9 Keys to Choosing Curriculum

As a young youth worker, once I figured out that I shouldn’t be writing my own curriculum, I’d spend hours pouring over existing curriculum, trying to figure out what to teach the teens entrusted to my care.

I had no idea what I was looking for in a curriculum. There was so much I wanted to teach teens that I couldn’t figure out where to begin. As I sifted through curriculum, the question I constantly asked myself was, “What should I teach?”

As soon as I found something that looked interesting, that I thought might engage teens, I latched onto it and began planning that week’s gathering. As a result, I was always planning week-to-week. Because I was planning week-to-week, I’d get to the end of a semester and think, “Where did the time go?” I’d feel regret over everything I’d meant to explore but somehow never got around too. By focusing on, “What should I teach?”, the urgent always seemed to drown out the important.

In reality, the question, “What should I teach?” was simply too broad to be helpful in my search for curriculum. Instead of asking it, I wish I would have been asking these nine guiding questions to help me choose my curriculum:

1. Who’s it for? Curriculums are written for specific people. Tweens. Middle schoolers. High schoolers. Some are even written for specific denominations. Before you choose your curriculum, you need to know your audience. Narrowing your audience as much as possible enables you to narrow your curriculum choices. The narrower your audience is, the less tweaking you’ll have to do to make a curriculum work in your context.

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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