What We Teach & Why
We have set goals for our Grow ministry’s role in making disciples. All of our teaching is rooted in scripture; the inerrant Word of God.
These goals for teaching are not prescribed specifically in Scripture but we believe they represent a good aim for our ministries.
In education circles, a “scope and sequence” is a tool intended to list all the ideas, concepts, and topics that will be covered for a specific class or age range. While this section is not as comprehensive as these tools, it will help us set goals for our Department Leads.
We do not expect that students will have a full understanding of various concepts, but we want to aim for them to understand them in a way that fits for their age and stage. To clarify what each age can understand, we’d encourage you to take a look at the prior section on Life Stage & Human Development.
Every age-focused-ministry builds on the next.
So, if a student enters our church part way through, it’s great for small group leaders to find creative ways to ensure their students understand the basics that were taught in the prior ministry. Additionally, if you have a student that is advanced, you can begin to help them get ahead and even learn what is coming next.
Interests + Hurts + Needs
As we lay out some of our goals in teaching, we know that this is just a fraction of the things we will cover in our ministries. As leaders, we can consider where our kids and students are in their understanding of Biblical truth, which will be informed by their Interests, Hurts, and Needs. This way we can best contextualize timeless truth and point them to God’s Word, where they can find hope for their present circumstances.
Something that currently captures someone’s attention
- Example: Sports, Music, etc.
Something that is causing pain
- Example: Bullying, Broken Families
Something that is unfulfilled, whether that is known or unknown
- Example: Identity in Christ, Unconditional Love
Throughout Jesus’ ministry we find Him consistently addressing an individual’s or group’s Interests, Hurts, and Needs. A great example of this is in John 4 when Jesus encountered the woman at the well and we see Jesus address her Interest, Hurt, and Needs.
Interest: Water at the well
Hurt: Adulterous relationships
Needs: The Messiah and true worship
Regularly throughout a school year, pastors will consider the needs of kids and students to assess their ministry as a whole. You can personally use this tool to consistently consider the needs of your own small group and even share them with your Department Lead.
Know + Experience + Do
We’ve broken down our teaching goals into three categories; Know, Experience, and Do. These are goals for the end of their time in that age group. We believe that we should aim to develop well-rounded disciples of Christ, which means that this is more than seeing students retain facts.
We have not listed a salvation or baptism experience in any of the ages or stages below. At Arbor Road, every age and stage will hear an invitation to put their trust in Christ for salvation. We believe that the Spirit of God will draw a person to Himself on His schedule and we pray actively that it happens at a young age. We know that without faith, what a student can Know, Experience, and Do is incomplete.
We believe that families are the primary disciplers of their children. To that end, we want to focus on what we are imparting at church and how we can support parents.
Some goals in the Experience section list family, and while many children are brought to church by their parents, we also know that many children have another caring adult inviting them
- In those cases, we encourage other family members (i.e. grandparents, aunt/uncle) to step in as a great alternative relationship as we share Christ with the entire family through our ministries
In the event that a child was not invited by their family, it is great to find other families to step in; here are two alternatives:
- The family that invited the child/student – often the parent of the child/student’s friend
- A Trusted Arbor Road Family – another couple who has been through this Youth Training and can invite them to foster these experiences for this child
We mention an event called a Rite of Passage in the Know + Experience + Do outline. This is a time for a parent to commemorate a child’s growth. From a family event to a special trip, these experiences celebrate how a young person is growing into Christian adulthood. Our Adult Ministries will work with parents to help them lead these events in their child’s life. While this is not the responsibility of a Small Group Leader, it is great for you to affirm a parent’s leadership.
Kids | Birth – Kindergarten
- Creation: God made everything including me and everything He made was perfect.
- Fall: People chose to disobey God so they were separated from Him.
- Redemption: God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross so that I can be forgiven.
- New Creation: Because of Jesus we can be together with God now and forever.
- Terms: Love, Bible, Choice, Prayer
- Relationships: Father & Mother
- Understanding of God: Creator, Heavenly Father, Jesus, Son of God
- Creation: Genesis 1-4
- Incarnation: Luke 2
- Cross & Resurrection: Mark 15-16
- Church: Psalm 100
- Reading the Bible together
- Family sharing their basic testimony
- Love from small group leaders
- Friendships with other kids in church
- Rhythm of weekly weekend attendance
- Shared events with parents
- Worship: Sing songs about Jesus
- Bible Study: Suggest Bible reading with family
- Evangelism: Identify key words of Gospel basics and repeat definition
- Prayer: Able to pray out loud
- Serve: Regularly assisting the teacher
- Faith Conversation: Tell family what they learned in church
Kids | 1st-3rd Grade
- Creation: God created the world and it was originally perfect. He is the Lord over all creation who made everyone and knows us personally.
- Fall: Everyone has chosen to disobey God which is called sin. The punishment for sin is death.
- Redemption: God sent His son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross. He took my place so I can be forgiven of my sin.
- New Creation: Jesus beat death, and those who put their trust in Him can be together with God, experiencing relationship today on earth and with Him forever in heaven.
