Every student pastor or youth pastor has their own take on curriculum. Youth ministry curriculum is too limited, topical, forceful, plain, and expensive.
All of these criticisms of curriculum are valid, but why should a student pastor use curriculum or youth ministry video curriculum?
What if the youth pastor is not gifted in writing their own youth group talk? What if the student pastor spends way too much of their precious time writing their talks? What should student pastors do if they don’t have anyone on staff who can write sound theological and topical youth group lessons?
In the very beginning of my student ministry career, I was so proud and excited to write my “own” youth group lesson. I would spend hours upon hours writing my youth ministry bible study, which 9 out of 10 times ended up in a trainwreck. My boss even warned me that I should be investing in my adult volunteers instead of spending a lot of hours at starbucks preparing my youth group sermon. The large majority of my student ministry experience was in a small church, so I had to find ways to fully maximize my time while being extremely effective. Thankfully I realized using curriculum will free up some of my time because I didn’t have to write every youth group sermon from scratch. Granted I contextualized every curriculum I used. I think every youth worker using curriculum has to contextualize. I would rather adapt than start from scratch.
Granted figuring out what curriculum is legit, is a WHOLE different conversation. I am biased: XP3 curriculum (from Orange) is probably the best content-driven curriculums out there. Give XP3 a free go….here (I would love any feedback if you do try our free “Godview” series)
My point: Writing your own youth group talk is fine for a season, but you will eventually run out of gas. In another words, you will end up waiting until the last minute to write your youth group sermon. I think every student pastor really only has 4-6 different talks. Using curriculum will enable you to relationally invest in your students and staff. Students need more and more committed, caring, courageous, and Bible competent adults leaders around them, than listening to a well crafted youth group sermon.
Does your church use curriculum? Why or why not.
What would be the “ideal” curriculum for a youth ministry?
What should be more of a priority for a youth pastor: teaching or recruiting/training volunteers?