HOW TO CHOOSE A SMALL GROUP CURRICULUM
Ok, let me set some ground rules here. If you are new to my blog, I am a Pentecostal pastor passionate about small groups. If you are not Pentecostal, that's ok; I'm rooting for you too.
#1 PRAY: Start here. Do not pass go. Involve the Holy Spirit in your process. I know that it is easy to get on the internet and find the hottest thing going right now. It's ok to look. But what does God want you to do? Pause and listen
#2 CHOOSE CURRICULUM THAT FITS YOUR THEOLOGY - I don't care if you're a Pentecostal, Evangelical, Catholic, whatever. Never teach something in your small group that will disagree with what is being said in the pulpit.
The majority of the curriculum that I see out there is middle-of-the-road stuff. It's ok if you are addressing something that doesn't need a lot of tweaking. But if you're a Pentecostal, don't use a curriculum about the Holy Spirit that comes from a non-Pentecostal writer. I know this may seem silly, but dig deeper and find what you need.
How do I find it? Call other churches within your fellowship and ask them what they are using. Search websites of other churches like yours and see what they are offering. Call your fellowship headquarters or leadership and ask what is available.
After you've received your curriculum, review it. If you feel that it is missing key elements that need to be addressed, talk with your Pastor or leader.
#3 UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE - All churches are not the same. I know, newsflash, right? But much of the curriculum that is out there is one-size-fits-all. I'm not blaming the publishing houses for this. It's what they have to do. But if you are serving in an older church, consider their needs. What are they facing at this stage of life? What are their pressing questions? If you are serving in a church with a lot of young married couples? What could be on their mind? What are they struggling with? Ask questions, listen and understand their answers.
#4 WHAT IS YOUR GOAL? - Too often, I find that small group leaders are on a mission to get through the next session. Just teach the lesson and go home. It would be best if you had more significant goals. Seriously. When you're choosing a curriculum, what do you want your students to see, what do you want your students to accomplish? A better marriage? Get their money affairs in order? To tell someone, they know about Jesus? To discover and begin using their spiritual gifts? Write your goal down initially and before you study for the next week - review your goal. How are you going to help, empower and challenge your students to reach it?
#5 TEST DRIVE A SAMPLE. Most publishing houses and authors will offer a sample of the lesson for review. Get it, look at it and determine if you can teach or lead from it. Not all curriculums are the same. So don't strap yourself to a nightmare, do your homework.