10 Reasons Short-Term Curriculum Works for Small Churches 

This post was written by Leann Woelk, a member of the INCM Blog Team.

The Children’s Ministry program year is coming to an end for many of us, but we are already looking ahead to the fall and what we want to be teaching the kids.

This article is for the small church leader who is contemplating the wins and opportunities for this coming year especially when it comes to discipleship through weekly lessons, particularly through short-term curriculum for small churches.

Small church demographics and unique circumstances may have highlighted that your year-long curriculum might not be the best fit for your church’s needs.

You might be struggling to have a full enough volunteer roster to do the full lesson.

You might not have the technology required to use the curriculum fully.

You might not be able to purchase additional items needed for crafts or activities considering your tight budget.

You might not have the right people to administer a year-long curriculum.

Regardless of your unique needs, the curriculum can be an issue that causes you to pause and consider how you are doing things.

Have you ever felt like it doesn’t matter what curriculum you choose, you are having to adapt it to fit your small church? 

As you consider your options, take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions regarding your curriculum:

  • Is it causing me and my volunteers to grow in discipleship?
  • Is it inspiring my creativity?
  • Is it accomplishing what I want my outcomes to be?  
  • Are you open to trying something new? 

I think you are ready for a short-term themed curriculum if you: 

Feel “boxed in” or restricted because of the printed words on the page and find yourself rewriting most lessons to include a new creative idea on how to teach the lesson.

Add activities and personal touches to the planned lessons

Find yourself thinking about your lesson when you are in stores and get excited about an everyday object that teaches kids how to grow in discipleship.

Wondering how can you find time in the schedule to teach a principle that you never seem to have time for because you are trying to keep up with the “scope and sequence”.  

Why Trying Short-Term Curriculum Might Work

Here are the 10 reasons short-term curriculums might be a great alternative for you! 

1. Depth

With a short-term theme, we have the opportunity to learn about one biblical principle in depth.

2. Purposeful

Creating space and the time to be intentional in making sure the kids really understand the biblical principle using all learning styles.

3. Commitments

Asking new people to commit to a short-term theme may lead to permanent volunteers and will allow someone to “test drive” children’s ministry. It also allows you to see what is working for your kids and families with an end date if it’s not giving you the results you were hoping for. 

4. Seasonal

We already do short-term themes for Christmas and Easter that work well. Summer season often looks different too so why not add the seasons of fall, winter, and spring for something fresh to fill in the other months? 

5. Application

Teaching and practicing the knowledge you’ve taught right away is one of the best ways for kids to learn is to see God’s word in action. If you are teaching on the Great Commission make plans at the end of the 6 weeks to do a service project or have a lemonade stand outside your church and give it away for free!

6. Demographics

For those who live in transient areas or rural towns, short-term themes can be very effective because of parents’ shift work or spring seeding and harvest times because the kids don’t feel like they must “catch up” on what they have missed. 

7. Gifts and Talents

Short-term themes can showcase gifts and talents that you may have never known about in a volunteer. Skills can be taught and are useful but I find when you use gifts and talents you find hidden treasures.

8. Innovative

You were created to be an original and God has called you to these kids at this time of your life!  Make every moment with them count. Give them the element of expecting something new from you as you teach them God’s word. 

9. Intensive

Short-term themes can give a sense of urgency to learn and understand the importance of the biblical truth you are teaching them.  Watch them respond to the teaching with repetition, line upon line from God’s word reaching their hearts and not just their minds. 

10. Relevant

Kids hear what is happening in the world and if we can help them use that trend to have them focus on God, that is a BIG WIN!

Conclusion

I want you to be so excited about your next ministry year with the kids! 

You are creative, inspired, and resourceful! 

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

Commit your plans to God first, and listen to the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into a new place this fall for your small church kids’ ministry! 

Maybe God is doing something new in your ministry. 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19


About Leann

Leann Woelk is a Children’s Ministry Specialist who enjoys using everyday items to teach biblical truths through whimsical creativity and thrifty practicality. She is a speaker, writer, and Certified INCM Coach. As the Founder of Handle with Care Ministries, she partners with churches to provide training, support, and care to Children’s Ministry Leaders and their church families. 

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