Children’s pastors are tweakers. We tweak everything. Rarely will we ever pull anything out of a box and do it. It’s got to be tweaked for our kids and our church. Also, children’s pastors who are in the midst of ministry often times see things differently than a publisher does. What would happen if a publishing company could leverage the community of hundreds of children’s ministry leaders around the country to develop curriculum that offers dozens of options, extra ideas for every imaginable situation?
Sounds complicated, huh? Too difficult to pull off, right?
Five years ago maybe, but not today. With the social web, the power of creative community is waiting for the first publisher to leverage it. There have been many times where I wasn’t happy with the small group activity my publisher suggested. In those times, I’ve blogged about it and have gotten ideas from my readers. Unfortunately, not everyone has a blog where they can ask like-minded people. However, what would happen if a curriculum publisher provided a place for client churches to visit, download curriculum and videos, but also upload their ideas, their graphics and their videos? My friend Dan Scott shares his custom created graphics for 252 Basics monthly virtues on a flickr thread. I know that dozens of churches are using his graphics. My friend Sam Luce has tweaked take home papers and others have borrowed them. I know others tweak their curriculum for various reason, but there’s no place for them to share their changes. It’s likely that others are in the same situation. Why should we re-invent the wheel.
You see, I feel a publisher that’s really forward thinking isn’t only creating curriculum, but allowing their clients to tweak, morph and modify into something more complete, maybe even better. We all want options. We want more choices. Curriculum publishers have limited resources, so why not leverage the time and creativity of the masses to offer more. In the midst of this, you create community, encouragement and resources that go well beyond just offering curriculum.
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Yes, Yes, and Yes… Matt Guevara has been doing quite a bit of research into doing something like this. There are a couple of education sites like that but no church curriculum publishers are yet willing to jump into all of that. Should be interesting over the next few years!
So at http://www.lifechurch.tv/open we give away all of our curriculum for kids, students, adults…whatever. In almost every case, you’ll find graphics independent of other material so you can just use it FOR FREE, even the teaching segments in our elementary programming is on OPEN for FREE and you can download each segment separately. In fact, if you just want a really cool animated presentation of the gospel for kids, we’ve got that independent of any other content so you can use it however you want. We also have some original music out there for free for preschoolers and for elementary kids. All of our print materials are downloadable as separate pieces so that you can use only what you want. If you want a cool 4D animated presentation of some “classroom” rules, we’ve got that for you, for FREE. We aren’t quite to a place where we can tweak stuff out or have others tweak it out and re-upload it to the site, but we are working on that. So I’m super stoked about that collaboration. All the kidmin people from around the world, contributing! Wow. Oops, don’t forget about Max7.org. They are an australian based organization and they have tons of cool, independent resources-videos, music, printable stuff, whatever. Pick and choose for now until someone comes up with the ultimate open forum. I’m with ya Kenny!
I couldn’t agree with you more. I think this is a vast untapped resource available for publishers. I have never been involved with a community of people quite like those in Children’s Ministry who are so willing and ready to share their thoughts, ideas and resources to help others teach kids about God. Like you, I value things like my blog, facebook, twitter and sites like CMConnect, Kidology and Mininstry-to-Children that allow me to put out requests to the general kidmin community for help on tweaking lessons.
As someone who uses 252 Basics, I am also indebted to people like Sam and Dan and Kendra for the resources they make available for that curriculum.
I hope that publishers will begin to recognize these sites and the kidmin community as a valuable resource at their disposal. In the meantime, I guess we’ll all have to do it our end, and if we go that route, how do we make non-blog reading, non facebook using users of those curriculums aware of the resources that our out there.
I wonder where Matt Guevara is in his research. Maybe he will weigh in.
.-= Wayne Stocks´s last blog ..#19 â€“ Point Everything in the Same Direction (Tips For Large Group Teaching) =-.
Allison, thanks a ton for adding that about LifeChurch.TV. The content ya’ll have created is some good stuff. We’re looking at using it for our Sunday night service that is different from what we don on the morning services… some of the same kids. You can’t beat free… and it’s some good stuff too. Thanks for sharing it!
Wayne, you’re right. Those of us who need the collaborative sharing will find a way to do it on our own… like we are now. Just seems a waste… a publisher could provide a place for us to do what we’re already doing and it would provide a better experience for all.