Planning for Success: The Power of a Multi-Year Curriculum

By Jeff Tillson | February 8 2012

Two years into youth ministry, I found myself exhausted and out of options when it came to teaching ideas and curriculum. I had done it all: stolen ideas from my youth pastors growing up, hijacked lessons from college professors and borrowed material from youth speakers I admired.

I also had successfully ransacked curriculum off the shelves at Christian bookstores. To put it lightly, I was tired of the curriculum chase. Is this how it was going to be for the rest of my ministry career?

Fortunately, no. The next place I turned is the place where I wish I had started: with a multi-year curriculum (MYC).

At this juncture, I suspect some readers will begin turning pages. That's understandable. Multi-year curricula are not for the lazy or the lunkheads. Instead, creating a multi-year curriculum requires time, planning, perseverance, heart and some research—activities that are not universally embraced.

For youth workers who love teaching and want to be more effective, a quality multi-year curriculum is the most powerful and best-kept secret in youth work. Discover it, create it, live it and enjoy it for years to come.

Benefits of MYC

This is what I asked myself as I stumbled into what now serves as a three-year teaching plan for my junior high ministry. Why?

The first reason is because a quality and intentional curriculum produces ministry fruit. As I look back, I cringe that in the early years of youth ministry I left the discipleship of my students up to chance through a hit-or-miss concoction of fads, popular Christian books and attention-getting, flavor-of-the-month teaching.

Yuck! That is not why I got into ministry.

More than anything, I want to serve up a hearty plate of biblical and life-changing truth that will build a foundation of faith in Christ that lasts a lifetime. I highly doubt my whatever approach was going to make that happen (apart from the movement of the Holy Spirit).

Once I put in the time and heart needed for a multi-year curriculum, I began to see ministry fruit that was previously foreign to me. Lord, thank You for giving me the vision of a multi-year curriculum.

Another reason I love the approach of a custom, multi-year curriculum is that it is constructed with my students in mind. My days of walking out of a Christian bookstore with a tall stack of curriculum written by someone else for a different youth group in another community somewhere in the United States are done.

Don't get me wrong—I'm not anti-curriculum. When I find a good study for my students, I use it. However, now I use it as a part of my curriculum plan. Written curriculum is not the backbone of my teaching, but an option worth exploring if it serves the specific needs of my students.

If you are a youth worker charged by God to reach a group of students, you know them better than anyone. You know their needs. You know where they are in their journeys with God. You are God's handpicked leader for this group during this season.

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