The Children Desiring God team recently had the privilege of meeting with our ministry partners in the Atlanta, Georgia area for an IMPACT conference. Many were new to CDG’s vision, philosophy, and resources. There was a lot of information to absorb from the conference and take home to their local churches. And then there were all those curriculum resources to browse through and examine!
I thought it might be helpful to acquaint newer friends of CDG with an overview of our curriculum resources—what we call our particular distinctions. Children Desiring God curriculum resources aim to promote…
- A Big Vision of God
Our curricula aims to acquaint children with the incomparable majesty of the triune God by digging deep into His divine character as revealed throughout Scripture. We believe that children should be taught the beauty and grandeur of His manifold perfections. In completing our scope and sequence, children will have learned and explored, with increasing depth, more than 20 distinct attributes of God.
- The Centrality of God in All Things
Every lesson in every curriculum aims to magnify the triune God above all—His name, fame, honor, and glory. We believe children will find their greatest joy when they esteem God most. Therefore, the lessons use language, illustrations, and applications that point children toward God-adoration. Furthermore, the curricula challenge children to see that every aspect of life is to fall under centrality of God and His sovereign rule.
- Doctrinal Depth, Accuracy, and Clarity
We believe deep biblical truths and doctrines can and should be taught to children. Doing so requires teaching truths in an accurate, clear, yet child-friendly manner. To that end, every lesson in our curriculum is carefully reviewed by a highly qualified and experienced theological editor.
- Faithfulness to the Gospel
The central message of the Bible culminates in the Person and work of Jesus—the Gospel—in which He brings sinners near to God. The Gospel is simple, yet amazingly profound, freely offered, yet extremely costly, and should be communicated as such. We believe this is best done by repeatedly drawing attention to essential Gospel truths found throughout Scripture: God is the sovereign Creator and Ruler, God is holy, man is sinful, God is just, God is merciful, Jesus is holy and righteous, Jesus died to save sinners, etc. Every lesson presents one or more of these essential truths, and every curriculum, as a whole, clearly and explicitly presents the Gospel to children.
- A Serious and Sober View of Sin
In order to fully embrace the Gospel, children must first come to an appropriate understanding of the true nature of sin and the offence that it is to God’s holiness. Sin is no trifling matter. It is not simply a matter of “mistakes” or disobeying rules. Its consequences go far beyond a broken friendship with God. Our curriculum takes our total depravity very seriously, as well as God’s righteous wrath and condemnation. Therefore, lessons dealing with sin and God’s judgment use texts, illustrations, and explanations that convey these truths in an appropriate tone andmanner. Children are challenged to think deep and hard about their standing before God and Jesus’ call to repent and believe.
- A Scope and Sequence that Aims to Present the Whole Counsel of God
We believe that in order for children to have a balanced perspective on God, His purposes, and how we are to respond to Him, they must be presented the whole counsel of God. They must see both the “big picture” and the particulars of Scripture. Therefore, our scope and sequence incorporates the following theological disciplines:
- A chronological presentation of Bible stories—acquainting children with a historical overview of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
- Biblical theology—emphasizing the “meta-narrative” of the Bible, which follows the historical/redemptive work of Christ.
- Systematic theology—teaching children the major doctrines of the Christian faith.
- Explicit Gospel—giving a proper summary of the key essential truths of the Gospel.
- Moral instruction—providing biblical instruction regarding God’s commands and ways, and our obedience to them.
- Book studies—studying individual books of the Bible using inductive Bible study tools.
Each particular curriculum will emphasize one or more of these disciplines during the course of the study, but through the entirety of our scope and sequence, we aim to have a balanced approach—not neglecting one discipline at the expense of another.
- A Rigorous Study of the Bible and Training of the Mind
We believe that if children are to embrace and live out the Gospel, they must have a right knowledge of God and His purposes, as revealed in His inerrant and authoritative Word. Therefore, children must be taught to properly study and interpret God’s Word. Using an age-appropriate, step-by-step approach, the lesson format trains students to interact with the text using proper Bible study methods. This process begins in earnest in first grade and increases in depth and rigor as children age and mature. Furthermore, we incorporate an interactive teaching style, carefully laid out for teachers, that serves to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills aimed at a deeper understanding of the things of God and the ability to rightly apply the Word of God.
- Age-Appropriate Visuals and Illustrations that Enhance the Learning Experience
Key truths are often more easily grasped and better understood when explained in conjunction with concrete visuals and illustrations. Our curricula offer numerous color visuals and suggested illustrations to enhance the learning process. In so doing, children are provided with opportunities to be actively involved in the lesson. These visuals and illustrations are age-appropriate, yet also treat the subject matter in an honoring manner.
- Personal Application that Encourages a Proper Response in the Mind, Heart, and Will
Knowledge of biblical truth is not enough. We are called to rightly respond to the truth. Each lesson in our curricula ends by encouraging children to personally embrace and apply the truths learned. Through carefully constructed questions, we offer adult leaders practical, specific suggestions to challenge the children in their faith and spiritual walk. Our goal is to encourage genuine faith that is increasingly evidenced by love for God and spiritual fruit and good works. We also offer questions that specifically challenge unbelievers to consider the truths of Scripture.
- Excitement for God’s Global Purposes
We desire that our children and students come to know, love, and actively participate in God’s mission among the unsaved and unreached. Every curriculum includes specific, age-appropriate components that focus on evangelism and world missions.
- Maximizing Classroom Time with Biblical Teaching and Spiritual Discussion
We believe that time in the classroom should be structured to emphasize biblical teaching and application. However, depending on the age group and time availability, additional hands-on activities may be warranted. Therefore, each lesson suggests further optional activities for the classroom. They have been developed in such a way to either reinforce lesson themes or introduce some other valuable faith building endeavor: missions, Bible skills, Bible memory, etc.
- Assisting Parents in Discipling their Children
We strongly believe that God has ordained parents as the primary teachers and disciplers of their children. The church is to strengthen and assist parents in this mission. To that end, we provide parent resource pages to accompany every lesson. Not only do these pages outline the Scripture and main themes presented in the lesson, but they also give suggestions for further spiritual discussion in the home, as well as simple activities to reinforce the lesson.