As an experienced Children’s Sunday School teacher and ministry worker I know from first hand experience that there is a shortage if high quality, reasonably priced Bible-teaching materials for use in churches, church schools, Christian home schools, and other church-related ministries. In addition, many of the available materials are inadequate or hard to work with for various reasons. Therefore, I believe we need to examine the teaching materials we use and let the Christian curricula producers know how they can improve their products. Below is a list of ways I believe we can improve these Christian teaching materials:
1. Do what we can to keep the cost down so the materials aren’t overpriced. These items need to be available for a reasonable cost to individuals, small groups, small churches and home-schooling families. A cost of $200 or more for 13 lessons is too much for many to afford.
2. Make sure all of the segments in the curriculum (i. e. Bible Story, Discussion, Crafts, etc.) are cohesive, working together to reinforce the main lesson theme. Time fillers and activities that don’t focus on the main theme of the lesson are a distraction at best.
3. Include more learning activities that encourage student participation and provide times of fellowship so the students can get to know one another while they learn.
4. Make the curriculum with more reproducible patterns, worksheets and even classroom decorations that can be made by the students. Help free the teacher’s hands from the chains of excessively tight copyright limitations that stop the teacher from making craft patterns, overheads, and visuals for class presentations. These chains can depress the Christian worker and render the curriculum useless.
5. Limit your lesson points to two or three main ideas. This will help your students focus better and remember more.
6. Do not print dates on the curriculum materials. If need be, put numbers that correspond with the weekly lesson and make a calendar showing the schedule plan. This way, if a teacher misses one lesson, the materials can still be used and the student’s won’t be able to tell the lesson is used one week later than the schedule plan. Also, the materials–whole or in part–can be used again at a later date. This will also help in the reduce the wasting of materials because they have preprinted dates on them.
7. Do not put purchase requirements (of 10 or 20) student books on the curriculum package. Let the churches decide how many books to order so they can stay within budget and not pay for books that won’t be used.
8. Include patters and/or visual aids for all crafts and activities. This way the teacher can see how things were meant to be done. This helps make class activity preparation clearer and easier for the teacher.
9. Make the print in the teacher’s manual at least 12 point so the teacher can see it from a short distance away. When you need to look something up in a hurry, small print makes it even more difficult.
10. Make the lessons in the curriculum more applicable to present-day needs. Though the Old Testament Law and the stories in it are great, they really don’t tell a person about Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, new birth, salvation, Christian living, Jesus’ resurrection and His return again. I believe we are in the last days, and people need to know about Jesus and to get saved so they can spend eternity as members of God’s heavenly household. They also need to know that the Bible contains the answers to the circumstances in their lives. They need the way, the truth, the life, and the hope. Without Jesus Christ life can be bleak and hopeless.
These are a few suggestions for improving present day Bible teaching materials. We need to have more high-quality materials available to help us teach others the “Good News” of Jesus Christ and the way to salvation. Time is running out and there are many who still need to hear the message and be taught. If we don’t tell them, who will?