I need how many volunteers???
The first time I was totally responsible for Children’s Ministry was in a small church in Northern Ontario that my husband and I pastored for six plus years. I was armed with a couple of binders of used curriculum generously loaned to me from the large church we were sent out from. The curriculum was meant for a team of at least 6 volunteers and there was just me.
Procrastinate? Who, me?
I was SUCH a procrastinator in those days!! Saturday would come around and I would open the binder only to find I needed supplies that I couldn’t get because of the limited amount of stores in our area…no dollar stores in those days, either. As well, there would be a puppet skit of several characters! This was before you could do helpful Google searches to find things to supplement the lessons. (Yes, I’m THAT old.)
I learned not to procrastinate…well, it’s a work in progress… I learned to improvise. I’m still learning! And I’m very thankful for the internet and dollar stores!
At times, I have written my own curriculum, but I do prefer to use pre-made curriculum. It is easier for volunteers and I find it much less stressful.
The hunt for curriculum that works for small kid’s church:
When I search for curriculum, there are a few things I consider:
- Will it cause the children to grow in their walk with God? Or is it just filling time?
- Can it be implemented by one or (hopefully) two people?
- Does it include puppet skits that require more than 2 hands?
- Are there drama skits requiring several people memorizing pages of lines?
- Is there an extensive and expensive list of supplies needed?
- Is it affordable? (We do have a budget line for Children’s Ministry, but many times, the expenses are filed under my “groceries” and do not make it to the church financial statements. Those of you in a small church can totally relate! Especially if you are the pastor’s wife and are “in the know” of church finances.)
Pastor Hubster: You need to submit those receipts!
Me: Um…I counted the offering on Sunday night…
Pastor Hubster: It doesn’t matter! We need to track them!
Me: (chucks receipts in the garbage when Pastor leaves the room)
So many great curriculums available!
Some I’ve used:
- Kid’s in Ministry International These ones have the option of purchasing “visual kits” which contain many of the items needed for the lessons. I was always glad we purchased them! The drama and puppet skits often needed to be adjusted because they required too many volunteers. I sometimes re-wrote them in a story form and just read them to the kids. Or I re-wrote them so the kids could act them out as I narrated. Some kids love to act! KIMI is not a “fluffy” curriculum but full of meat. Children will learn to hear God’s voice and be led by His Spirit.
- Rocksolid Bible Story Curriculum These are formatted for teams of 2 or 4 people. Kids love the Bible stories included! They are in power point, but if we didn’t have a computer available, we just printed them and showed them to the kids as we read the stories. This is a very easy curriculum to use for 2 people. It is downloadable and very reasonable in price. It’s one of my favourites!
- Super Church I used their old curriculum before the age of technology, but I’m adding the link.
- KICKRickulum I taught this one by myself and it was okay. I think I could’ve enjoyed it more if I had a helper who was responsible to teach part of the lesson. The puppet skits were the puppet interacting with the teacher, so they were easy to do with a youth helper. If I remember right, it seemed like a lot of teaching points to make for every section. I dislike looking at a paper while I teach. To be fair, I started using this at a time when we came on staff at a church where it felt like I was starting at square one raising up a kid’s ministry team and getting to know everyone…bit of a challenge for an introvert. I think the stress affected my ability to memorize and organize.
- Children’s Ministry Deals I’m so glad I found this company! Their stuff is downloadable and very reasonable in price. They offer lots of 50% off deals and free lessons and resources. Sometimes the craft ideas are a bit lame, but there are plenty of ideas on Pinterest. (Thank you, Jesus, for Pinterest! Amen!) The writers of these curriculums use movie themes and things like figitspinners and slime, that are popular with kids. For instance, we did a “How to Train your Attitude” series modeled after “How to Train your Dragon.” The kids loved that one! If your church is a Holy Ghost, charismatic, gifts of the Spirit kind of church, you will need to be creative to include those things.
- Kidmo This is a media-driven curriculum that is done with excellence. I really enjoyed this as a “downtime” for myself and my volunteers. There’s not a lot of prep needed. The kids had mixed reactions to this curriculum: “Yay! We’re doing Kidmo!!” or “Are we doing Kidmo? Sigh.” I found it a bit pricey for our kid’s ministry budget. They sometimes offer deals, though.
Holy Spirit, our Helper!
I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit who is my Helper. When I’ve had challenges with a curriculum – either too many volunteers needed or I’ve not been able to get some of the supplies needed, etc, he’s helped me with creative ideas. I’ve even been in a church service listening to a message and suddenly he’s dropped an idea in my head for an object lesson that is totally unrelated to the message I’m listening to, but something that I would find useful later on in kid’s church.
How about you? What curriculum have you found worked well for your small kid’s church? Do you write your own?
Whatever curriculum you choose, it can be the best curriculum if you put in the time to pray and prepare.
Listen to God’s Spirit as you are teaching. He will be moving on the hearts of the children in the room regardless of what it looks like. The kids in the room might be standing on their heads in their chairs, but the Spirit of God is speaking to them! “We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be…” 2Corinthians 5:16 CEV