Inferior Reasons for Choosing Curriculum
By Alex Bauman
Driving on an unfamiliar road to an unfamiliar destination can be challenging, and having a GPS should make the experience easy and successful. The first time I used my phone’s GPS, it proved unreliable in giving me easy-to-follow directions and getting me to my destination in a timely manner. I needed a GPS that was clearer and more accurate.
In a church, the purpose for a ministry becomes that ministry’s guide, or GPS. Every ministry should have a clearly defined purpose. But if a church is not careful, the purpose for its Sunday School can become a bad GPS by providing the wrong direction and failing to get the church to its destination: Christlikeness. A bad GPS will, therefore, prohibit the church’s Sunday School ministry from reaching its full potential.
A bad GPS may also keep a church from selecting good Sunday School curriculum and using it to its fullest. Churches have differing reasons for choosing a course of study. Let’s consider five inferior reasons for choosing a curriculum.
- Handoff. Sunday School superintendents understand the pressure to have materials to give their teachers. Some see fulfilling this need as the primary purpose for curriculum. As long as the superintendent orders the curriculum, he or she is home free. What is in the curriculum matters little as long as the material arrives on time.
- Peacekeeper. No pastor or superintendent likes hearing teachers complain, so some will choose curriculum that will keep their teachers from griping. Keeping the peace with their Sunday School teachers becomes their purpose for curriculum.
- Happy campers. Having happy students is important to most Sunday School teachers. Some of them demand that their church choose curriculum that meets this goal above all others. After all, happy students are easier for them to teach.
- The bottom line. Conscientious churches try to spend as few dollars as they can on curriculum. How much the material costs becomes their main concern when choosing a curriculum.
- Straight down the line. Churches are wise to consider the doctrinal basis of the curriculum they choose. For some churches, as long as the curriculum measures up to their standard, they are fine with it in spite of any deficiencies.
All of these reasons for curriculum have some merit, especially the one about meeting a church’s doctrinal standard. But all of these reasons fail to recognize the opportunities curriculum provides to a church. So ask yourself if your church has defaulted to one of these inferior reasons for choosing Sunday School curriculum or if your church is making the most of its opportunities with great curriculum.