Choosing a good curriculum will help a Sunday School ministry reach its full potential. A first step in that choice is to understand what curriculum is. “Curriculum” comes from the Latin word currere, meaning “to run.” The word “curriculum” builds on this idea of running. “Curriculum” suggests a course to follow and a prize to win. It paints the picture of a runner in a race for gold rather than a jogger meandering through his or her neighborhood.
Paul captured the sense of the word “curriculum” when he wrote, “I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7). Paul saw his life as a racecourse God had laid out for him. His analogy helps us see that God expects all believers to join the race. God has something He wants to accomplish in and through our lives.
Sunday School should assist a church in helping students run the race God has laid out for them. It should help the church make disciples, and the Sunday School curriculum should reflect this overall purpose. The curriculum should be grounded in the whole Bible with a balanced presentation of its teachings. It should systematically teach the Bible in age-appropriate, engaging ways that foster spiritual growth.
The central purpose of Sunday School curriculum falls in line with the purpose of the church. Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:18–20 forms the marching orders for the church. He tells us to make disciples by going to the lost with the gospel, baptizing them once they are saved, and teaching them to observe His commands. The command to make disciples is included in all the commands that we are to teach believers to observe. Sunday School curriculum should help a church make disciple makers.