Choosing Curriculum

Choosing Curriculum

1. Know Your Group

  • Why does your group exist? To care and support each other? To intentionally become more mature disciples? Maybe to fellowship and pray? The material needs to support your overall purpose.
  • What is the level of spiritual maturity in your group? A mix of new believers, even seekers and mature believers? Or are you pretty similar? If you have a wide mix, it may be better to err on the side of the younger believers.
  • What is the level of relational community in your group? Are your discussions mostly of a surface level, or are they honest and authentic that reflect the willingness of your group to be real with each other. If you find this area lacking look for relational and open-ended discussion questions, icebreakers and worship suggestions in your resource. You can obtain specific resources to supplement your choice.

2. What are your goals?

  • Will your next study help the group grow and apply God's truth in your life and theirs? Maybe you have not considered longer-term goals. As a leader and a group - it's rarely wrong to be intentional planning for growth. One way to do this is to make this a focus at your first meeting and come to a common agreement for the year ahead. (see "Setting Goals" in this issue)
  • When looking at a possible resource - is the depth appropriate for you and your group? Too easy or "fluffy" and the group can become bored and apathetic, too challenging and intellectual and the group may become overwhelmed and fail to apply the biblical truth. You need to meet the felt needs of the group and also our need to be challenged by God's Word and His Spirit.

3. Level of Commitment

Recognize your limitations, both as leader and your group. When you consider a curriculum, how much preparation time will be involved for you as a leader and for each group member? While it is easy to say, "we are all busy" — and then choose something with no homework materials, the time spent in preparation and reflection on the topic beforehand may result in deeper discussions and life-changing applications.

4. Some other suggestions

  • Don't let the study dictate or shape your group meeting. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your meetings. "The 11th Commandment is not - complete every question in your study guide." Too many questions or components to the study can spell frustration for the group. As you prepare to lead your study, prayerfully choose the best 6-8 questions you want to use to lead your discussion. This way you won't miss the application questions or a component that your group needs to experience because you didn't spend too much time on a less crucial topic/question.
  • Be careful about choosing curriculum that requires more than four to six months to complete. A good resource can contribute to your group's level of unity and overall enthusiasm, but even good ones can dampen their enthsiasm if studied too long.
  • Are questions framed to motivate sharing from your quieter members?
  • Group Ice Breakers are an important relational builder for every group, whether new or established groups. Everyone gets to share their story and the group gets a better understanding of each other. They are powerful and fun - which encourages laughter and sets the stage to everyone to be comfortable to share and participate. If your curriculum does not have this component, pick up one of the many helpful resources to help you include this in your group experience.

To the leader—if you are feeling some pressure to make the "right choice" please remember, you as a leader will be a greater factor in the health and success of your group than any curriculum you use. Years down the road, long after your group may have disbanded, they will remember the relationships, experiencing God together and the shared memories, not whether the curriculum was a winner or a dud!