Last year was the first year in our seven year teaching plan at Brandywine’s student ministry. Ultimately, the purpose behind the plan is to have an intentional plan in what adolescents learn during the seven years they’re in the student ministry. The three broad categories include Core Truths that we repeat every year, Topical series that change according to felt needs, and Biblical Literacy series with a larger goal of exposing students to every book of the Bible over the course of seven years. If you’re interested, the audio from many of the high school teaching times is on our podcast feed.
What that looked like practically during the 2011-2012 school year is this (our teaching calendar runs September-August):
- Biblical Literacy:
- Philippians (four weeks)
- Colossians (two weeks)
- John (six weeks)
- Genesis (six weeks)
- Exodus (four weeks)
- Core Truths:
- Our Purposes (five weeks)
- HABITS (six weeks)
- How to shout without screaming (three weeks)
- Scandalous (middle school, four weeks)
- Realms (middle school, four weeks)
- SEXuality: What are you thinking? (middle school, two weeks)
- Facebook Official (high school, four weeks)
- Responding to … (high school, four weeks)
- When you’re running on empty (high school, two weeks)
- Missions guest speaker
- Jamaica team report
The series that got the biggest response from students were the Facebook Official (dating series for high schoolers), Responding to … (a series on responding to death and suicide, the LGBT community, abortion, and disability), and a couple of our Biblical Literacy series (always exciting when kids love going deep with the scriptures).
All in all, I was really happy with how the calendar went. We tried to rotate through the different broader categories – so what you see above isn’t the actual order it all happened in. What I really enjoyed was the sense of direction with all of it. My one frustration? I felt limited on each of the Biblical Literacy series! Covering an entire book of the Bible in two to six weeks drives me nuts – it forces us to zero in on a few key stories that give a sense of the overall book. In all honesty, we could have spent the whole year just on John and still not done it justice. I had to keep reminding myself that the bigger picture of graduating teens who have a sense of the Bible as a whole and who have learned key study skills is far more valuable than knowing John inside and out … but knowing nothing of the Old Testament.
The response from teens and leaders have been encouraging as well. As they realize the broader goals, it’s been neat to see that bring another level of value to what we do on Sunday mornings.