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How to Prepare a Sunday School Curriculum

Whether you’re choosing a new Sunday school curriculum or writing one from scratch, consider following these four steps as a guide to get you started.

If you truly want to write a brand-new Sunday school curriculum, you might start by first adapting preexisting curriculum to get your feet wet. After doing that a few times, you’ll have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll be in a good place to write your own.

1. Pray for Guidance

The true power of Sunday school and small groups isn’t in the amount of study we do, the books we rely on, the quality or quantity of volunteers, or our personal charisma. If we want to see lives changed, then we must rely on the Holy Spirit. By beginning the process of building a Sunday school curriculum in prayer, you express your utter dependence on God to be the true source of guidance in your planning.

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2. Choose a Sunday School Curriculum

Here are three questions to ask as you select a Sunday school curriculum:

Baker Bible Study Collection (11 vols.)
Baker Bible Study Collection (11 vols.)

Want to dig in on what Scripture really says about any topic? This collection guides your group through the Bible’s teaching on parenting, heaven, and angels—and it even has a study on the most misused verses in the Bible..

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Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods
Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods

Take your group through a Bible study without an accompanying study guide using pastor Rick Warren’s instructions on studying the Bible. The methods in the book walk you through how to study the Bible in depth so you can more effectively teach it in a small group setting.

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3. Find Supporting Resources

Unlike preachers developing a sermon, people who teach Sunday school are often self-taught theologians. Sunday school teachers and volunteers may not need to know all the deep theology behind what they’re teaching, but it’s important to know basic Bible study skills and resources available to easily find answers.

Biblical Surveys

Living by the Book
Living by the Book

If you're like many people, you've probably felt at one time or another a twinge of guilt about not getting full enjoyment out of personal Bible study time. You may wonder how some people can percolate with enthusiasm over the same passages you've read time and time again—unmoved. What's their secret? Howard Hendricks knows that the "secret" is really no secret at all. It is simply a case of practicing effective Bible study methods.

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Lexham Geographic Commentary
Lexham Geographic Commentary

The Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels delivers fresh insight by paying attention to an often overlooked component of the Gospel stories—their geographical setting. Written by a team of scholars with on-the-ground experience in Israel, the Geographic Commentary lets you see the land through the eyes of the disciples as Jesus uses the surrounding landscape as the backdrop for his teaching.

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Faithlife Study Bible
Faithlife Study Bible

The Faithlife Study Bible (FSB) helps you explore Scripture in depth with your Christian community. The study notes, maps, and media in the FSB work with several popular Bible translations. And with apps for your mobile devices, you can take deep Bible study anywhere you go.

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Bible Software

New Testament Use of the Old Testament
New Testament Use of the Old Testament in Logos 8 Bronze

Reading the book of Romans is never fruitless, but you’ll miss gold if you don’t catch its Old Testament references. With the New Testament Use of the Old Testament interactive in Logos, you can quickly discover where Paul refers to the Old Testament, and then explore the context more fully. You can find this feature in Logos 8 Bronze and above.

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4. Share with Your Teachers

If you’re leading other Sunday school leaders, it’s important to take time to share your spiritual and leadership insights with them. Leaders who know how to study the Bible for themselves will be able to effectively teach new curriculum.

A few quick tips:

Mobile Ed: LD101 Introducing Ministry Leadership
Mobile Ed: LD101 Introducing Ministry Leadership

In addition to providing surveys of contemporary leadership theories and obstacles to effective leadership, Dr. Irving explains the uniquely Christian approach to leadership, offering biblical examples from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. This course also demonstrates how the radical nature of servant leadership can transform your ministry.

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Logos 8 Fundamentals
Logos 8 Fundamentals

Small groups are a great place to ask tough theological questions, but you might need time to find the answers. With the Bible study tools in Logos 8 Fundamentals, you can quickly search the Scriptures to find answers to your biblical questions. It’s a great place to start with Logos, since it has four Bible versions, several commentaries and Bible studies, and lots of Bible research aids.

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Conclusion

Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the one who changes lives and hearts. But he chooses to use our efforts as we share his Word. As you dig into Scripture and begin building Sunday school curriculum, you may feel ill-prepared and under-equipped. Take heart, knowing that God delights in showing himself strong through those who feel weak. As the apostle Paul said of his own ministry, “When I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:10).”