Choosing the right curriculum — the one that matches your unique discipleship strategy — can be very difficult. There are numerous options available and choosing the wrong one can be painful. A wise discipleship plan is focused on Christ, rooted in Scripture, and leads to application. Because of this, your curriculum choice should do the same thing. Your curriculum choice should enhance your ministry, not take away from it. It should be something that fits into your unique discipleship strategy.
Sadly, many student pastors don’t take the time to think through their curriculum choices. Curriculum is sometimes chosen randomly, haphazardly organized, or left up to the small group leader’s decision. When you think about the reality that you only have 48 hours per year of small group discipleship with your students, your curriculum choice is critical.
So, if your curriculum choice is so important, how can you make sure you choose the right one? A good way to approach this is by thinking through what we can call your “starting point” for discipleship. In other words, how do you want your students to approach Bible study in your student ministry? Here are three broad starting points that will help you decide:
If this is your starting point, you want students to see how the Bible connects with their lives today. You want to start with real life issues and from there drive students to Scripture to see how Jesus empowers them to live.
Some of you want students to study the Bible from a more theological or systematic point of view as a starting point. You want students to grasp the meta narrative of scripture and see the gospel’s presence throughout scripture.
You may want students to study book-by-book through the Bible as your discipleship starting point. As topics come up in those books you will tackle them, but only if the passage speaks to that issue.
As I have shared these starting points at conferences and other meetings, I’ve found that most people immediately resonate with one of them. As you read over them, you will find that God has uniquely shaped your passions to align with one of these starting points.
When you are able to answer our original question, “How do you want your students to approach Bible study in your ministry?” with one of these starting points, you are well on your way to being able to find a curriculum that will match with your unique passion and strategy for ministry.
Find curriculum and Bible studies for students that match up with each of these starting points.
Ben Trueblood serves as the Director of Student Ministry for Lifeway Christian Resources and has served the local church as a student pastor for fourteen years.