There is a strong leadership culture at our church that necessitates a reason for everything we do. Nothing draws frustration quicker than having a question containing the word ‘why?’ answered with the phrase “Well, that’s the way we have always done it”.
In my role as a kids pastor we see things change very quickly in the world of children. New entertainment options, educational policy that shifts as the winds of technology blast past and constant research shifting the goal posts of effective ministry.
At Hillsong Kids, I need a reason for doing something and if you asked me why we approach ministry in a certain way I could tell you. So one of my long standing frustrations was how we approach ‘curriculum’.
For years we have taught monthly series. For example “Heroes of the Old Testament”, or “One Way Jesus” have occupied four/five weekends in church life. Sometimes we would go ‘crazy’ and go eight or nine weekends!
Convenience? Tradition? Jesus said, “Thou shalt teach a topic for a period of 4 weeks”?
Well if you asked me, I would probably give you a mixture of those ‘reasons’. But until recently I never had a definitive answer.
A number of years ago our team sat down and put together a significant analysis of attendance data of our church especially when it came to families. What we discovered and have confirmed with churches similar to ours is that 25% of our families are ‘every weekend’ or key families while 75% attend anywhere from once a month to twice a year! But over a three week period 75% of your families will attend church.
So years later in search of an answer to the curriculum question, this statistic came to mind; let’s cover a topic for three weekends! There will be some repetition of course, but that means even the child that comes once a month will gain an understanding of the theme.
Now this may seem like a simple change and make complete sense, but it’s an approach that is very rare in the world of curriculum publishers, and to someone who has used monthly themes for 14 years it might even be radical!
The fruit of this insight is found in our latest Hillsong Kids Big Curriculum Faith, Hope and Love now available to pre-order at our store. It’s nine weeks divided into three topics that cover some of the most significant virtues in the Christian life.
What is your reason?
In the grand scheme of things what I talk about here is not exactly groundbreaking, but in your case and in your context not having an answer to that question may be stopping you from breaking ground!