Kids ministry is more than camp songs, crafts, and free babysitting. If you’re a children’s or student ministry director, you have an amazing opportunity and a big responsibility entrusted to you. In fact, 75% of current Christians came to the faith before age 18. There is also a high amount of burnout reported among ministry leaders who serve in kids and youth ministry. One of the best ways to support student ministry leaders and volunteers is by choosing a curriculum that lessens the weekly burden and still provides quality lessons during a critical time in a child’s life.
The top consideration for choosing a church is the quality of the children’s ministry. If you want your church to grow, you need to consider how well you are discipling the youngest in your local mission field. A robust, healthy student ministry impacts every area of the church in the best way. It also means that the future will be in good hands when these children reach adulthood.
Most churches start shopping for curriculum in early Summer, but you can make the switch any time of year if what you have isn’t working. In this post, we walk you through the top 3 considerations to keep in mind when choosing a curriculum for your kids and student ministry.
3 Considerations for Choosing Youth Ministry Curriculum
1. Who Made the Curriculum?
First thing’s first, there are various curriculums for each denomination. You’ll want to narrow your pool down to what fits your specific denomination or else you will have a lot of reviewing/editing. If the curriculum you are looking at doesn’t state an affiliation, sign up for a free trial or a sample lesson plan before going all-in on it. You can access a well-rounded list of curriculums for different denominations here.
Parent Tip - New members of a church might still be fuzzy on the core beliefs or doctrines of your church. Sending home coloring sheets or activity sheets that highlight what their kids are learning will let them know what is being taught, and maybe even help them on their own journey.
2. All Together or Divide & Conquer?
Once you’ve narrowed in on choices for your denomination, decide if you want to have a unified curriculum or a differentiated one. This means either all ages are learning the same curriculum on their own level at the same time, or they have separate lessons. A big factor to consider is how many kids you have in your ministry and how old they are. You don’t want to buy a curriculum that has separate lessons for three different age groups when you cannot rationalize having three separate rooms for your number of students. Also, if most of the children in your ministry are of similar ages, it could be wiser to purchase the curriculum for the larger group and then supplement for the smaller group on your own.
Parent Tip - Moms and Dads love having their children bring up lessons they’ve learned at church. If a family has multiple children, keeping them all on a unified lesson will spark more conversations and deeper understanding during home discipleship.
3. Price, Participation, and Preference
Lastly, you’ll need to stick to a budget. This might mean picking and choosing what your greatest need is for the moment and then reassessing in the Spring. Also, what is your volunteer base like? If you are low on volunteers (hint - check out our post on how to build a healthy volunteer base) you will want to avoid the curriculums that utilize multiple games, tons of supplies, and a lot of crafts each week. That’s overwhelming even for the all-star kid’s pastor. Keep your volunteers from running for the hills by utilizing a simple, straightforward lesson plan.
One way some churches have adopted a less stressful approach is to use curriculums that come with videos for each lesson plan. This could be the right fit if you are in a season of rebuilding/establishing volunteers, but you have a lot of kids showing up for Sunday School.
Parent Tip - Many parents already feel guilty about how much they rely on screen time for their children. If you use video lessons, be transparent about it with the parents and tell them how long the videos are each Sunday (especially for the little ones). If a parent expresses concern about their child watching TV, you could use it as an opportunity to ask for suggestions and even recruit them to your team!
Kid’s ministry gets a bad rap sometimes for high burnout and stress. But with careful consideration, you can choose a curriculum that takes the pressure off, while still providing a great experience for the children. Keep your team passionate about the mission of your department (maybe even show them some of these stats) by providing them with a great curriculum.
You can check out a list of highly-rated curriculums here.
Elvanto Children's Ministry Guide Overview
Still not sure where to get started? Our Elvanto software can help take a load off by keeping children safe with background checks, check-in software, and more. Find out more about it here.