On Monday I wrote a post about the pros and cons about buying small group curriculum or making your own curriculum. You can read it by clicking HERE.

For the last 3 years, we have bought and used the LIVE curriculum. We liked it and enjoyed it. It’s great stuff. But last summer, our team decided that we were going to break away from the bought curriculum and put a whole summer into developing our own in house curriculum. Man, was it hard work. There was so much man power, reading, sweat and blood that went into it and what came out is what we feel is the best thing for our students to go through during the 4 years we have them in high school. Is it perfect? Not at all. Even this year we took some things out and added a few lessons and adjusted a few more, but what we get is our own curriculum in which we know our student culture and how they will hopefully respond to the curriculum.

I thought I would share about the format in which we structured each one of our lessons, just in case there are those who have wanted to make their own curriculum but did not know where to start. This is not the best way by any means, but through prayer and meetings, this is the best structure for our students in small groups.

  • Freshman: New Testament Survey
  • Sophomores: Foundations and Doctrine
  • Juniors: Topical Using Old Testament Stories
  • Seniors: Red-Letters (Jesus)

Each week the leaders have a 2-page curriculum they get and go through with their students. We try to make it like a teacher giving a substitute teacher a lesson plan to go through. It’s full of cues for the leader of what to say and when. We wanted it to be as easy and clear about what the structure should be. For example:

  • Say this before you start
  • Emphasize this:
  • Read This:
  • Ask someone to read this:
  • Ask this:

The way we structured the lessons themselves followed what we called the 5 E’s. Each lesson had something within the 5 E’s so the entire Bible study went through a well thought out, experiential study with their group.

Expose: A basic description and overview of the lesson that the group will be going through that night. There would either be a story or some back ground of the passage they would be going through to expose them to the bigger purpose of the lesson.

Examine: This is the chunk of the lesson. It has the passages that the group will be going through and any emphasis on what the lesson is driving for that night. It’s the main teaching part of the night.

Everyday Life: This is the questions part of the study. This is where the conversations happen. This is where the group would talk about how the passages they just read applies to their everyday life of being in a family, at school and being with friends.

Experience: Each lesson we want students to experience and express certain things depending on the topic. If the night were on prayer, then there would be a prayer exercise the entire group would do. If it was on doubt, then the group would write down their doubts anonymously and then pull out questions and talk about them as a group together.

Extra: This is anything extra. Simple right? Maybe there is a YouTube video, a piece of writing, an article, a poem, etc. that goes along with the lesson. We put it there so the leader can add it into the lesson. It is a great way for leaders to add things in the curriculum as well for the following years as they find certain things that worked for their groups.

Like I said, it’s not perfect and we are always looking to make it better, but this is the structure in which we fell confident will take our students to the next level in their faith as we go through Scripture together.