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Today, Simply Youth Ministry has expanded their LIVE Curriculum to include a section on Holiday lessons. This is by far the best online resource at the best cost for youth ministry curriculum.

The cost of the curriculum is $59 and includes 15 weeks of lessons for the holiday seasons. You average that out and you have less than $4 per lesson. Assuming you make $10/hour for your job, that means you would have to get your lesson done in about 24 minutes to save money. Remember, we were called to be youth workers, not curriculum writers.

For the past two years, I have been using the high school and middle school LIVE curriculum which has been a lifesaver for my sanity and ministry. Many curriculums only cover surface level content with students and do not work well with our ministry with many students who know the Bible answers well. LIVE Curriculum hits deep into Scripture and engages students in their lives.

The holiday curriculum is one step deeper into the year’s schedule and makes preparing for youth ministry so much better. In the busyness that comes in ministry during the holiday times, these lessons bring a great sermon or small group lesson for you to hit a homerun this Christmas. I have looked every one of the lessons in this section, they are homeruns!

What do you think about the SYM LIVE curriclum?

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Here is the fourth and final installment of our curriculum. In 1 & 2 Samuel, we will be looking at the life of David, where he started, how he came to be king, the mistakes that he made, and how he was redeemed through his lineage to the birth of Christ. There are so many good stories here to introduce to students all of which can easily be applied to the life of a teenager: knowing God loves you, trusting in Him, living the life God has for you, falling into sin, and yet knowing we can find salvation in Him (Matthew 1).

These lessons cover:

1 Samuel 16, 1 Samuel 17, 1 Samuel 19, 2 Samuel 7, 2 Samuel 11, Matthew 1

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 4)

Here is the third installment of our curriculum. Teenage life is radically different from what I was a teenager and that was only eight years ago. They are computer savvy, always “plugged in” to what is going on through texting, Facebook, and Skype calls. Teenage ladies are boy crazy about the latest pop stars, lead actors, and fashion. The young men are already talking about sports, YouTube videos, and who they think is “hottest” in TV shows and movies they watch. It is amazing they have time for school and family with everything that is going on.
Because of their unique experiences from our own teenage years, they have unique views of the world, some of which could probably challenge our own. Yet, they are still in a period of time of transition. Middle school students are hitting puberty and many times do not understand fully the physical changes that are experiencing. At the same time, they have probably figured out “who they are” in their own family and are trying to figure out “who they are” in their own little world at school, in sports, at the mall, and where ever else they go. As for high school students, they may have figured out who they are just in time to face the reality that they will soon be on their own in college or working right after high school. This means facing the unknown and even redefining “who they are” away from what they have known their whole life.

These lessons cover:

Relationships 01, Relationships 02, Relationships 03, Priorities, Integrity, Hurt, Game Day 03

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 3)

Here is the second installment of our curriculum. This method of youth ministry allows the Scripture and God to be the authority in the lessons, speaking truth into their lives, and hopefully making getting them excited about the Bible and their faith. This 6-weeks will still be topical and so we will not be progressing through a book of the Bible from week to week, but this will allow us to show them the different books of the Bible and allow those who have not read much of the Bible to become more familiar with it. (Note: The fourth 6-weeks we will progress through 1 & 2 Samuel, instead of being topical)

We will be providing an assortment of verses both as the main Scripture and the other relevant Scriptures. One great opportunity here is that we can connect the Old & New Testaments together to illustrate the lesson’s point. While we are currently under the new covenant that was established through Christ’s sacrifice, the text of the Old Testament speaks endless truth that is useful to us now, so we as leaders should make attempts to tie in both testaments into our lessons.

These lessons cover:

Bible Based, Shine Your Light, Own Your Faith, Home In Heaven, From Heaven To Earth, Jesus’ Life As A Leader, Death and Return, Game Day

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 2)

Here is the first installment of our curriculum. The goal with these lessons is to serve the military students that go to USAFA Club Beyond. The first 6-weeks of lessons will be the initial setup for us to go where they are at in LIFE, the theme for the whole year. The popular board game has endless ways that we can use them, I have only thought of a few of them for our illustrations and questions. Be sure to share with them each week what the theme is and how it applies to The Game of LIFE as a fun visual illustration.

Many of these students are facing at least one, if not several of the issues that we will be discussing at club in the following lessons. This allows us to discuss things that are going on in their life, get to hear their stories of who they are and what they have experienced, and be able to develop relationships with them.

The hope is that in building these relationships with them during these 6-weeks, we will be able to then go on to share who Jesus is and how he dealt with similar issues of loneliness, pain, and frustration. During this time of building relationships, we should be listening intently on the details of what they have to say, giving validity to what they share, and encouraging them in the accomplishments or supporting them in the tough times.

These lessons cover:

Dog Tags, Military ID Card, PCS, Deployment, Leadership, Homecoming, Game Day 01

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 1)

Last Thursday I was writing a bunch of lessons for the new school year at Panera Bread and enjoying the wisdom from God’s Word. I came to a place in the series that was going to be on the topic Priorities for teenagers. Now, I am not sure if it was the four hours of sleep or the three cups of coffee going through my veins, but as I began to transcribe the lesson, I felt God speaking directly to my own heart.

How many times do we allow God to impact our lives? When is the last time you truly experienced God? Maybe it was His people or wisdom. As Christians, we should be filled so much that we naturally are sharing Jesus with those we see because of the overflow of His love and favor for us.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 17ff-19

We are ministers of God’s Word to others, but first and foremost we are His children. May we hold tightly to His love, open our hearts to Him, and be filled to the top.

I have found several places that I continually draw from when I need relevant and up-to-date illustrations, statistics, games and more. Here is a list of a few that I used this summer.

Barna Group
A great resources for statistics in the Church as a whole. This is one resource you should add to your RSS feed and simply monitor weekly for great reports. These are wonderful to show to volunteers and parents. Occasionally you will get a good chart or stat that can be used directly with students too.

HomeWord Center for Youth and Family
A wonderful website with piles of research waiting to be used for ministry with teens, parents, and volunteers. At the same time, a lot of great articles in here can be used for the sole purpose of illustrations.

A great database of articles for illustrations to support your sermon or follow up with after a good small group discussion. At the same time, you can pass these on to other staff and volunteers for a lighthearted or encouraging minute.

The Sources For Youth Ministry
A great set of resources for movie clip ideas and discussions, free curriculum, games and skit ideas, and more. A seemingly endless list of possibilities here.

Wing Clips
Wing Clips sole purpose is to provide great video resources for ministry. Sorted by title of the movie or category of the message, this is an invaluable resource.

So what free resources do you have bookmarked?