4 myths about curriculum

Sasquatch. The Tooth Fairy. Mermaids. Unicorns. Vampires. Two towers, a returning king, and middle earth. Galaxies far, farBig-Foot-filmed-by-Roger-Patterson-in-Bluff-Creek-in-1967 away. Starships with transporters.They’re all myths. They are fun to think about, but myths nonetheless. But oh, we love to tell the stories.

There are myths surrounding Bible study curriculum, too. Sometimes the myths are treated as if they are real. Let’s dispel a few of the more significant ones right now. These myths have pestered church leaders and Bible study group leaders for a long time.

Myth #1:  There is a perfect curriculum out there. Truth be told, a perfect curriculum doesn’t exist. Some come closer to meeting your needs than others, but the pursuit of a perfect curriculum is an elusive one. It’s better to find one that meets your criteria the best, and train your group leaders how to use it to the fullest. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration and stop pursuing the perfect curriculum. It’s not out there.

Myth #2:  Curriculum will solve my church’s Bible study woes. No, it won’t.  You’re in charge of fixing that. Changing curriculum over and over won’t fix your Sunday School or small group Bible studies. I’ve seen a lot of things blamed on curriculum, but it’s seldom the curriculum’s fault for things such as low interaction by group members, poor attendance, and general apathy towards Bible study. Time to look elsewhere.

Myth #3: Teachers don’t need curriculum – all they need is the Bible. It makes sense on the surface, doesn’t it? Just teach the Bible. Group members don’t want or need a PSG (personal study guide), some church staff reason. But allowing a group leader to write his or her own lessons is not wise in my opinion. Most people are not experts in curriculum design or theory; they haven’t devoted their lives to studying group dynamics, theology, or education principles. The well-intentioned teacher thinks, “I can write my own lessons.” Let me ask you a question. If you had a 16 year-old daughter who was going to begin driving for the first time, would you feel good about placing her in a car designed by one engineer or a team of engineers? You’d choose the car designed by a team, of course. Members of the team each bring strengths to the process so that a better, safer car is created. That’s the difference between a teacher creating his own study versus using a study designed by a team of experts from a curriculum provider.

Myth #4:  Curriculum is too expensive. The company I work for produces Bible study resources for millions of people to use weekly. A personal study guide (PSG) costs as little as $2.40 per person, and contains 13 Bible studies. Do the math. That’s $.18 a session. What else can your church provide each member and guest for that?? When I hear someone say, “Curriculum is too expensive” that usually means one of two things:  (1) they have not budgeted properly for their Bible study groups, or (2) they haven’t done the math.

There are more myths, of course, but I’ll stop here for now. Maybe we’ll address more myths at a later time. What kind of myths about curriculum have you seen people believe in and treat as real?

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