We hope you enjoy this guest post by Courtney Weaver of WonderInk!
Whether you’re planning a gathering for young adults or a community outreach event, it’s your responsibility as a church leader to practice what you preach. That’s why careful attention must be paid to teaching the right lessons.
Finding a Sunday school curriculum for your children’s ministry is especially complex when considering kids’ different learning levels and attention spans. That’s why we’ve created this guide! We’ll explore the top three lessons your curriculum should teach:
- How To View God
- How To View Peers
- How To View Yourself
As you work through these lessons, consider how they align with your church’s mission. That way, kids can get a comprehensive view of their individual walks of faith and their part in the church community.
From managing church finances to planning a holiday event, God is present in every part of church leadership and our lives. Your Sunday school curriculum should follow suit, incorporating lessons that always point kids back to God.
How do you know if a particular curriculum will keep the focus on God and teach kids to look for Him in every situation? Since the Bible helps Christians draw closer to God, it should also guide each lesson in your Sunday school classes and children’s ministry overall.
A biblically-based children’s curriculum uses the Bible as its main source of truth, with lessons that teach kids how to understand and analyze Scripture (for those old enough to read) and explain core biblical truths. When choosing a God-centered curriculum, look for the following features:
- Biblical core values: Observe the principles and values of the curriculum you choose. Do they align with the principles and values of your church? Does the curriculum hold truthful core beliefs about God? The curriculum’s values will be reflected in its lessons.
- Meaningful supplementary material: Games, music, and other supplementary materials can be useful for engaging kids in your Sunday school class, but even the fun aspect shouldn’t lack biblical truth! And we know that kids learn in all different ways. Consider the small things, like lessons that may be learned from playing games or singing songs. How do these materials teach kids using different learning methods, while having fun?
- Theological guideposts: What is the overall focus of your curriculum’s theology? Is there a significant focus on who God is, or does the curriculum stray to more shallow topics? What the curriculum presents as the “overall picture” will be the guiding beliefs that impact each lesson. Be sure that the curriculum’s priorities align with those of your children’s ministry.
Ultimately, your curriculum should empower kids to strengthen their personal relationships with God. Teaching kids that God is the focus of the Bible will help them to see Him as the focus of everything else, as well. From church events to family gatherings, they’ll start to pursue God outside of Sunday school.
Loving your neighbor is a central theme in the Bible. To put this biblical lesson into practice, Wonder Ink’s guide to children’s curriculum recommends valuing relationships. This means the curriculum you choose should facilitate collaboration between:
- Children at church: When kids connect with their peers, whether in Sunday school, children’s church, or during a midweek program, they can help each other learn and grow. This might also foster long-term friendships where they share life together–and as a result, encourage one another in their faith as they grow into adults.
- Children and program volunteers: Encourage collaboration between children and the volunteers overseeing your Sunday school classes. These volunteers can many times act as mentors to the children in your program, giving them extra care and advice as needed.
- Family members: Prompt families to connect with their children at home. Opening conversations between kids and their parents or siblings can not only encourage kids to apply Sunday school lessons to their everyday lives but can also foster deeper faith formation at home. That way, parents are equipped to help their kids grow in faith beyond your Sunday school class.
You can also supplement your lessons with team-building activities to further encourage relationship-building. For example, you might host a Bible trivia night to have fun and shore up kids’ knowledge of what they’ve learned each Sunday. This encourages kids to team up with their friends and work together to strengthen their knowledge of the Bible while having fun in the community.
To take your trivia night to the next level, consider expanding by planning a church-wide event. Allow families to team up so that parents and kids can work together to get the right answers (and maybe win a prize!).
Clearly, a Scripture connection in your children’s ministry is important to ensure you’re teaching truthful and valuable lessons. But beyond learning about God’s character and becoming familiar with Bible stories, kids should learn something about themselves, too.
The curriculum you choose should impact kids not just on Sundays, but all throughout the week by prompting them to take what they’ve learned in Sunday school and apply it to their own lives. Some questions you might prompt kids to ask include:
- What does the Bible say about God’s character?
- How does what I’ve learned about God’s story apply to me?
- What does my identity as “a child of God” really mean?
Not only will kids see God working in their lives, but they’ll also learn to view Him as central to their identity. The right curriculum inspires kids to discover their identity in light of what they’ve learned about God.
As you embark on your journey to find the best Sunday school curriculum, use this checklist to guide your search! Your standards for a curriculum choice will depend on your church’s unique values and mission, so be sure to find lessons that align with those beliefs.
For an especially engaging Sunday school or midweek experience, incorporate similar lessons from your children’s curriculum into adult Sunday school classes. That way, kids and their parents can discuss the topic at home.
Courtney Weaver has a deep passion to share the beautiful grace of Jesus with others. She currently serves in her local church as the worship leader and believes engaging kids in relationship with God is meant for every day. With a degree in public relations and a minor in biblical studies, she serves at David C Cook as the Content Marketing Manager for curriculum resources like Wonder Ink and Ministry Spark. She’s a wife and mama of two little ones. Courtney is a dreamer, designer, and writer who still loves sprinkles on her ice cream.