Now that I have your attention with that title, I need to tell you the truth: you’ll never find the perfect apologetics curriculum. In fact, your search for the perfect case-making curriculum is likely to leave you frustrated and discouraged. Two weeks ago on the Stand to Reason radio show I got a call from a listener who lamented the problem he was having in his search for age appropriate apologetics curriculum for young people. While I could think of a few great resources (like the Truth Project and the TrueU Series from Focus on the Family and GodQuest from Sean McDowell), I knew that none of these curriculum packages, as good as they are, would be the perfect fit for him. In fact, I was also approached last week by my publisher to start talking about creating a DVD curriculum based on Cold-Case Christianity. Although I am excited and eager to start working on that project, I know that my curriculum won’t be the perfect solution either. Let’s face it; if you are leading a small group (of any age) you probably know your group better than anyone else, including me or the authors of these other fine products. Every group is different, every setting is different, and every group leader has a different purpose and goal. So here are my tips as you search for a solution to your Christian case-making curriculum quandary:
Be Prepared to Look Beyond Curriculum
Sometimes we make the search harder than it needs to be by limiting our hunt to formalized curriculum. There are many great apologetics books on the market that are already structured in a way that provide a simple outline for small group leaders. I found one university group that is using my book in this fashion. Expand your search from formal curriculum to include appropriate books.
Be Prepared to Modify
Even if you do find a curriculum or book that you like, the odds are that it will require some modification. When I was a youth pastor I often used books and curriculum to help me created the rough outline for a teaching series, but found that I had to make many changes in order for it to be accessible to my students. When you are looking for curriculum, expect to have to work hard to simplify, contextualize, visualize and modify the work. There are probably no plug and play curriculum packages that are perfect for your group: expect to do some work.
Be Prepared to Become Your Own Expert
You will have to become the author of the curriculum you present to your group, and that’s a good thing. When you are tasked with teaching something, you start by learning that something for yourself. This is the nature of teaching and leading small groups. As you become more familiar with the subject matter, you’ll find yourself thinking about better ways to communicate the truths that you are mastering. Be prepared to learn before you try to teach. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
As a youth pastor, I discovered the search for apologetics curriculum resulted in my becoming a better Christian Case Maker. The quest for the perfect lesson plan caused me to read through the available curriculum and appropriate books on the market, simplify, contextualize, visualize and modify the material, and become an expert so I could teach my students. I bet your search for the perfect Christian case-making curriculum will make you a better case maker as well.