Philosophy of Curriculum, Part 1

By Paul Wilkinson

I thought it would be beneficial to share our philosophy of curriculum. As many of you know, we’ve asked for alignment in the past with the various Travelogues we produced. We are incredibly excited about the disciple-making series coming in August and strongly encourage all of our groups to consider unpacking it with their groups. However, I do not want you to misunderstand what we are asking.

  • Curriculum IS a launching pad, a way to get a group engaged. Curriculum IS NOT letting someone else do the thinking and application for you and your groups.
  • Curriculum IS a general guide to keep the body (all campuses) moving in the same direction as the Holy Spirit has laid upon our preachers a vision for the future. Obviously, context will dictate specific tactics, but the vision remains the same. Curriculum IS NOT a tight restraint on what avenues you are allowed to pursue in your groups. As Mike Glenn shared on our podcast: the LIFE groups are where the rubber meets the road. The leaders know more about our peoples’ lives than I ever will. They have to be equipped to shepherd our people well.
  • Curriculum IS a tool that the group can work through during the week to begin seeing the Scripture played out in their lives and to begin thinking through the filter of a Christian Worldview. Curriculum IS NOT an excuse for you to not study since you can just walk through the paragraphs of the lesson. We assume our people have read the lesson, we are asking you to be faithful to the Scripture for that day and to take your group where it needs to go, not to simply regurgitate someone else’s content.

In short, our philosophy is that we teach people, not curriculum. We advocate for you teaching through a book of the Bible, but let me ask you this: are your people engaging with the Scripture each day before the next group meeting? Are you training an apprentice who can study, discern, and teach the Scriptures like you do? Is the way you teach and lead reproducible so that when you move on, your people are not left like baby birds with their mouths open? If you can answer a bold YES to each of those questions or if you’re willing to learn to develop new teachers and leaders, then go wherever the Scriptures take you.

If you cannot answer yes to those questions, then I strongly encourage you to give the Current Foundations Series (the curriculum that follows the sermons) a strong try. It engages your people during the week and sets a model that most of your members could follow if they were invited to lead the group. I have used it to great success when I teach, both on and off campus. I want us to begin thinking about the kingdom of God and all of the ministry to which we’re called as BBC LIFE Groups in Middle Tennessee and beyond. A lesson is just a lesson that our people can get from any commentary or Bible study product; what they can’t get on their own is your shepherding and leader development of them as you help them to become disciples of Jesus who make disciples with Jesus. Don’t put extra hurdles in their way by creating a model they can’t reproduce.

 

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