Anchors & Sails
A constant struggle for many youth workers is trying to determine what lessons/topics to teach, and when. And unless you use a pre-produced curriculum that has a well thought out and ordered scope and sequence my hunch is you struggle, too.
Since your teenagers are on a journey trying to navigate the often turbulent seas of adolescence, I’d like to suggest a very simple way to categorize your lessons…think of them as Anchors and Sails and dedicate about 50% of your calendar to each category.
Anchors hold tight. Anchors keep a ship from drifting. I consider “anchor” lessons to be those that are designed to teach teenagers the fundamentals of Christian life and faith; topics that I believe help them hold tight and keep from drifting when life’s waters get rough. Topics such as basics of the faith, core doctrine, Christian world-view, apologetics, understanding other religions, and just about anything you might categorize as traditional Christian Education would likely fit well into the Anchor category.
Sails catch wind. Sails propel a ship forward. I consider “sail” lessons to be those that are designed to put wind in teenagers sails; to help them move forward in their daily journey with Jesus. How to make wise choices, identity in Christ, sexuality, family, friends, and just about anything you might categorize as traditional topical teaching would likely fit well into the Sails category.
Our youth ministry is in the middle of a project to more closely align our junior high, high school, and college teaching strategies. It feels like a daunting task, but we’ve started by asking each department to make a list of the Anchors and Sails that they believe are non-negotiable staples for their age group. Some topics will repeat year after year as students mature, and some will be unique to one particular age group. We’ll write some of the material ourselves, and we will lean on trusted sources like LIVE curriculum for others.
What to teach, and when? Figuring it out isn’t an easy process. But since every student in your ministry is on a journey and trying to navigate the often turbulent seas of adolescence, providing them with well-timed anchors and sails seems like a great place to start.
Thanks for loving students,
-K / @kurtjohnston