///Buying Or Making Small Group Curriculum: Pros And Cons

Buying Or Making Small Group Curriculum: Pros And Cons

For small groups, a huge part of the thing is what curriculum to use. Do you buy it? Do you make it? Do you spend the time to create your own from scratch? How do you know which one to do? What is more beneficial for your ministry? For your time? For your money?

Frankly, I do not know. That is up to you. But what I can do is maybe help you in your decision on what to do for your students. As for small groups, the goal is to make sure we as their leaders provide them with the best material for the spiritual growth. There are ups and downs to both sides and we on the HSM team had this conversation last year and went through this process.

Buying curriculum:


  • You do not have to spend the time to write your own curriculum. It takes time that you can spend with students, volunteers, and office hours doing other things. Buying would get it instantly.
  • You will usually get the whole year’s worth of curriculum. Usually for all grades. You won’t need to worry about getting anything.
  • Bought curriculums will make it easy for your volunteers and small group leaders to go through and teach.
  • You buy and print it out and that’s it. You’re done with it.


  • You need to research what curriculum is going to be best for your students. There are many to choose from, but which is the right one to make sure ALL of your students in small groups are going to be pushed to take the next steps in their faith?
  • You will get a pretty generally broad spectrum of material and subjects. You might use some of them, or you make have to adjust it to fit your context for ministry, making you work on it anyways.
  • You need to pay, use your budget, to get the curriculum.

Making your own curriculum:


  • You get to make sure you know exactly what your students are getting from the curriculum.
  • It’s more personal to your ministry and students because you may know exactly what they need to go through and why.
  • It can allow you, your team or volunteers to come together and work through what needs to be in or out of your curriculum and give them a huge sense of ownership within this very important part of ministry.
  • It’s yours. You made it. You own it. You can adjust it. It’s personal.
  • You do not have to buy anything. No renewal fees.
  • You can make it go along with whatever series you are going through in your weekend/midweek services.


  • Even though you are not paying for it, it takes a ton of time and effort to go into it.
  • It’s difficult to decide on what goes in and stays out of the curriculum.
  • You actually have to sit down and write the entire year out for all grades that you want to be involved. Or you have to create enough curriculum to last all 4 years of high school so you do not repeat.

These are some of the things that have gone through my mind when it comes to choosing curriculum for our students here at HSM. I do not know what you do for your ministry when it comes to curriculum. I just hope that you pray through it and look at the pros and cons for both of the options. I do not have the right answer. I do not have the answer for you. It’s important stuff. But I hope these pros and cons for my own struggle through this can help you with your decision as we come up for this school year.

What do you do for your ministry? Do you buy curriculum? What do you use? Do you make your own?


If you didn’t know, DYM has a ton of great small group material. You should check it out by clicking HERE!


By |2016-10-13T13:55:19+00:00September 6th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Justin Knowles has been a pastor for the last 10 years and is the Student Ministries Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. He hosts Youth Ministry Hacks Podcast, loves to write about his ministry journey and teach at all sorts of camps or retreats. He and his wife Kristin have a son named Graham and a cat named CATalie Portman. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @justinknowles3

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