Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Am I Paid to Write Curriculum?

As I was sitting in a meeting one day, I heard conversations from several education pastors who had ventured into the world of writing curriculum. While writing your own curriculum may seem glamorous, it is a practice that I strongly urge you to venture into with caution. The first question you should ask when considering writing your own Bible study curriculum is, "Am I paid to write curriculum?"

While there are a few churches around the country who might be able to pay a staff member to almost solely write curriculum, this is not the norm. While this is the most obvious question, there are some other questions you should consider before venturing into the world of writing Bible study curriculum for your church as well:
  • Is this what the church expects from you, or is it something you desire to do personally? If church expectations of your job roles are different from your own, conflict could arise.
  • Is it the best use of your time as a called staff member?
  • Can someone else do it better?
  • Is it taking you away from developing leaders and pastoral duties?
  • Can you deliver theologically and educationally sound curriculum every week?
  • Do you have someone reading your curriculum for grammatical, theological and educational quality?
  • What happens when you write something that is controversial or has theological errors? (It is a lot easier to let a curriculum provider take the fall for those types of inevitable mistakes!)
  • Is what you are providing really good? Really be honest and let others be honest with you.
  • What happens when you leave? What will the church do when you leave? If they go back to curriculum from a provider, why not go ahead and use that provider now so you can focus on teaching your groups how to use the resources, and spend time multiplying leaders and groups?
There is no perfect curriculum. I write curriculum periodically for various providers as well as for my church. There have been times that I have even asked myself, after teaching what I have written, "What was I thinking?" or, "I would surely have done that differently!" And, while I am in the middle of writing a plan, I still ask myself the all important question as well, "Is this what I am really being paid to do?"

While there are advantages to writing your own curriculum - you can control the content better, you can customize the curriculum to follow your pastor's sermons, to name just a few - the bottom line is that you should question whether it is really the best use of your time. Hopefully you can use the previous considerations as a guide to help you answer that question.