Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"No Cookie-Cutter Children's Ministries"

Hello! Today we are going to take a quick look at the subject of curriculum . . . next week we will spend the week looking at the different types of curriculum and how to choose one that will be the best "fit" for your ministry.  You can depend on "About the Children's Department" to help you find and review curriculum and resources for your children's ministry.  

 If you are reading this post you are likely a children’s ministry worker - possibly part of a paid staff at your church, but more likely a volunteer with a heart for effective children’s ministry!  You read books, blogs, attend conferences and try to get all the “ingredients” right and yet, your children’s ministry does not look like the children’s ministries you read and hear about.  You see churches around the world where their children’s ministries are alive and growing and you look at your church and wonder how to get there.  You try to implement the things you have learned and while some of it may work, you are often left wondering why your ministry doesn’t look like what you’ve read and heard about.

There is a very good reason for that - there are no cookie-cutter children’s ministries.  What works in one church, may or may not work in another.  And, while there are components that are essential for every children’s ministry to be effective, there is no “secret recipe” where if you make sure you include each ingredient, you will be guaranteed an effective children’s ministry.

I enjoy cooking and discovering new recipes is so much fun for me!  I know if I find a recipe, I may like it exactly as it is, but I will probably need to change this, add that or take away something else.  For example, when I was a child my grandma made the most amazing sour cream cookies.  They were easily six to eight inches across.  She always put one raisin in the middle of each cookie - which I quickly removed before eating.  I make the same cookie, but put a dried blueberry in the middle of each of my cookies and absolutely love them!  Children’s ministry is like cooking.  Take a recipe, but be willing to replace ingredients that don’t work with ones that will make your ministry more effective for your church.

There are several "main ingredients" for effective children's ministry - such as developing your children’s ministry purpose/vision and understanding your church's history, community and culture which we will look at next week. Once you know these "ingredients", then you are ready to select a curriculum that will provide the most effective tools to help your church genuinely engage and teach children. Keep in mind, you are not teaching a particular curriculum. You are teaching the Bible. Curriculum is simply a tool to help you engage children and teach them as effectively as possible so they will remember God’s Word, so they will be able to understand God’s Word, so they will be able to live God’s Word so their every day lives will be changed! If we do not remember God’s Word, we will never understand God’s Word. If we do not understand God’s Word we will never live God’s Word. If we do not live God’s Word our every day lives will never be changed. When you look at curriculum options, remember, you want to select the most effective tools possible to help you equip the children in your ministry so they will remember, understand and live God’s Word for truly changed lives! 

Next week we will also look at the five "types" of curriculum - traditional, large group/small group, non-traditional, bridge and rotation and examples of each and then in January we will spend the entire month looking at 2011 VBS . . . I just received two more kits today for the review! You can be sure, "About the Children's Department" will regularly look at curriculum and provide reviews to help you find the best tools possible to help you teach God's Word for changed lives!

Let me know what your biggest curriculum questions and challenges are and I'll find you some answers and resources to help you in your ministry! Thank you for joining me on this blog - please "like" me on Facebook and help spread the word about "About the Children's Department"! Tomorrow we will take a quick look at supporting and encouraging our volunteers with much more on that topic to come in future months! See you tomorrow! :^)

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