Dallas (a youth pastor in South Carolina) wants to know why it’s so important to have a scope and sequence for your sermons and how to develop one that works for your unique context. In this episode, Elle shares what she’s learned about developing a scope and sequence, not only from educators, but also through the experience of creating one for Grow Curriculum and Annual Strategy.
WHAT IS A SCOPE AND SEQUENCE?
A scope is what you’ll teach. A sequence is when you’ll teach it. “Scope and sequence” is a term familiar to anyone in the education system, but teaching math in a school setting is a lot different from teaching teenagers about faith. Unlike school, we can’t assume students will show up consistently — we have to assume they’ll show up inconsistently, visitors will show up unexpectedly, and that no two teenagers will be on the same page spiritually. You can find a lot of resources online for developing a scope and sequence in the context of a school, but keep in mind you need to contextualize it for a youth ministry.
So how do we create a scope and sequence for our youth ministries? Here are 4 steps.
1. ASSEMBLE A TEAM
Don’t try to do this alone. This is really important. You need other people around the table to help guide the process. Part of your “team” could be a curriculum company (like Grow
!). Grab as many sample scope and sequences as possible and compare them for ideas.
2. DETERMINE HOW YOU’LL TEACH
Will you teach stand-alone messages or in series? (We recommend a series-based teaching strategy.) How long will your series be? (We recommend 4-week series for consistency and ease of planning.) Will you teach topically, with book studies, or with character studies? (We recommend a combination of all of these, including hybrids, like a topical study that is also a book study.)
3. BRAINSTORM IN LAYERS
This is where a creative board (or a big blank wall) and index cards or post-it notes will come in handy. You’ll need 4 colors. Create one column for every month of the year. Get your team together and set aside 4 blocks of time to brainstorm in 4 layers, in this order . . .