Concordia Sunday School Curriculum Review

Keith Tusing August 1, 2013 2

Concordia Sunday School Curriculum Review Children\s Ministry YouthI was recently given the opportunity to review Concordia’s Sunday School curriculum for this fall – both “Growing in Christ” and “Cross Explorations” are available. “Growing in Christ” is designed to be a more traditional quarterly age/grade Sunday School while “Cross Explorations” is a Large Group/Small Group curriculum following the same sequence. Both of these approaches share a Biblically strong focus with the opportunity to choose a curriculum that fits your style of presentation. Their touchstone phrase is “Touch Hearts, Change Lives, and Learn Together.” Their desire is for the curriculum to touch the hearts of the children and leaders by connecting the word of God to their lives. The phrase “Change Lives” refers to both the Law of God and proclamation of the Gospel that are touched on in each lesson. “Learning Together” applies to both students and teachers as the learn God’s story together.

Let’s take a look a both:

  • Publisher – Concordia Publishing House
  • Website - http://www.cph.com/
  • Cost – Growing in Christ – Varies by number of students; Cross Explorations Starter Kit $135.99
  • Style – Choose between Traditional Sunday School format or Large Group/Small Group format
  • Scope – Overview of the Bible in Three Years
  • Age/Grade – Growing in Christ (age 2 – Adult) Cross Explorations (grades 1 – 6, parents)

Strengths

  • “Touching Hearts, Changing Lives, Learning Together”
  • Teach One Central Truth in Two Different Ways
  • Biblically Focused
  • Adult Study Available on same material
  • More material than you can possibly use – freedom to choose
  • Great Visual Aides – including a time line
  • Colorful Student Leaflets
  • Lessons engage and involve children in active learning
  • Unified Scope and Sequence
  • Options and suggestions for lesson activities
  • Ease of Use presentation to help leaders stay focused
  • Music CD included – music has a traditional children’s choral sound
  • Skits included
  • Service Projects to help students live out their faith
  • Podcast available for teachers

Areas to Improve (in my humble opinion)

  • Music sounds/feels dated
  • Provide material in Word format to allow for customization
  • More opportunities/challenges for families to serve together
  • Optional Children’s Church service materials

Concordia has done a great job of giving valuable treatment to two different styles of presentation. The material is also making it a point to encourage families to carry on the conversations at home and challenging them to engage in service outside the walls of the church. The curriculum does a great job of following/teaching liturgy, helping children understand the rhythm of the Christian worship calendar. Teacher guides are well written and would be very beneficial for new or inexperienced leaders. The focus on leader/teacher training is also extremely helpful to the Children’s Education Director and a strength of this curriculum.

2 Comments »

  1. steven brummett August 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Nice review. However, in regards to your areas of improvement, just some comments.
    The music sounds/feels dated because the intent is to teach the historic faith in the beautiful hymns of the church. It is quite effective and works better than many of the “children’s” songs available.

    I would agree with “Provide material in Word format to allow for customization” except that the customization would in many cases be completely contrary to the sound doctrine taught in the material.

    As to family service, it shouldn’t take a Sunday school curriculum to do this.

    Finally, regarding Optional Children’s Church service materials. Within the LCMS very few churches do Children’s church precisely because it is the intent to have children in worship throughout. God serves his people (old and young) throughout His service and why would we exclude the children. Also, so many churches that hold Children’s church do so in a way that prevents children from Learning the Historic faith of the bible while teaching them moralism. This is why CPH materials do not have such an option.

    • Keith Tusing August 2, 2013 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Steve,
      Thanks so much for your comments. One reply to your comment:
      “As to family service, it shouldn’t take a Sunday school curriculum to do this.” – Steve B.

      I believe that Sunday School is great way to introduce/encourage children to be involved in service projects with their families. We can provide opportunities to parents (especially those young in their faith) that will help stimulate families serving/growing together. – Keith T.

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