My four kids are all grown up and gone, but we spent a lot of time at the schoolhouse before they left! As of December, they’ll have a combined 5 bachelors degrees and 3 masters degrees. (One son decided to be a professional student and got 2 bachelors and 2 masters degrees himself until he got in with a start up company in Boston.) My wife is a teacher and works in elementary school. Edumacashun has been a big part of our lives.
And so has church. I go to church pretty often. I have a rule. I attend whatever church is willing to write me a regular paycheck – been doing that for about 35 years. I even preach at that church three times each Sunday, and once on Wednesday for good measure. That’s just how I do.
We Millers know school and we know church. Those two things have pretty much been our lives! So, I’ve been mulling something over about Sunday School Curriculum for a long time and I’d like to throw out there for your discussion. Compared to racism and the Confederate flag and same-sex marriage and all of that, this is lightweight stuff, of course. But maybe it isn’t. Let me get to my point.
Why don’t we do Sunday School Curriculum the way that schools do their curriculum – an approach where each year’s curriculum builds on the previous year’s?
In kindergarten, you learn letters and numbers. In first grade, you learn to read. In second, you learn – well, ask my wife. She knows what you learn in each grade. But it’s fairly standard and it doesn’t change from year to year (not counting the common core nonsense). The first grade teacher teaches this and that, the second grade teacher reviews it and then adds that and the other, then the third grade teacher builds on that.
Why not a Children’s and (most particularly) Youth curriculum that is designed to teach a certain core set of biblical truths, doctrines, as the years go by? A child who grows up in your church would graduate having been taught certain basic truths, skills, and doctrines. I’ve not worked through the elementary aspect of this much, but I have thought through the youth curriculum a little. I’m not a curriculum developer and so I haven’t written it. I’m just putting the idea out here for you to chew on and respond to.
Middle School Curriculum
In 6th-8th grade, there would be a three year curriculum, which could be used on a rotating basis for smaller churches where middle school meets together or as a 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade curriculum in bigger churches.
Year 1 might be a Gospel-based curriculum that helps the young people understand the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. We used a curriculum last year in our children’s ministry that spent the entire year doing just that. It was fantastic. Make sure that our young people understand exactly what salvation by grace through faith, redemption, justification, adoption, and all those big concepts mean.
Year 2 might be more practical. Give them the skills they need to live as Christians. Teach them to read and study the Bible for themselves, how to have a quiet time and to develop a prayer life and how to share their faith. Basic Christian life-skills.
Year 3 could be a survey of key Baptist doctrines and distinctives. Why are we Baptist? There is a Basic Baptist Doctrine curriculum already developed, is there not?
High School Curriculum.
Again, you’d have four years of curriculum and you could either have one class go through on a rotating basis over 4 years (if you are a church that is smaller and just has 1 high school class) or you could have 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade classes sequentially.
Year 1 could involve some “Living in a Challenging World” practical studies. World-view topics, dating, relationships, dealing with temptation. Preparation for the challenges of high school.
Year 2 could be a Survey of the Old Testament, acquainting the students with its 39 books.
Year 3 could be a Survey of the New Testament, an overview of the 27 that comprise it.
Year 4 could be a study of the life of Christ from the Gospels, or an in-depth study of Acts and the expansion of the church (or a little of both?) or Romans, or whatever.
I’ve not really thought through children’s curriculum, but a healthy dose of Gospel Project-type study, with practical things like learning the books of the Bible and such (which I’m sure they already do) could be included.
I’m aware that LifeWay and other curriculum developers already have some goals and markers for each age, but why not a step-by-step program like this? With the high school program I’ve laid out here, when a young person graduates from high school having gone through our church, they will have a basic grounding in the Word that is way better than a lot of students have today. You’d invest once in curriculum and then reuse the same curriculum year after year.
1) Is this a flawed idea? I’m not an expert here.
2) Does it already exist? Maybe someone has already developed this or something like it.
3) Does anyone want to write it? You do the work, I’ll buy it! None of that Amillennial junk though.