 5 books of all time.  That being said, this series is a small group goldmine for many reasons.  It provides a DVD series to break up your teaching.  The subject matters are not fluff, but are very challenging, relevant, and hold the interest well.  The lesson is very well put together and Biblically based.  The discussion questions provided allow the small groups to flourish and have great follow-up.  The only down side is it only 4 weeks.  Other than that, it is well worth using for a “break” series during the year, to finish the year, or even in a retreat setting.

 

 

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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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3 Tips For Planning Your Student Ministry Teaching Calendar

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

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