I recently purchased a series of lessons and I was less than thrilled with not only how the material was formatted but the content as well.
Now, before you think I’m too judgy, I write my own curriculum and sell it youth workers so I have a good idea of what youth workers are looking for.
As a youth worker, I’m looking for certain things when I buy a series of two weeks or more:
I’d like there to be slides
This is almost mandatory these days. Why would someone create a teaching or preaching series without slides? I create slides in two kinds of formats, Powerpoint and Keynote for each of the series I create.
Even if it’s a small group series, an announcement slide would be helpful.
I’d like there to be opener and closer ideas
These could be games, discussion openers, stunts, etc. anything to get the kids loosen up or to get kids to focus on the topic. I’d also like some clusters. How will I close this meeting? Give me an altar call, candle lighting, circle up, something to put a punctuation mark on the meeting.
I’d like the material written generically.
The most useless part of a series, to me, are the actual notes of the person who wrote it. I could care less about their illustrations because they usually do not fit my context.
It’s laziness to simply ship off your notes for someone else to buy. I know it takes care and time to re-write something so it can be used in various context but, to me, it’s worth the effort.
I’d like a “how to use this material” page.
I don’t want your notes, but I do want your background. Why did you do this series with your youth ministry? What’s the story behind it? I’m looking for some kind of connection so I can relate it to why I am doing the lesson with my group.
I’d like it to be formatted for easy reading
I offer pdf’s and docs for everything I write. I try to break down the parts with bold titles so youth leaders can follow along without having to search or strain as to how this thing is supposed to go.
I’d like social media graphics to promote the material
This should just be standard, but it’s not. I try to include everything and the kitchen sing because I know the youth worker I am writing for needs all the help he can get to get the word out.
I’d like a resource page that includes other material that would bolster the series
One again, effort. Too many guys are taking their messages, as is, and are trying to make a quick buck. They’ll make that buck but they won’t make any fans.
I try to include as much as I can and more than I even used in my series because..why not? Why not over promise and over deliver. Why not shock, surprise, and delight those you’re writing for?
I include songs, links to video, etc. Even if it’s an idea I have after the fact, if I think it will benefit your youth ministry, I’ll throw it in there.
I want small group questions
I don’t have this in all my series, but I do include small group questions because sometimes a youth group is a small group. Youth workers want to teach the material but may need the small group questions to have a break out, small group time.
To me, it’s all about giving people options. It cost me nothing as a writer to throw 10 questions together so you can have a small group time, which may be the best thing your kids like about your youth group.
I like a bonus
I have not seen any other writers do this, but I include an audio curriculum coach feature with every series I’ve made for the past few years. I want youth workers to hear my heart behind the material as well as walk them through the process.
When I’m creating these kind of resources I’m thinking about the volunteer or bi-vocational youth worker who needs all the help they can get. I want them to feel confident and prepared and that I created what they’re reading with them in mind.
Lastly, I’d like any site that sells downloadable material to up there standards to make some of these these things mandatory when a youth pastor submits their material. Is that too much to ask?
Tell me, is there something you’d like curriculum writers, like myself, to include in the lessons we create? Let me know.
Why don’t you grab my series Dear Bible. It’s a $15 value, but I want you to have it for free. Life’s too short for sloppy sermons.
Please feel free to check out my other sermon series/curriculum page HERE. Each series is packed with the stuff I talked about above and has everything you need to challenge your kids to grow in Christ.