Children's Ministry Curriculum Top Picks

'Round About the Church!
Kids Stuff

    Over the years I have reviewed a number of curriculum resources - you can find these reviews in the Children's Ministry Resources File.  I wanted to begin this year by identifying the curriculum resources I believe to be written with the goal of providing the most effective tools to help children understand and live God's Word.  We need to approach teaching our children with more intentionality than we have in the past.  It isn't enough for children to learn the Bible accounts just for the sake of knowing the facts.  God put each account in the Bible for a reason - more than providing a source of facts for children to memorize.  God has specific things He wants us to know and understand about Him and His love for us and how He wants us to live.   The Bible accounts are the method/tools God uses to help us better understand Him.  We need to teach our children intentionally and some curriculum are better designed than others to help us accomplish this.  So, my top picks in children's curriculum are as follows.

    For years people have asked me to write a curriculum for both preschool and elementary age children utilizing the large group/small group teaching model, but with a focus on meeting the needs of the small to average size church.  I am pleased to make available a new curriculum, kidz CONNECTION - it's all about the GROWTH!  I can not "review" this curriculum for you since I'm writing it - it would be a tad bit difficult to maintain my non-biased review policy, but I would like to encourage you to take a look at the six year scope and sequence, director's tips, sample preschool and sample elementary lessons as well as the sample small group flyers.  If you have any questions, feel free to let me know!  All churches that order kidz CONNECTION - it's all about the GROWTH! for the 2005 Fall quarter will receive a 20% discount on their order.

Preschool Curriculum
Hands-on Bible Curriculum
Publisher - Group Publishing
Ages - 2 through 5
    Hands-on Bible Curriculum is creative, imaginative and does a quality job of helping young children learn how God wants them to live by teaching a point each week children can remember, illustrated in the Bible accounts presented.  Young children will learn the Bible lessons, but more importantly, these young ones will begin their time at Sunday School and Church by learning that these lessons have a point/truth and they can live that truth in their lives!  Tremendously well done Group Publishing!

Elementary Curriculum
Publisher - Willow Creek/ZonderKidz
Ages - Kindergarten through 5th grade
    My church just made the switch to Promiseland curriculum this past Fall and the change has been incredible!  Children look forward to being in their class, I have even heard children say they didn't want to leave when their parents came to pick them up early!  Our small group shepherds are truly connecting with their kids in ways Sunday School teachers never have.  The large group time is fun, exciting and truly presents God's Word so it genuinely engages the kids and helps them see the Bible is more than just stories in a book.  I can not recommend highly enough that churches make the switch to Promiseland curriculum - if you begin the first year with the three 10 week curriculum resources, it makes it really easy to make the switch to the large group/small group format.  Tremendously well done Willow Creek/ZonderKidz!

Empowering Kids
Publisher - Saddleback/Empowering Kids
Ages - 1st grade through 6th grade
    These resources are new and available directly from or 1.866.EMPOWER and provide another option for the large group/small group model.  If you have creative people in your church who could take the large group drama portions and present them "live", that would be an option to allow you to personalize the curriculum, otherwise, the DVD resource allows churches that may not have the people to present the dramas, the option of utilizing a quality large group/small group resource.  Tremendously well done, Saddleback/Empowering Kids!

    I strongly encourage churches to make the decision to be intentional about how you teach/present God's Word so our children are able to see the Bible is more than just a book of stories.  If however, your church is not able to make this change at this time, I do recommend a curriculum that doesn't utilize the large group/small group model.  This curriculum would allow your church to begin making changes in how they help children understand God's Word and maybe down the road you would be able to make the switch to a large group/small group model.

Gospel Light
Publisher - Gospel Light Publishing
Ages - nursery through 6th grade
    Gospel Light has consistently provided a truly quality curriculum for all ages, that will engage children and help them better understand God's Word.  I like how it is a "bridge" curriculum - it bridges the gap between traditional curriculum where we have often tended to bore our children and non-traditional curriculum where we often leaves our kids having fun, but with no idea what it all means.  I realize not all churches can or want to make the switch to a large group/small group curriculum.  If that is the case with you, Gospel Light absolutely provides a curriculum choice that is genuinely effective.  Tremendously well done Gospel Light!

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Last Updated January 5, 2004
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kidz Connection

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