Start the Year "Right"



It is not an unusual concept - we start off the New Year with a resolution. We start off a diet with a goal and a plan.  We start off travel with an itinerary and a destination.

Somehow, though, with our youth ministry efforts, we want every year to be a "fresh start," but we rarely do anything intentional to change ... anything.  While many parishes look at a new school year this way, without thinking it through, the "fresh start" is merely a slow revert back to status quo.

I am a huge believer in improving on things that worked well last year, and scrapping the things that did not work at all - but to do either well, you must start the year "right."

Here are a few things to consider:

(1) Curriculum is a resource, not handcuffs.

Whether you are using BtO resources or some other curriculum base, it is important to give your volunteers freedom and flexibility to alter the lesson plan to fit their group. Resources should standardize the lesson and theology, but allow volunteers to teach the material in different ways to engage different teens in their unique ways. More HERE.

(2) Sunday school must be "beyond academics"

It is a mistake to think of the progression of Sunday school "grades" the same way as academic school. There is no specific grade in which a person should memorize the Orthodox Creed, for example. And God forbid anyone thinks they need not read or re-read a Bible story merely because they read it before! Think through your goals for the year, but do not confine yourself to academic goals. More HERE.

(3) Whatever you do in your classroom, make sure it is on purpose (with intention).

BtO does not put games in the curriculum for the sake of games. Every ice breaker, every game, every activity should be connected to the lesson some how. We have such few precious moments with our teens before they are adults. Use those moments wisely and with intention. More HERE.

(4) Volunteers are not mere "teachers" they are friends, confidantes, and role-models.

Make sure your volunteers are equipped for success - give them resources they need and the support they require.

Check out our fall line-up of themes this year, and if you'd like to arrange a Zoom meeting to help your parish start "right" - please CONTACT US and I am happy to set that up for you!


And Here is a Sneak Peak of our Fall Line-Up: 

SEPTEMBER: Are You For Real?

This is a 4-week series on the importance of honesty - let your yes be yes and your no be no. Is that little white lie a big deal? When we lie who does it really hurt? Such a relatable topic and a great way to start off the year! Available HERE.


OCTOBER: Patriarchs of (Dis)Obedience

The Old Testament "Patriarchs" starting from Genesis had an old-familiar pattern of partial obedience, obedience until they got scared, or obedience until they thought they knew better. It predictably led to trouble each time. Most teens can relate to the rebellious attitude - why should they take the concept of obedience more seriously? Hopefully this series will give them something to think about. Available HERE.


NOVEMBER: The League of Justice

That's Not Fair! He didn't get what he deserved! We all have our pre-conceived notion of what "Justice" means / looks like. God has an upgraded "league" of justice. This month we will deconstruct what justice and truth mean to our Prince of Peace. Available HERE.


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