How to Choose Curriculum for a Group

February 1st, 2017

Choosing curriculum can feel like an overwhelming task. So many options are available! How do we choose the right one? Carefully—because teaching and learning with a group of children, youth, or adults can make a huge difference to faith formation and identity in your congregation. Prepared curriculum is sometimes selected to save time for teachers, but it also lays the foundation for life-long spiritual formation.

The first step in choosing curriculum is to select of a team to prayerfully consider your church’s ministry and vision. Your church’s main purpose and vision for ministry can establish a discipleship pathway for all you do and will guide programmatic decisions and curriculum choices. Deciding what you’d like children, youth, and adults to know about their discipleship journey will help you determine what to teach them.

Ask your team:

  • What is your church’s mission statement?
  • How do you live this out in congregational life and in your community?
  • What are some ways you can be more intentional in accomplishing your mission?
  • What do you want your kids to know and do when they graduate from children’s ministry?
  • What do you want your youth to know and do when they graduate from high school?
  • What do you want your adults to know and do?

Next, consider the demographics in your church. How many kids are in each grade? How many classroom spaces are available? How will you arrange the age levels into classes? How does the space affect the learning experience?

After contemplating space and class formations, it’s time to research. Ask your trusted friends what curriculum they use and why. Search online for curriculum. Call Cokesbury’s Resource Consultants (800-251-7591) to have someone walk you through the choices. Download samples of several curriculum options. (United Methodist church leaders can look for the CRC logo—the cross and flame—for United Methodist-approved curriculum options. This guarantees that the curriculum is aligned with United Methodist doctrine.)

After you have narrowed your choices down to three per ministry areas, answer the following questions with your team:

  • Does the scope and sequence (the list of what will be taught) include stories that align with what you want your congregation to know and do in ministry?
  • Are the materials age appropriate? Go to for a chart to use while you evaluate.
  • Will the lessons engage learners with the Bible story through various learning styles?
  • Does the series have family faith components?
  • Is the resource easy to use and straightforward?
  • Does the resource connect the Bible story to life today in meaningful ways?
  • Do the lessons reflect the theological perspective of your congregation?
  • Is the curriculum spiritually focused or story focused? Does it leave room for both?
  • Do the lessons reflect the tradition of your congregation?

Curriculum is a helpful tool. It leaves more time for building personal relationships with the group participants. It takes guesswork out of choosing which key stories in the whole Bible to cover.

Taking time to evaluate curriculum choices is meaningful for leaders because it puts intentions on the table, establishes a setting for listening and prioritizing, and fosters a consistent learning purpose to support the active ministries of your congregation.

Brittany Sky is the senior editor of children’s resources at The United Methodist Publishing House. She served as a minister with children and families in local churches in Oklahoma before coming to Nashville to work as a development editor on children’s Sunday school curricula. Brittany is the author of the Deep Blue Bible Storybook and the editor of the Deep Blue Toddler Bible Storybook.

comments powered by Disqus