or·gan·ic -adjective- “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents….characterized by continuous or natural development.”
How can this apply to Bible curriculum for a church?
As church planting consultants, one of our jobs is to help church planting teams plan and organize a curriculum project that will result in written curriculum for the churches to have and use. This curriculum should be a guide for the church to understanding the “grand narrative” of the Bible. Traditionally, missionaries have done this by writing the curriculum themselves, and then checking the curriculum in a number of ways with a different local people.
This is a picture of Jared and I (church planting consultants) with Rocky (church planter). Several years ago Rocky and the Kankanaey churches decided that it was time to have curriculum that the churches could use for both outreach and discipleship. There are a number of believers and Bible teachers in the Kankanaey churches, so Rocky, along with the church planting consultants and a Bible translation consultant, came up with a plan to attempt an “organic” curriculum project. That is, the Kankanaey would write the curriculum themselves. Rocky’s role wouldn’t be as an author, but as a facilitator.
This decision meant that Rocky and the team were going to have to try a lot of new things. From a consultant’s perspective this was risky. But after almost six months of curriculum development, the results have been better than anyone could have expected. The first drafts of the curriculum have been checked for comprehension with naive checkers, and it has been clearly understood. Also, Rocky has started a trial run of teaching the curriculum in an outreach. Not only is this group understanding the big picture story of the Bible, but the group is actually growing! People are hearing about this new curriculum and they are getting excited about it.
What excites us the most about this new way of doing curriculum is that it will be much more natural than curriculum that was authored by a foreign missionary. We are learning things that we can use to help other teams. Please pray for Rocky and his team as they continue to develop “organic” Bible curriculum for the church.