|Credit: Creative Commons (Brad Stabler)|
One of the hardest parts of leading a small group ministry is equipping your leaders with quality curriculum they can use in their groups. There have been a few occasions where I’ve written my own series from scratch because I couldn’t find what I was looking for from publishers. Still, that was really time-consuming. Even if you’ve got leaders who would feel comfortable writing their own curriculum, it’s a time consuming process that most leaders don’t have the time to do every week.
There’s a lot of great curriculum out there for small groups, much of it tailored for youth ministry. Here’s a problem: much of it is really, really expensive, especially if you’re going to use it once then put it on the shelf. What do you do if you’ve got a tight budget, but you really want to put something in the hands of your small group leaders that will help them be confident they are leading solid, Christ-centered discussions in their groups? Here are a few FREE ideas of curriculum that won’t cost you a penny:
Campus Alpha: The Alpha Course is a program that teaches the basics of the Christian faith. They’ve got a free version aimed at young adults and college students, and we’ve used it with our high school students. There is a “Youth Alpha” course, but I found that the Campus Alpha program was just the right level for our high school students. Free registration is required, but once you register you get access to all the videos, discussion guides, and even a video training session for your leaders. This is an amazing resource, and honestly, I can’t believe they give it away for free.
Sermons: One thing some of our groups have done is to download sermons from engaging, biblical preachers. Most churches post their sermons on their website to be downloaded or streamed for free, and many provide discussion guides as well. If you’re looking to do a small group night or series on a particular topic, why not see if a solid preacher has preached on the topic? If you’re not sure where to start, I would recommend Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Perry Noble at NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch.tv based out of Oklahoma.
Preposterous Small Group Videos: This is one that I haven’t used myself, but I love the idea and the generosity of David Dorn and Ryan Staples, who produce the videos. The videos look like great discussion starters, and they already have thirteen lessons produced.
“Freebie Friday” on Life in Student Ministry: Giving away “freebies” is pretty commonplace in the youth ministry online community these days, but I’m pretty sure that Tim Schmoyer (who runs the Life in Student Ministry site) was one of the first to do it on a regular basis, just because he wanted to provide helpful resources to youth workers. Many of the Freebie Fridays on his site have to do with small group lessons and series. You may have to tweak some of the lessons to fit the context of your group, but this is a great option if you want to do something that’s not “canned” but you don’t want to have to start from scratch.
What are some other FREE small group resources you’ve found?