To Write or Not to Write – part 4

an articleI wrote up a little article about curriculum usage for a magazine that has not been used so far (their theme was pushed back until early next year). So I thought I would share it with you, and maybe use any feedback you might have to offer to help make improvements before re-submitting it in January.

Make sure you read part one, part two and part three before reading this post.

With these pros and cons, what is a youth leader to do? There is no easy answer. This is one area of youth ministry that is wide open to interpretation, and will change from ministry to ministry. But when it comes to choosing whether to write or purchase, keep these ideas in mind:

Time – If you are writing your own curriculum, are you losing time with students as a result? Don’t write during any times that you could be spending with students. Your best teaching will come during the relational times that you spend with your teens, not during a group lesson. I do not view that Evangelism series as a waste of time, as it was a study that was needed for our group, and I did use time which I would have been unable to spend with students. But I can’t help but wonder if there were other things that might have needed to be a priority during that time…

Theology – Make sure that any curriculum you might purchase lines up with your ministry theologically. Many suppliers of curriculum will allow you to either see the curriculum first hand, or download a sample. Drive it around a few times. Kick the tires a little. Look out for any glaring discrepancies. Invite your ministry team to look through it with you. Many perspectives should help you to make a better, more informed decision for your group.

Money – If you decide to purchase a curriculum, do so with an eye toward your budget. Make sure that you are not spending money that might be better spent elsewhere in your ministry.

Content – Remember, just because someone else wrote it, does not mean that you have to be married to every single word. Feel free to make tweaks, corrections or alterations to the original source material, whether they are due to doctrinal differences or to your group’s unique needs.

So there you have it. The definitive word on whether you should write your own curriculum or buy it. There is no solid answer. Take what advice you can from this article and run with it. Just don’t spend so much time wrestling with this debate that you forget to make a choice… and have to lead your group without anything prepared. It might get a little bit sticky. And just because most of us can wing it like pros, does not mean that is what God desires for our ministries. Make a smart choice. Make an informed choice. Just don’t forget to make the choice.

To write or not to write. My, what a big question.

Continued tomorrow…