Innovative Curriculum for Discipleship
By Mark Entzminger | Posted In Ministry Tools
Does your ministry need a new expression? Solving that need can feel like pressure to innovate. But in God’s big plan, perhaps He’ll drop into your heart and mind something He had as part of His plan for thousands of years. Mark Entzminger, national director of children's ministries for the Assemblies of God, shares how some of our latest and greatest ideas may not be so new -- and that's a good thing.
I remember serving as youth pastor at our local church when I had a brilliant idea for an event that would bring in unchurched students. We put in hours on this innovative idea and the results were amazing. Our youth group of fifty ballooned to five hundred plus on the night of the outreach. We were excited to be leading the way! But as we wrapped up the event, a student approached me to share how their youth pastor had already been doing something similar.
I don’t discount the value of the ministry that took place, but perhaps I took too much pride in doing something that had never been done before. God has a great way of humbling us, doesn’t He? I also learned, however, that the words of Solomon are quite true for ministry: “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I began to worry less about innovation and to focus instead more on obedience to God’s plan.
Ministry can be like that. Perhaps there is a need for a new ministry expression. Solving that need can feel like innovation, and for some groups of people, it might be. But in God’s big plan, perhaps He’s dropping into your heart and mind something He had as part of His plan for thousands of years.
At Bible Engagement Project, we believe that as people of all ages engage with the pages of Scripture, the words they internalize will change their lives. This conviction is so foundational that it has driven our Bible Engagement Project teams for more than two years of investment and partnerships with the leading voices among those who teach the Bible and utilize Bible technologies. The result is an age-aligned curriculum for the local church called Listen, which releases in August of this year. Through Listen, preschool and elementary children, youth and adults will journey through the Bible learning the same stories at the same time through age-appropriate teaching and media. It is powerful. The content is solid. The media is captivating. In fact, there’s nothing quite like it.
It is quite innovative . . . or is it?
In Deuteronomy 31:12–13, Moses instructed the people of Israel regarding the book of the Law by saying, “Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Consider what Moses instructed and how the Holy Spirit has guided the development of this Bible-centric curriculum.
- “Assemble the people, men, women and little ones”: Listen curriculum has been designed to align the ages through small group studies and discussion.
- “and the sojourner within your towns”: This speaks of multiple cultures and languages. Listen is being released to a wide audience of people and will be available in both English and Spanish.
- “that they may hear”: Listen is focused on hearing God speak through the pages of Scripture.
- “and learn”: Listen has a strong component of Christian education to help people understand the stories of Scripture from beginning to end.
- “to fear the Lord your God”: Lesson designs reveal God to the participants through the pages of Scripture.
- “and be careful to do all the words of this law”: Lessons promote active faith and continue to engage participants with Scripture throughout the week.
- “and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God”: Passing faith to the next generation is a foundational principle in the Word of God. It has been a value from the beginning to ensure children grow up knowing the God of the Bible.
While it may be true there is nothing new under the sun, I’m thankful the release of Listen curriculum has a solid foundation in the instructions God gave to Moses to help the nation of Israel keep their part of the covenant. Perhaps this passage is what inspired King Josiah regarding the public reading of the Law, resulting in a national revival (2 Kings 22 and 23). What would be the result if it happened today?
With churches around the nation getting on board, we just might find out.
As we create innovative discipleship resources, keep in mind that the foundations reach back thousands of years to an historic instruction. I don’t know about you, but that gets us at Bible Engagement Project excited!
Learn more about Bible Engagement Project and the Listen curriculum at BibleEngagementProject.com
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.