My favorite Family Ministry value is EXCELLENCE. I love excellence because I believe it is holy. God gives us excellence all the time. It's all around us! God didn't just make ?any old tree,? He made giant sequoias that you can walk through; He didn't just make ?any old hole in the ground with water,? He made crystal clear springs with majestic waterfalls. God gives us His very best so why should we serve Him with anything other than excellence?
You'll want to note that when we as God's children go about the pursuit of excellence, it is not perfection. Only God can do both. I have to admit I get excellence and perfection confused from time to time. Human excellence involves risk and bold action and faith in the Holy Spirit's guidance and wisdom. Excellence can be a little messy?it can often be accused of ?coloring outside the lines? and taking too much time. Perfection doesn't want to have anything to do with any of that. And so, it is with that lens the Family Ministry began our crazy quest for excellence in Christian Education Sunday School curriculum.
This past summer, the Family Ministry team, along with Jordan Taylor Anagnostopoulos (who is pursuing a doctorate in education in curriculum writing), began the daunting task of writing a custom Sunday School curriculum for children ages 0-18. The goal was to develop a comprehensive, three-year plan (in the education world this is called a ?Scope and Sequence?).
So we began to ask ourselves?.what do we want the children to know and at exactly which point in their development do we want them to have mastered it and hidden it in their heart forever? It became clear that developing the answer to these two questions would drive the essence of everything we taught to children in Sunday School at South Main.
After many team and individual meetings filled with deep discussions, countless numbers of sticky notes and draft pages, we determined our goal is to give children: knowledge of essential Bible stories, the ability to recall the most crucial verses from memory from the Bible, the skills necessary to manipulate their own Bible to utilize it for study, and the understanding of the major divisions of the Bible and the way they fit with the timeline of our world and faith. AND we want them to know the meaning of what it means to be a Baptist Christian?all while considering the developmental age of each child and the appropriate depth of complexity for each learning objective considering Bloom's Taxonomy. This was no small feat!
The work of drafting such a plan was important kingdom work?for what could we teach that could be more important than the teachings of Jesus' What book could be more important than the Bible? Shouldn't we teach our children with the same rigor and purpose when we teach Sunday School as we would when we teach the water cycle or proper nouns? Our answer is ?YES!? When you teach academic subjects comprehensively, thoughtfully, with an excellent plan and specific goal in mind, the children notice, and they learn, and they love it. And when you teach the Bible, it is no different.
The first semester of the curriculum has been written and several months have now been taught. While perfection has not been achieved, excellence has. Our work is not finished. We are tweaking and editing as certain activities work well and certain ideas don't quite hit the mark. We continue to write about three to six months ahead with a full three-year cycle to be completed in the coming years ahead. While not yet complete, the focus and plan is sound. We now have a comprehensive plan which guides us to giving our children the knowledge and information which will be the basis for their authentic and lasting faith in Christ.
Leigh Anne Bryant, Family Ministry Associate for MainKids