CHILDREN ARE FASCINATED with growing. They love to measure themselves against how tall they were last year (or even against Mom or Dad)! It makes them feel “all grown up.” Growth is also a big part of what a church is about—but this growth is complete maturity in Christ (Eph. 4:11–15). The best view toward this kind of growth takes in all a church’s ministries, with a 360° perspective, and it includes children as well as adults.
Many children take a giant leap forward in their spiritual maturity during the week of VBS. But it shouldn’t stop there; that growth spurt should be a springboard into steady, long-term growth in Christ (2 Pet. 1:5–7). One excellent resource for getting there is Strong Curriculum.
Growth with Goals
Imagine a student who takes random tests at school, with no plan or goals, just because he or she feels like it. Today it’s a history test. Tomorrow it could be science, while history is forgotten for a week. This randomness would result in inconsistent growth in school. The same is true in Christian growth. As there are objectives in education, there should be objectives and goals in Christian growth.
Now imagine a teacher who never tries to get to know his or her students and bases all the learning activities on what he or she wants to teach, whether students are ready for it or not. The students feel lost, and their parents and principal might be frustrated too. This approach is especially dangerous in Christian growth. It’s crucial for teachers to know their students, just as Jesus tailored His ministry to individual people like the woman from Samaria (John 4:1–29). Growth can’t be boiled down to a formula; the Holy Spirit is central (Gal. 5:22–25), and dependence on God is key.
This is where Strong Curriculum comes in.
Strong Curriculum has been carefully built on the foundation of the Word of God, with a solid grasp of the goals for growth that are laid out in Scripture. Much of the philosophy is founded on the Biblical principles for Christian education from Strong Church by John Greening. This book also includes several assessment tools that can help leaders get to know their students and their development.
As students develop through Strong Curriculum, nothing is haphazard. The scope and sequence have been carefully planned, and Strong Curriculum helps ministries by providing clear ways to measure growth. Since parents are the ones who best know their children, the student take-home sheets include a “Measuring Growth” section with specific clues that parents can watch for to see if their children are growing as they should.
In the hands of a teacher who is prayerfully under the control of the Holy Spirit, a resource like Strong Curriculum leads to solid growth. And since tools are only tools, the power of God is essential for any of them to be effective.
A program like Strong Curriculum is a great option for a church that’s looking to connect what God has done at VBS with ongoing discipleship. There’ll be something for everyone in the family, with Strong Kids (available now), Strong Students (available Fall 2021), and Strong Adults (available Fall 2021). Christian growth is too important to be left to chance—we’d better depend on God for it and follow His ways to measure and develop it, which are described in His Word!
This article is the second of a three-part series, A VBS That Keeps Working.