As a pastor, you want the best for your church’s small groups. But you also want the groups to fulfill your mission as a church. How do you go about choosing a curriculum that will come alongside you?
We’ve all used different things over the years. Some we’ve liked, some not so much. We know nothing is perfect, even if it’s the latest thing. Maybe you’ve chosen something based on a catalog you got in the mail, read about online, heard about from a friend, or picked something up when you were in the Christian bookstore. None of these methods are bad or wrong. But they may leave your small groups lacking in purpose and direction.
The Evaluation Process
You can’t just pick something up and go. That might work for a time, but after that curriculum cycle is finished, you will likely be back where you started – quickly looking for something to fill the time instead of looking for the right thing for your small groups. There is a process to finding the right small group curriculum for your church, and I believe it should not be taken lightly. Curriculum has to be read, evaluated, prayed over, and many times, agreed upon. This takes time.
Pastors, ask this question to help clarify your need: What do you want your groups to do? At the very basic level, I believe small groups should be purposeful and facilitate growth in the spiritual lives of those who attend. They should encourage people to step out in their faith and step up in their spiritual lives. And most importantly, they should proclaim the Truth of the Word at every opportunity.
How can small groups help you fulfill your church’s mission? First, you must identify your mission as a church. Then, you can decide how small groups can help accomplish your mission. At Cross Church, our mission is: Reaching Northwest Arkansas, America, and the world for Jesus Christ. We are Great Commission church. So we want to use a curriculum that not only fulfills our mission to further the Great Commission, but helps our members grow in their own spiritual lives. If our small group members are growing spiritually, they are walking witnesses and are fulfilling the Great Commission as they go about daily life.
An Evaluation Guide
Thankfully, LifeWay provides a tool to help in the selection process. No matter what you are looking for in a small group curriculum, this decision-making guide will help you discern what type of curriculum will likely work best for your church. Maybe you’ve never evaluated curriculum in a manner quite like this before. Now is a good time to start.
Don’t be afraid to start from scratch. You may find out what you’re currently using for small groups doesn’t meet your needs like you expected it to. And you may find you are already using the best option for your church.
So what did we choose? Cross Church has been using Bible Studies for Life for the past three years. It has more than met our needs – it has provided a catalyst for spiritual growth in our small group members and take the Great Commission as our people go throughout the world.
Choosing curriculum can be a challenge, but if you take the necessary time to address the needs of your people while ensuring you are remaining true to your church’s mission and vision, you will not regret it.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd