Look, I know how it is. You had a plan. You had it all mapped out. But, then there was the mission trip, the other mission trip, the camp, and the vacation. And now, here we are, the day before September, and well, you don’t exactly have a curriculum plan for the fall. Been there.
I know that many student ministry leaders are scrambling to make teaching plans for the fall, so I thought I’d share ours. Feel free to steal or borrow anything you like. In fact, I’d be happy to send you full teaching scripts and bumper videos. Also, before you go to the trouble of writing your own curriculum or adapting some of ours, you should consider XP3. In my opinion, it is the best curriculum out there for middle school and high school students. If that doesn’t suit you, there is also a ginormous selection of great teaching series at DYM, including some of my own stuff…shameless plug.
Anyway, here’s our teaching plan for the school year:
We’re kicking off the year with a series called Scandal Here’s a little blurb to describe what it’s all about:
Who was Jesus? Most people believe that Jesus was a really nice guy who did a bunch of nice things and started Christianity. He’s usually depicted in a clean white robe with a fancy blue sash, and his hair and beard look like something out of a shampoo commercial. The truth is that Jesus was incredibly controversial. To the people he lived around, nearly everything about him screamed “scandal!” What if our perceptions of Jesus are too polished and tidy? Who was this scandalous and controversial man? And how do His actions and words relate to our lives, 2000 years later?
Our goal with this series is to put the spotlight on Jesus. My hope is that many of the students who come to our ministry in September would become intrigued by Jesus and stick around.
Our October series is called Recalculating. I’ll be honest with you, it’s a collection of stolen teachings from Andy Stanley on wisdom and decisions. When I come up with better wisdom sermons than Andy, I’ll let you know. For now, here’s a description of what Recalculating is all about:
Have you ever been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That’s a hard question! A better question might be, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” As in, what kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be generous? Selfish? Thankful? Bitter? Honest? Deceitful? How do you make sure you become the kind of person you want to be? That is what this series is all about.
Our November series is called Habits. This series is all about patterns in our lives and how certain behaviors, over time, lead to life and others lead to death. This series isn’t fully completed yet, but I think it will be great. The first teaching is based on Ephesians 4:21-32 and the bottom line is: Break one and make on. In other words, you are one habit away from becoming more like the person God created you to be or one habit away from becoming less like the person God created you to be.
In December, we don’t have a teaching series planned. Instead, we focus on serving, put on a baptism service, and a stand alone teaching on Christmas. Like most of you, we take a few weeks off around the holidays.
In January, we’ll begin a series that has been reoccurring for us. Two years ago we called it Doubt. Last year, we called it You Asked for It because the series was built around difficult questions our students had been asking. This year, we’re calling it idk. Like last year, we’ll build the teachings around questions our students write and place in our “doubt box.” We’ll collect the question in September and spend the next few months creating a compelling series. For the record, we were originally planning to call this series, Can I Ask That? but then, like usual, Andy Stanley came out with a book by that title and stole our idea. He’s always doing that…
In February, we’ll capitalize on the romance in the air around Valentines Day and do a series called Awkward. For years, we just simply called this series The Sex Series, but eventually we figured out that sexuality encompasses a lot more than simply sex. Also, calling a series The Sex Series is pretty weird. Apologies to all our alumni students.
By calling the series Awkward, we acknowledge upfront that the conversations within this series are a little uncomfortable, humorous, and awkward. But, they are also incredibly important. Awkward is a series we repeat year after year. The best part of our Awkward series is when we put a panel of volunteer leaders on the stage, have them tell their stories, and then let our students ask them questions. It’s always an amazing night.
Our March series is called Forever. This series is a response to what I sense is a growing misunderstanding among our students about eternity. In particular, I’m excited for a teaching on the new earth. I’m planning to steal a page out of Dallas Willard by calling it, “Life after life after death.”
I think the idea of heaven is boring to most of our students because they don’t really understand it. This series will be different from anything we’ve done in recent years. We’ll see what happens.
In April and May, we’ll conclude the ministry season with a series called Fortune Cookie. This series is all about things we believe that aren’t actually in the Bible. The reoccurring statement in this series will be, “God never said…” We haven’t completed this series yet, but here are a few of the beliefs we plan to address:
- God helps those who help themselves.
- God just wants you to be happy.
- God will never give you more than you can handle.
- All religions lead to God.
Well, that’s our plan for the year. My hope is that some of our ideas generate something awesome for you. Also, we’d love to be a resource for your ministry. If you are interested in our teaching scripts, bumper videos, or anything else, just let me know.