The Material is Just Another Tool

I’ve really lost my appreciation for curriculum… or maybe I never really was a big fan anyway. I think there was something always that didn’t quite fit when I heard that word or when I was told about the latest and greatest new material. Being educated in youth ministry and getting a masters, I heard the word “curriculum” pretty frequently. In the church, I heard it even more. People are always looking for an easy way to get information out there to small groups, big groups, or individuals. And that’s really what curriculum is all about, what material of study for a group is so often about… getting out information.

Do you want to build authentic and transformative community? Do you want to help people do the self work so that they can begin to pay attention to God’s movement in their lives? Do you want to help people learn how to actually talk to each other and even learn from each other? Time to change the way that we look at the material that we use. If our interest is on personal growth and soul formation, THIS must be our main focus, not the material we use.

In the church context, we are so often concerned with getting the “right” information out about how we should be understanding scripture. Granted, this is helpful and appropriate, but do we want Bible scholars or Christ-followers? What did Jesus want? Time to start seeing scripture as one of the means of getting us to the soul work. How do we respond to this text? What is our reaction, positive or negative? What are our questions and resistances? What is God doing in us or teaching us through this? Let’s work with that! Use the text to get there.

I don’t care if the material you are using is sacred texts, a workbook, a novel, a movie clip, a poem, or a YouTube video… if you are interested in helping people grow and figure out God’s movement in their life, you’ve got to see this material as a tool to get to the personal story that we bring with us. The focus is the community, not the information. If someone can tell me how we can do community soul building through sermons, I’d be very interested to know how…

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