Why I Decided to Write the "Encountering Jesus Curriculum"
In 2007, I was the Children’s Pastor at the Vineyard Campbellsville Church in Kentucky. At that time, we were a small 10-year old church plant with about 150 people attending. Our kid’s church was very small and many times we needed to combine ages 3 to 12 in one room.
The hardest part of every children’s church pastor’s job is recruiting volunteers. The second hardest part is finding children's church curriculum. In 2007, the Vineyard Movement had no curriculum to sell and I couldn’t find many resources that fit our theology or small church needs. I would buy traditional curriculum and felt that the material was watered-down or trivial. I tried to buy some curriculum from a charismatic source and found that most of theology was similar but the curriculum was lacking some Biblical foundation and structure.
What’s a children’s pastor to do? After two years of research, I finally decided to write my own curriculum. The bonus to writing your own curriculum is that you can tailor the lesson plans to your particular church structure and theology. You can customize the lessons with your particular kids in mind. What’s the difficult part about writing your own children’s church curriculum? Umm….finding time and focus to sit down and write it. But, I did it. I wrote 4 months of lessons that covered Christmas thru Easter.
How did it go? Well, the first draft was pretty rough. I used construction paper to divide the months. Some lessons would flow beautifully and other lessons were a bust. I’m pretty sure no one else ever tried to use that curriculum because it wasn’t very user friendly.
Fast forward a few years and find me at MorningStar Ministries with my new husband and babies, learning how to do family and volunteering in the Kid’s Ministry. I gleaned so much from Bobby Hussey and Brandon Hull about Kid’s Ministry. Occasionally, I was asked to write curriculum for the elementary classes about specific subjects. They had a set structure to the class that helped me with curriculum development.
My husband and I eventually moved back to Vineyard Campbellsville in Kentucky and almost immediately ended up in the Kid’s Ministry again as volunteers. I decided to take the Jesus Curriculum that I had first written in 2007 and merge it with the structure that I had learned from MorningStar and recreate the children's church curriculum that is now available called Encountering Jesus.
In 2013, I decided to take the leap to make the curriculum available to others. I was scared to death to “put myself out there” and be willing to receive criticism and rejection, but I felt that God was leading me to do this. I paid editors and had to re-write my re-write more than once, but it was worth it. I hired a great photographer to take pictures of our church kids worshiping and praying, then our graphic designer took those pictures and turned it into the beautiful design you see in “Encountering Jesus”.
It took me over a year to simply edit the curriculum, as I have been busy with my 4 year old, my 2 year old, and my new baby in the belly, but it is finally available to the public and I pray it blesses other churches.