Changing Sunday school curriculum seems complicated for some churches because different curriculum publishers follow different publishing cycles.

Lifeway, for example, produces its dated curriculum in quarterly cycles that run September through November, December through February, March through May and June through August.

Smyth and Helwys produces its dated curriculum in trimesters, four months’ worth of material at a time: January through April, May through August and September through December.

Acacia’s curriculum is undated, allowing individuals and churches to order and use any unit any time.

Since most churches place their curriculum orders well in advance, they may feel locked into a curriculum choice, at least for a few months. Even if they want to make a change, they may be unsure of how to do it.

For this reason, some may choose the well-worn path and stay with the curriculum the church has always used. Unfortunately, well-worn paths often lead to ruts.

The worst thing a church can do is nothing. As a wise person once said, “Not to decide is to decide.”

If the biblical education and understanding of church members is important, the material churches use in that process deserves regular and careful evaluation. The questions that come with a decision to change to another curriculum do not have to be paralyzing. The answers are fairly simple.

A church committed to a particular curriculum through April, for example, can simply switch to another curriculum source in May.

A church committed to another curriculum source through May can make a change in June.

A church committed to a curriculum source through August can easily make a switch in September.

Some churches that want to make a change may still find themselves with a month or two “hole” in their Sunday school curriculum calendars. These churches can find other, shorter study options online from Acacia, such as Genesis: The Creation of Relationships (six lessons) and Focus Your Family: Creating a Family Mission Statement (four lessons). Should that “hole” fall during November or December, a popular option is Five Lessons for Advent (four lessons).

Acacia also offers these 13-lesson, undated units online: Real Baptists: Spotlighting Changes in the Baptist Faith and Message and Questions Jesus Asked, an exploration of Jesus’ questions recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
While changing Sunday school curriculum requires planning, it doesn’t have to be a rough ride. Church planners who remain positive and focused can lead both the process and the people involved in changing Sunday school curriculum.

“Changing Curriculum Takes Courage: Part 3” will explore ways churches can successfully lead people through a change in Sunday school curriculum.

Jan Turrentine is associate director for Acacia Resources.

Click here to read “Changing Curriculum Takes Courage: Part 1.”

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