One of the cool things that you can do with a WordPress blog is track the search terms that people type in to end up finding this blog. It fascinates me, really. From “how do you know if a middle schoolers is in love” to “middle school youth group names,” I’ve seen it all! But one topic that consistently comes up is “middle school teaching plan.” Now, I don’t know what these searchers have in mind specifically, but it makes me think of a long-term scope-and-sequence plan for teaching. I think this a really important topic to discuss as we lead our ministries.
At Southland we are in the process of creating a long-term teaching plan for our middle school ministry. This will eventually end up answering the question, “What are those things we want every middle schooler to learn before moving on to high school?” With our long-term vision in mind – to develop students who walk with Jesus, in community, and on mission – I asked our team the following three questions to start the process:
- What topics do we need to teach every year in middle school ministry?
- What topics do we need to teach at least every three years in middle school ministry?
- What “felt-need” topics do we need to be aware of in order to teach as necessary?
Here is the rough draft of what we have so far:
Topics we have to cover every year:
Love, Dating, and Relationships
The Gospel Message
Who is God?
Topics we’d like to cover every 3 years:
Justice & Compassion
Dealing with Family
Missions – Global & Local
The Life of Jesus
Topics that are “felt-need” and require our attention to determine when it needs to be addressed:
Now, before anyone gets upset and starts telling me that we need to teach “the gospel message” and “the Bible” every week, let me assure you that we do. I always ask whoever is teaching to connect the topic to Jesus and the cross. I also give them the biblical text from which to speak. Those “topics” are merely opportunities to focus on the gospel message and the Bible by themselves. Additionally we could teach on the different genres of the Bible and how to understand the Old Testament, for example.
So what would you add? What would you change? I know we are not perfect in our thinking, so I’d love to hear what you are doing in your ministry. Or as a parent, what would you like to see your student learn?