This is a guest post by Aaron Armstrong. Aaron is an author, blogger, and teacher in his local church. Aaron and his family live in London, Ontario.
In late September, I was getting ready for my first weekend teaching our new children’s ministry curriculum. After several years of using a curriculum produced by another organization, we’d finally made the switch to The Gospel Project.
But it wasn’t without a bit of anxiety.
For years, the teachers, with rare exception, would take the biblical text from the old curriculum, toss out all the prepared material and start from scratch. This was a lot of fun for a few of us, particularly the geeks like me who enjoy doing sermon prep (which is really what we were doing—only shorter). But as fun as it could be for us as teachers, it wasn’t an ideal situation. Tossing the curriculum every week created a number of problems, notably that there were many inconsistencies between what was taught in the large group teaching time versus the smaller group setting. On top of that, we were inundating our children’s ministry director with emails about what we were changing and why. Although always sympathetic, the ongoing laundry list of complaints from teachers had to be getting a bit old, and maybe discouraging.
And then, after reviewing a number of different options, we made the switch to The Gospel Project. The first meeting we had, you could see the teachers were filled with a cautious excitement. Would it be better? Would we still be having to rewrite our curriculum from scratch every week—or would we really be able to take this and run with it?
As I read the curriculum, I was impressed at how little I felt I needed to change. In fact, beyond reworking the introduction to the lesson to fit my personality (I’m not a prop guy), and a bit of the language used, I didn’t actually have to do any rewriting of the content itself. The content is really that good—and I say that as one of the most picky people out there!
Teaching the content was a snap; I felt comfortable (in a good way), it clicked with the kids—and it also began a series of illustrations called “The stupid things Aaron did when he was an eight-year-old boy.” (I’ll leave the details to your imagination.) Most importantly, the kids got to hear the good news about Jesus in a way that didn’t feel forced or disconnected from the rest of the morning. This is the best thing about the curriculum—kids are getting to hear about Jesus. They’re not being taught to behave Christianly, without hearing about the cross. They’re learning how the Bible fits together and how it all points to him and his work on the cross to save us from our sins.
I was a fan of the concept of The Gospel Project from the get-go. Since we started using it, I’m more convinced than ever that switching to it was the absolute right decision for our church. As a teacher, I’m hooked. It’s about Jesus, it’s engaging, and it’s easy to use. It just works on every level. What more could you ask for?