In part 1 of Writing Your Own Children’s Ministry Curriculum, we looked at the first two steps in the curriculum writing process. Once you have determined what you want to teach and the specific lessons that will be used, you can move on to step three:
Picking Your Theme.
Here’s the part that is all fun. The theme isn’t the content of your lesson, it’s the wrapping paper that makes that content fun and memorable. The only limit is your imagination. A series theme can be taken from a season, a favorite sport or a movie. It can be factual, like a space theme or a beach theme, or it can be completely imaginary, like animated plants or talking animals. It can be themed around a number, or a color, around music or art. You can pick your theme around something that is unique to your children’s ministry or something completely random. Depending on the resources you have available, you can plan your theme around what you all ready have available to use to decorate your environment. Clearance sales are a great place to find themes. Often you can get some great decor and give away items very reasonably and use those to design your theme.
Once you have chosen a theme, you can start to:
Write the Individual Lessons.
You may find that typically your service follows the same general order each week. If so, it’s easy to make a lesson template and just interchange the different elements of each week’s service. The goal of a lesson is simple: to have the kids leave knowing what they were suppose to learn. Every children’s leader knows that parents will inevitably ask their child two questions when they pick them up from your service. “Did you have fun?” and “What did you learn?” So use every segment of your lesson time to introduce, teach and the reinforce the lesson of the day. I try to always have a 3 or 4 word “phrase of the day” that I repeat over and over through the lesson. This way, when the parents ask, the kids have their answer ready. The key is to say that phrase in as many ways as you can during the service time. This is where you can use every talent and gift that those serving in your children’s ministry may have. Write segments for your lesson using all the resources that you have. If you have puppets, write in a script and use that phrase. If you have a drama team, let them do a life application skit and use the phrase. You can use the phrase in your games and in your teaching time. Here’s a very simple sample of a lesson plan I might use. The components are all determined by the resources I have:
**Pre-Session Game : runs 15 minutes prior to service time until 5 minutes after service starts. This should be a fun game that kids want to join. This makes it easy for guests to join in from the start. Relate this game to your theme and lesson if you can.
**Intro/Prayer ; the first time they hear the phrase of the day.
**Memory verse: play a game (theme related) to learn and reinforce the memory verse
**Lesson: Present the main Bible lesson for the day in some form: visually teach it, video teach, drama, etc. Weave in the phrase of the day.
**Life application: use any resource you have to teach this segment, puppet, drama, video (just vary it from what you did with the Bible lesson. Again, use the phrase of the day
**Review game: theme related, but lesson content. (For example, we used a game theme to teach on the Bible as the best instructions for our life. For our review game, a boy and a girl wore hats that looked like giant Sorry pieces and when they answered a question correctly about the Bible lesson, they moved to the next spot on the “board” marked out on the floor with masking tape.) And to help the kids remember what you have taught make sure you review the previous week’s lessons each Sunday. Repetition is key for them to retain these foundational truths that you are teaching. If it’s worth your time and effort to write lessons specifically aimed at the spiritual needs of your kids, you want them to remember it. So review
You can add, subtract, and substitute segments of a service time with what resources you have to use in your church.