Something I have been working on for a while now is a seven year teaching plan. Ultimately, as a student ministry we have a limited number of Sunday mornings to teach young people with and I wanted to be purposeful with that time. I also wanted it to reflect both the purpose statement of our student ministry program, as well as the overall vision and strategy of our church as a whole.
What took shape in that process is three larger categories of teaching, which I assigned a number of weeks per year (we have 51 teaching Sundays per year). Another change we made a couple years ago was to have the middle school and senior high students studying the same lesson most weeks, but in age appropriate settings. The exception would be on certain topical weeks when there is more age specific materials needed. The thought behind that decision was to make it easier on families; I would love for parents to use my weekly updates and followup ideas, and to keep it simpler for parents that have kids in both groups there’s just one topic to discuss around the table as a family.
You can see the detailed plan here, but here’s the overview:
- Core Truths (yearly, 11 weeks). These are the teachings we land on every year – if teens don’t remember anything else when they graduate, at least they’ll know these eleven lessons. We’ve been doing this for a few years now (since I arrived), and it is this year that students have really been able to start articulating them which is awesome! Within this broader category, there are two main themes; our Purpose Statement (we are real people, in love with a real God, making a real difference in the world) informs us of why we gather, while the HABITS series gives the spiritual disciplines that tell us how to follow God.
- Our Purpose
- Fellowship (‘we are real people’)
- Worship (‘in love with a real God’)
- Discipleship (‘in love with a real God’)
- Evangelism (‘making a real difference in the world’)
- Service (‘making a real difference in the world’)
- Hang time with God (quiet time)
- Bible study and memorization
- Involvement in church
- Sacraments (communion, baptism)
- Topical (yearly, 17 weeks). This is the category that gets the most flexibility year by year. Basically, it’s age specific, felt need topics (e.g., the place our group is in right now leads us to talk about this). Some topics will probably be repeated every year (dating, sex, peer pressure).
- Biblical Literacy (23 weeks). This is the bigger picture piece of the puzzle. One of our church values as a whole is Biblical literacy, and our concern that as a culture we are becoming less and less familiar with the scriptures. Towards that end, over the course of seven years we will give students an overview of the whole Bible, working our way through every book (in varying degrees of depth). If you look at the plan, you’ll see that we’re working our way systematically through the Old Testament while bouncing around the New Testament. What that will look like this year is this (not necessarily in this order:
- Genesis (six weeks)
- Exodus (four weeks)
- John (six weeks)
- Philippians (four weeks)
- Colossians (three weeks)