It's That Time! 2023-2024 Curriculum Resources
The middle of summer is the perfect time to think about and really purposefully map out your youth ministry mission and goals for the 2023-2024 school year. Bridges to Orthodoxy would love to help you do just that!
Regardless of your parish size, budget, or overall needs, it is important that every decision, every tool, every resource used be done with intention.
We hope you find this blog post filled with information and links to valuable Orthodox resources helpful! If we left someone out - we promise it was unintentional! Please let us know about you so we can share your amazing resources next time!
- First of all, if you haven't created a mission-statement for your youth ministry effort - please start there. It makes little sense to pick resources if you do not know what your end goal is! To help you with that end, check out the 5-tiers of a well-rounded Youth Ministry Program in my book HERE.
- Second, BtO compiled a list of pan-Orthodox resources that exist out there - some are free, some are not - some are created by a particular Archdiocese, some by private entities, but all appropriate for connecting the youth to the Orthodox Church. If I personally tried the curriculum, I will try to add in my commentary, but largely these (other then BtO of course) are just resources I know exist.
BRIDGES TO ORTHODOXY
Of course, we will start with BtO! Our 2023-2024 catalog is live and available now. We also have a sample pack for you to take a look at sample lessons (link is also below). The themes are appropriate for Sunday School lessons ranging from 30-60 minutes and can be adapted for 7th-12th grade. A series can also be adapted into a retreat or a fellowship meeting (such as GOYA or SOYO), and we also have a collection of retreat materials called "Difficult Conversations" on our site. There are numerous price / membership options to get bulk discounting. Feel free to contact us if you are at all worried about cost, and we can create, at a minimum, a trial period discount code for you! If you think this is a good fit for your parish, please don't let money be the reason you do not try Bridges to Orthodoxy!
Other Vendors, aside from BtO that are worth checking out:
(1) Faithtree Resources (Teens and Young Adults)
They have a pan-Orthodox mission and their "Relationship Project" series was very well received! Most of their series are made for teens or young adults, but definitely a great organization worth checking out for materials. HERE.
(2) 101 Lessons from the Bible. (All Ages)
This is a brand-new program that is designed for Sunday School from preK all the way through adults to learn the Bible all together. It is a very cool concept and I'm excited to check out their program. With 101 lessons, this could potentially be the curriculum for multiple years!
Keep your eyes HERE for updates of when it will be available.
(3) Coptic Dad & Mom (PreK and Young Elementary)
This website is a gem. It has a lot of great resources for preschool-aged classes and perhaps younger elementary - such as "Our Heavenly Friends." Check them out HERE.
(4) Orthodox Journeys (K-12th Grade)
Looks like this vendor has Sunday school curriculum as well as home school resources - and a lot of different options to purchase a full year, individual units, activities, and so forth. Check them out HERE.
If Budget is a concern for your parish, here are some FREE Orthodox Resources.
(1) Be the Bee (Teens)
Free Video Series with Discussion Questions. Done by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Best suited for teen ages and provides about 20ish minutes of content (a 5-10 minute video and some discussion questions thereafter). The videos are very well done and anyone who has used BtO for awhile knows that we occasionally will link to them in our lessons.
Check them out here.
(2) The Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America (All Ages)
Their website has some useful resources that are FREE and span various age groups.
- "Who Do You Say that I Am?" (About 15 lessons)
- And many other topics.
I cannot comment on my experience personally, but it seems like a valuable resource to check out if your parish's budget is a concern.
(3) Coptic Orthodox Southern Diocese (of America) (Elementary)
Called "Children of the Light," this on-line database is FREE and has materials for all of elementary. It is available HERE
(4) Dr. Pat's Free Sunday School Curriculum (All ages)
Although you will be required to create a subscription, the materials are FREE and for all ages (elementary, middle, and high)
(5) Grape & Vine Coptic Orthodox Education (Preschool - 10th grade)
This Coptic Orthodox Site I believe is part of a Church or Diocese in North Carolina ... it appears they add in new resources every year to include confession guides, volunteer training (i.e., "pre-servants" training), and also a free Sunday school curriculum. I do not have any experience using their materials, but everything is open to the public and available HERE.
(6) YouTube channel with "Orthodox Chants and Prayers” for kids
A great supplement for any curriculum! Available HERE
Whatever resources you use, it is always my philosophy that curriculum is a tool and not handcuffs. Take the time to find the best tool for the job and I pray that your ministry will equip your volunteers for a great year!
If we can offer any training, guidance, or other information - please reach out! We would be honored to partnering with you!
Blessing and prayers for a great and fruitful year!