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Case Study for Christian Curriculum

A hypothetical local church scenario is presented in Scenario 3, requiring analyzing and assessment of the current curriculum practices and presents a plan of action which solves the problem and establishes curriculum selection criteria.

Below you will find a hypothetical local church scenario, outlining the need for curriculum assessment and problem solving. Following the background information are listed three key curriculum scenarios the case study church needs to consider relative to their curriculum needs and utilization. Read through the background information and choose one of the scenarios to address. Analyze and assess the case study church's current curriculum practices and write a 5-7 page paper which presents a plan of action to solve the problem and establish curriculum selection criteria for the scenario you choose.

Also, imagine you are to present the findings to the church's Christian Education Committee (defined below) to inform and persuade them toward adoption of your action plan. Include an addendum to the paper which includes a handout which would be distributed to the Committee in your meeting with them.

Case Study Background

First Church is an established church in a suburban setting on the perimeter of a major metropolitan city in America's Great Southwest. The church is 50 years old, and has been positively responsive to changes in the surrounding community, shaping ministry methodology to address cultural and population changes over the last 20 years. They are considered by the community to be a church for all age groups, from preschool through senior adults. Over the last 10 years, the church's Sunday School attendance has grown by 8-10% per year, and they currently average 450 in weekly Sunday School attendance.

You have been called by the church as their first Minister of Education (M.E.). Although you will have responsibility for the overall Christian education ministries of the church (i.e., Sunday School, discipleship, missions education), there is a Christian Education (CE) Committee whose task is to assist ministerial staff with addressing needs related to the church's CE ministries. The Committee is an advisory group, with decision making authority assigned to the ministerial staff.

The church has a part-time Childhood Education Director, leading both preschool and children's ministries (birth-5th grade); she has been a paid staff member for 5 years. There is also a part-time Youth Minister, who is responsible for middle school, high school, and (limited) college ministries; he is a seminary student and has been a paid staff member for 3 years. You have been tasked with leading the adult education ministries and coordinating the work of the Education Staff Team (which includes the two referenced staff members).

As the new M.E., one of the first discoveries you make relates to the church's Sunday School curriculum.
The church has a budget established for Sunday School literature and materials, but the line item is often used as a "catch all" for other non-curriculum material expenses. As a result, most of the budget line item is spent for childhood education materials, with little allocated to curriculum needs of youth and adult education ministries.

Without coordinated and integrated leadership practices regarding curriculum decisions, several obvious needs exist related to assessment, alignment, selection, and implementation of curriculum. You decide to begin the task of curriculum assessment by taking each age division separately, given the breadth of the project. In reviewing each age division independently, you also realize there are curriculum standards which can be applied across all age divisions. You first make a chart of the current Sunday School organization, by age/grade , enrollment, and average attendance

Scenario 3: Adult Education Curriculum (singles & married)

The adult division of Sunday School at First Church is a collection of independent units, each making their own decisions regarding organization, ministry purpose and direction, and curriculum. Although a volunteer adult division director has been in place, he is seen mostly as a facilitator and not as a leader with decision - making authority. In addition, the Christian Education Committee has been marginally involved with curriculum decisions for adult classes, viewing them as capable of making their own decisions (similar to the approach for preschool & children's classes).

As a result of the existing ministry culture related to adult curriculum, the adult classes use a variety of approaches to curriculum materials. Some teachers develop their own lessons, based on the needs they observe among class members. Other teachers "shop" at the local Christian bookstore to find the materials they feel appropriate for their classes (usually paid for by their class members). Some teachers request that the church order (and pay for) materials, usually from one of the established Christian curriculum publishers. There has been no systematic effort to align curriculum materials with adult lifespan needs or life transformation of learners.

Outside of Sunday School, little is done to offer Bible studies for adults - either at the church or off-site.
Occasional studies are formed, with approval from the Pastor, but there is no intentional effort to map adult CE ministries and evaluate curriculum issues related to adults. The approach for these studies is similar to the youth ministry "hot topics," identifying subjects which are currently in the news or appealing to felt needs of adults.

Solution Preview

Case Study for Christian Curriculum

Problem: No organized leadership and systematic approach to the curriculum. Each teacher has their own style, method and develops their lessons as they see fit.

Analysis: As the children's ministry has grown, a laissez faire approach is not necessarily suitable. In the past, the teacher knew the children individually as there were not so many. However, now that it has grown, the class size is bigger and less intimate so to know the children is much harder. There is less ...

Solution Summary

Problem, analysis and solutions for Christian education ministries are provided.