Every couple of years in ministry I’ve had to discern if it is time to change our faith-formation curriculum. As a catechetical leader, I never want to change a program just for the sake of changing. Over the years, I have kept a few things in mind that help me decide if I’m choosing the right curriculum for the right reasons.
1. Remember the community. Deciding which curriculum program to use has great implications. Listen to those who are using the material, both students and catechists alike. Form an advisory team made up of teachers, parents, and other members of the community to help you. The wisdom and insight received from this team and can be invaluable.
2. Remember your catechists. Most catechists do not have any formal theological training. In fact, many of your volunteer catechists might feel ill-equipped or unworthy to teach the faith. Catechists ought to feel confident in sharing the faith with young people. Evaluate your curriculum from their perspective. Are the materials written in a way that catechists can easily understand? Are the lessons laid out in a way that is easy to comprehend and implement?
3. Remember your audience. Many of the students that we have in our programs come to us after being in the classroom all day. They are looking for something that keeps their interest, challenges them, and speaks to their maturity level. The materials we use to catechize should inspire our young people. In this age of exceptional digital and print media, we need to use engaging resources that tell the story of Jesus Christ and challenge us to live this fantastic faith.
4. Remember the families. The curriculum we choose is not just for our students, but also their families. Many of our parents have not had any catechesis since they were young children and are often not sure how to talk about matters of faith in the home. Consider what resources are available to support the domestic church. We are not only teaching the students who are in front of us; we are inspiring and empowering families to live faith-filled lives.
Our focus needs to be on how we can use the material and the resources we have to teach and communicate Christ in ways that are easily understood. We must ask if we are engaging our young people and challenging them to put what they learn into action so that they can grow closer to Jesus Christ and his Church.