Why Bible Engagement Project is a Top Choice for Kids Ministry Curriculum
By Jill Miklosovic | Posted In Personal Stories
There are a lot of curriculum choices out there for children’s ministry . . . a lot of fun curricula covering significant topics that are sound in primary doctrine. As children’s ministry leaders wade through these choices, they are typically weighing a variety of factors, including whether a curriculum is doctrinally sound, provides needed components, is easy to prepare and use, and will engage kids.
At least that is what I was looking for when the responsibility fell to me, while on staff at my previous church, to guide the selection of our next children’s curriculum. We were a relatively small church with limited funds and even more limited children’s ministry volunteers, but we knew God wanted us to prioritize children’s ministry. So after our selection committee considered the above factors, we bit the bullet and went with Orange, an engaging and robust, albeit expensive, choice.
While we enjoyed the many bells and whistles, and we were specifically grateful to have the teachings available via video, at the end of the year, we did not see the desired return on our investment. Our children’s ministry—and, more importantly, our children’s biblical literacy and engagement with the Bible—had not grown significantly.
And then I was introduced to Listen, the first year of curriculum from the Assemblies of God’s new Bible Engagement Project, and I was wowed! It does all of the good things that Orange and other solid curricula do, but its true value is in what it does that the others don’t. Why is Bible Engagement Project curriculum at the top of its class? Check out these ABCs.
No more cross-referencing unit overviews and weekly lessons to glean content, wading through a dozen files and format choices, or hunting down the handouts that go with the lessons. No more administrative work of distributing materials to teachers. Through an easy-to-navigate app, your whole teaching staff has access to the full content—from stories to videos to questions to activities–of every Bible Engagement Project session. One website page offers your staff links to all handouts referenced in the app. Easy!
Also accessible via the app are a tab for taking notes, a tab that accesses the entire Bible, and a Faithlife community tab that facilitates Facebook-like communication among your children’s ministry team . . . all in one place.
It’s BIG PICTURE-FOCUSED
My quick Internet search today of children’s curricula showed titles as diverse as How to Train Your Emotions, Cooking with Jesus, and Surf’s Up: Beati-DUDES. As these titles indicate, most children’s curricula are topical, that is, they focus on a particular theme from the Bible, such as the fruit of the Spirit, faith, or the full armor of God, or particular stories from the Bible, such as the Exodus or Esther or Elijah. While arguably beneficial, these topics are only parts of a whole, cherry picked from Scripture as self-contained lessons.
However, to understand and embrace God’s message to them, our children need the whole message, and they need to understand how the individual parts fit into the big picture. Bible Engagement Project was built on this foundation. Its first year of curriculum, Listen (currently available), provides an overview of the major narratives of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, starting with our creation (our value), unpacking the impact of the Fall, and then revealing God’s redemptive plan throughout the entire Bible. Learn (scheduled to release August 2021) unpacks the core truths (doctrines) found in Scripture; and Live (planned to follow) explores the life and teachings of Jesus and how the early church lived out those truths.
This approach reveals not only God’s grand plan, but also His character—who He is, and who we are to Him. The result is that our children develop a worldview grounded in history as “His story,” come to know God’s heart for them and their place in His story, and learn to apply the truth of His Word in their daily lives through the power of His Spirit.
Children’s curricula vary in price from under a hundred dollars to almost two thousand dollars annually. The less expensive ones typically do not offer videos, graphics, and so forth, and the most expensive one I’ve encountered (Orange) packages its media/graphics and some other components as separate purchases on top of its high-priced base curriculum. Sure, you get a lot of stuff, but it costs you a lot, too. Bible Engagement Project curriculum falls in the midrange of curricula at a base tier of fifty dollars a month (six hundred dollars a year), with the tier determined by number of users.
While we definitely want our children to be touched through our children’s ministry lessons, the goal is not only to feed them well, but to teach them how to feed themselves. In short, our goal is to make disciples. One measure for discipleship formation is the development of spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memorization, and personal devotions.
Bible Engagement Project emphasizes and encourages the formation of these disciplines. Each volume of four sessions has a theme and Faith Verse that tie into the big story of the Bible. Each session is based on a specific passage of Scripture and includes a Faith Fact that states a biblical truth. Handouts emphasize these aspects, and sessions encourage kids to pray and read the Bible throughout the week. Between each session, four Family Devotions allow parents to reinforce the lessons and engage their kids with Scripture, discussing how the lessons apply to their own lives and walks with Jesus.
It is worth emphasizing that the mission of the Bible Engagement Project is to increase Bible engagement! This motivation came out of a Barna study that revealed that Bible engagement four or more times a week was the main distinguishing factor in whether believers’ beliefs and actions were similar to or distinct from nonbelievers. When used as intended, Bible Engagement Project curriculum engages kids with the Word of God at least five times a week!
It’s for EVERYONE
While this article is focused on kids’ curricula, a unique feature setting Bible Engagement Project curriculum apart is that it is cross-generational. It offers the same core Bible content—in age-appropriate formats—for preschoolers, elementary-aged kids, teenagers, and adults. This means that all ages can go through the same lessons at the same time, with Family Devotions as a time they can come together to discuss what they are all learning.
Unlike the kids, youth and adults have access to the Bible Engagement Project app on their phones, where they can see their own lessons and their own set of youth or adult devotions, in addition to the Family Devotions that parents can use to tie them all together. They can also use the Faithlife community tab to engage with other youth and families. When used fully, the Bible Engagement Project allows the entire church to take a discipleship journey through the Bible together!
It’s FULL GOSPEL
To appeal to as wide an audience as possible, most children’s curricula stick to primary doctrine, that is, doctrine that is common across Christian denominations. This means that most curricula are not inherently full gospel (Pentecostal). While Pentecostal children’s ministry leaders often intend to augment mainstream curricula with a Pentecostal perspective, this takes time, effort, and knowledge that they or their volunteers may not have. Even if they do, the Pentecostal perspective is laid on top of the lesson rather than being built into it.
Bible Engagement Project content was constructed from a Pentecostal perspective, with lessons built upon the truths that the Holy Spirit is alive and active and moving today, that God is still healing and performing miracles, and that supernatural Holy Spirit baptism and power are available to every believer!
Top of Its Class
Many children’s curricula contain some of these ABCs, but Bible Engagement Project curriculum contains them all! If you are looking for a children’s curriculum that is Accessible, Big Picture-Focused, Cost-Effective, Disciple-Forming, for Everyone, and Full-Gospel, reach for the curriculum at the top of its class–Bible Engagement Project.
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Jill Miklosovic is a licensed Assemblies of God minister with a passion for discipleship. Through her role as mid-Atlantic coordinator for the AG National Office’s Disciple Well program, Jill helps individual churches assess their discipleship needs and organizes regional Bible Engagement Project training events. She and her husband, David, live in the Annapolis, MD, area with their two daughters, Evelyn and Lily, and attend Cornerstone Assembly of God in Bowie, MD.