For the first time in years, and I mean years, I've decided to purchase prepackaged curriculum. Why? And What? Well, I went with something I know and trust.
Throughout my 24+ years of student ministry, about 85% to 90% of what I have taught to students I have written. Bible Studies, Series, stand alone lessons, retreats...I've even written a full vacation bible school curriculum. I have researched and studied, prepared and planned. And I have invested a great many hours in writing and creating.
I've done this because I love it. I love working the creative juices and developing materials that lead students closer to God. But as I settle into my current ministry, I am quickly realizing that there are more things I want to do with and for my students. I'm juggling two programs; a Junior High Ministry, a High School Ministry, and I am teaching Sunday school. I have to recruit and build a leadership team. I need leaders and volunteers to work with students and help is other areas of the ministry. And I am quickly picking up other responsibilities around the office and church. On top of this, I want to focus more time on being students. So the idea of writing curriculum is a bit overwhelming to say the list.
Starting this January (2016), I will be using the Junior High LIVE Curriculum, by Simply Youth Ministry & Group Publishing. The LIVE Curriculum came out a number of years ago as an ongoing program for small groups that allowed youth workers and youth pastors to plan, schedule and share the teaching materials with their small group leaders. Being web-based made it easy for small group leaders to download the teaching materials and use them without the hassle of printing numerous copies and getting them to your leaders.
The Junior High materials offer the user 2 years of teaching materials that build upon each other. You can simply go with their structure or rearrange to create a program unique to your group. I have already gone through the lessons and order them to suit our needs. I ordered and grouped a number of series together, left a few spaces open for holidays and events, and even scheduled a few fun nights along the way. By the time I was finished, I had planned our teaching calendar through 2018. With all of that done, I can now focus more time on caring for students and leaders, dream and cast vision, and build a stable, sustainable ministry for long-term ministry.
We've just started using the LIVE materials, and I am really excited. With the pressure of creating multiple lesson plan lifted, I am already finding myself with a little more time in my day. So far, I've really liked what we've used. And as I look at what's coming up, I am confident that our students with get great Bible teaching in fun and creative ways!
I don't think I'll ever stop writing and created my own materials, but having the LIVE Curriculum around is a real help. So thanks to my friends over at Simply Youth Ministry, for creating a resource that I can trust and my leaders can use.
Check out the LIVE video below and see just how easy it is to simplify your planning. Click on the LIVE logo and learn how you can try the curriculum for 30 days, free!
Jay Higham is a 24 year veteran of student ministry; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Youth Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 19 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 little girl. Jay is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and caring for the hearts of husbands. You can learn more about their ministry to the family and husband by visiting their family blog at, www.TheHighamFamily.com!