Each summer I examine what we are going to teach the students. Not sure what your ministry does but we deliver most of our teachings through message series in our worship and small group programs. I’ve tried creating my own stuff, only to find that I’ve wasted months writing something that’s not useful.
When it comes to curriculum or resources there are millions of options out there, some from reputable publishers, others we aren’t so sure about. There seems to be a definite challenge to find something that perfectly fits the way we do ministry, while staying true to our faith. That’s why I’m constantly looking at what I can adapt. So instead of trying to create my own I spend more of my time and energy on adapting what’s out there. So, why should we adapt?
It’s easier, it’s saves us stress, time and energy. When it comes to writing curriculum we need a jumping off point, a good resource is an excellent foundation to creating something that will fit your ministry. I think we feel as if we have to have something original, because original means new and new means hype. But adapting something, putting your twist on it will make it fresh and produce the same results with less work.
Now I know the pushback might be we don’t want to plagiarize and there is the pressure of being original. So some of you might wonder, “How do we borrow without stealing?”
Look for the resources that give you permission. Believe it or not there are a lot of publishers and authors that encourage adapting. Next look at taking pieces of the resource instead of changing around the whole thing. Many publishers will encourage taking pieces of what they produce and using it in the context of your program. There have been many times I’ve used a video but not the discussion questions, or I’ve taken an exercise but not the teaching. As long as you are borrowing and not stealing it’s fine. A lot of the resources I use are from out of my denomination (Roman Catholic); however, I’ve found a positive response by taking pieces here and there and adapting it to the context of my faith.
It’s hard being original all the time, some of us don’t have the time, some of us aren’t shaped to design, create and write resources, but that’s okay. The great thing about being a youth minister is being a part of a community that shares with one another and offers resources.
Blogs like this are a perfect place for sharing ideas, so I would encourage all of you who read this to share something that you’ve used and adapted for your ministry.
Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more about his blog Marathon Youth Ministry (link to http://blog.youthnativity.org)