- Terms: Grace, Faith, God’s Big Story, Obey, Salvation, Prayer
- Relationships: Marriage & Family, Friendships, Leaders
- Understanding of God: Creator, Heavenly Father, Jesus, Son of God
- Creation: Psalm 8
- Incarnation: Matthew 1-2
- Cross & Resurrection: Matthew 26-28
- Church: Matthew 28
- Talking about what God has been teaching them
- A Worship Service Environment (i.e. Christmas Concert)
- Service Event
- Small Group Leader as a trusted and caring Adult
- Friendships at church with a common purpose
- Rhythm of Weekly Mid-Week Attendance
- Worship: Celebrate Jesus through singing songs
- Bible Study: Memorize the organization and books of the Bible and read the Bible alone
- Evangelism: Understand the Gospel basics and share with friends & family
- Prayer: Present requests to God in a small group and in their own personal prayer
- Serve: Personally give to help others in need (i.e. Operation Christmas Child)
- Faith Conversation: Ask questions about God to family & small group leader, receive pastoral counseling if needed
Students | 4th-5th Grade
- Creation: God created the world and it was originally perfect. He is Lord over all creation and made every person and knows us personally.
- Fall: Everyone personally chose to disobey God with their thoughts, words, and actions. This earns everyone the punishment for sin, which is death and eternal separation from God.
- Redemption: God loves us and wants to save us, so He sent His son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross for me. Jesus did not stay dead but rose three days later and in Him I have forgiveness of sin and new life.
- New Creation: Jesus beat death and was resurrected. Those who put their trust in Him can be in relationship with God; experiencing his presence today on earth and be with Him forever in heaven.
- Terms: God’s Plan, God is Sovereign, Trust, Freedom, Baptism, Resurrection
- Relationships: Brothers & Sisters in Christ
- Understanding of God: Holy Spirit, Trinity
- Creation: Psalm 139
- Incarnation: Philippians 2:6-7
- Cross & Resurrection: Philippians 2:8-11
- Church: Acts 2:42-47
- Talking with parents about what God has been teaching them
- Rite of passage trip with parent
- Fellowship with friends at church
- Special events with and without parents
- Worship: Participate in worship that is not dedicated to music
- Bible Study: Habit of personal quiet time and find personal application
- Evangelism: Invite friend to church and engage in a follow-up conversation
- Prayer: Conversational prayer
- Serve: Introduction to student leadership
- Faith Conversation: Initiate conversation about faith with family member
Students | 6th-8th Grade
- Creation: God is eternal and created a perfect world for His glory. He is Lord over all creation, made every person, and knows us intimately.
- Fall: Everyone is born into sin and personally chose to disobey God with their thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes. On their own, people deserve God’s wrath, which is death and eternal separation from God in a real place called Hell.
- Redemption: God the Father loves us and wants to save us, so He sent His son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross for me. Jesus did not stay dead but rose three days later and in Him I have forgiveness of sin and new life.
- New Creation: Jesus beat death, was resurrected, and ascended back to heaven to prepare an eternal place for believers. If I put my trust in Jesus, I can be reconciled to God and experience freedom from sin today and eternity with Him in a real place called Heaven.
- Terms: Holiness, Justification, Sanctification, Reliability of Scripture
- Relationships: Husband & Wife, Non-Believing Friends
- Understanding of God: Roles of the Spirit, Relationships of the Trinity
- Creation: John 1
- Incarnation: John 1
- Cross & Resurrection: John 18-20
- Church: Ephesians
- Additional Series: Judges
- Second Rite of Passage
- Local Mission Together (i.e. Rescue Mission)
- Missions Trip in Southern California
- Ownership of their Ministry
- Worship: Regular multi-generational worship service monthly
- Bible Study: Habit of Bible study with basic hermeneutic
- Evangelism: Share testimony & ability to lead a friend through the Gospel
- Prayer: Habit of regular daily prayer
- Serve: Monthly volunteering in All-Church ministry
- Faith Conversation: Ongoing conversations about Faith with a parent
Students | 9th-12th Grade
- Creation: God is eternal and created a perfect world for His glory. He is Lord over all creation and worthy of our worship. He sovereignly made every person and knows us intimately.
- Fall: We are all sinners by nature and choice. Alone, people are enemies of God and deserving of God’s wrath, which is death and eternal separation from God in a real place called Hell.
- Redemption: God the Father loves us and wants to save us, so He sent His son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross in my place to satisfy God’s wrath. After three days, Jesus resurrected, and in Him I have new life and forgiveness of sin. He is redeeming my flesh and making me more like Christ.
- New Creation: Jesus was resurrected, ascended, and will one day return and reign as King in a new heaven and on a new earth. Those who He has chosen put their trust in Him, and are therefore reconciled to God and experience freedom in Christ. My eternity with Him in a real place called Heaven is sealed and nothing can separate me from my new identity in Him.
- Terms: Hope in Suffering; Missional Living; Law & The Gospel
- Relationships: Employee/Employer; Role as Citizen/Neighbor
- Understanding of God: One True God; Reigning King
- Creation: Romans 1
- Incarnation: Hebrews 10
- Cross & Resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15
- Church: Revelation 21 & 1 Corinthians
- Additional Series: Hebrews
- Third rite of passage
- Missions trip outside Southern California
- Opportunity to serve missionally outside the U.S.
- Worship: Multi-generational Worship Service 3 times per month
- Bible Study: Identify false teaching and respond with grace & truth
- Evangelism: Missional living and ability to lead a stranger through the Gospel
- Prayer: Healthy view of prayer and fasting
- Serve: Committed to weekly area of service
- Faith Conversation: Talking with a parent as disciples discerning the Will of God