Yesterday I talked about the difficulty that youth ministers and others face who have the task of choosing Bible class curriculum for teenagers. I discussed three different common approaches to finding curriculum, but also mentioned that each of these has significant drawbacks.
Today I want to write a little about Hashtag Media, which is a new effort that I see as a creative solution to the problems I talked about yesterday.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may remember me talking about the Hashtag Youth Series, which was a free video-based youth summer series which was released last year. Hashtag Media was launched in early October as a companion project to the Youth Series, and proceeds from Hashtag Media’s resources are reinvested in future Youth Series and other projects.
All of this is pretty exciting, because the products that Hashtag Media have released so far have virtually all of the advantages I talked about yesterday from the different curriculum types without any of the drawbacks:
- The material is created by youth ministers from churches of Christ, which means that distinctive doctrines aren’t ignored—I don’t have to worry that the significance of baptism will be diminished or that the lessons will implore teens to come to salvation through a sinner ’s prayer method which isn’t talked about in Scripture.
- Written by professional ministers also means that the content of the lessons is high quality.
- The material is created to be Christ-centered, which means it still has a “big picture” focus that is very important for teens.
- The lessons are fundamentally biblical; the current series we are studying is from the Book of Ephesians and uses an expository verse-by-verse approach which encourages the students to really dig into the text (it is excellent).
- More than just the content of the lesson, the overall product is very good: the graphic design is excellent, and the lessons come with starter activities and illustrations which help bring the biblical message to life.
- It is affordable. The longer quarter-length series are only about $50, and they have recently rolled out the option of buying a year’s subscription which means that you can get all the new material which comes out in 2013 for only $200. These prices are very competitive (read: cheap), and knowing that all of the proceeds go toward creating more material makes it even easier to justify.
- The creators of Hashtag want to increase the size of their curriculum library, and solicit the help of others who would be interested in submitting Bible class series to them. I appreciate the collaborative spirit of this project and will likely send them some of my own material at some point.
The only drawback I really see at this point is that currently, Hashtag’s offerings are a bunch of stand-alone class series which aren’t connected as part of a larger curriculum plan. To me that isn’t a huge problem (right now I am just using Hashtag products to fill in the gaps of other curriculum plans that I have), but perhaps as this project continues, they will put more thought in this direction.*
On the whole, I am really excited about the potential of Hashtag Media, and am grateful to the team of youth ministers behind its creation. If you are a youth minister or the person at your church in charge of selecting Bible class material for teens, I would encourage you to take a look at what they have to offer.
*Also, all of Hashtag Media’s resources are exclusively in an electronic, PDF format. Some people might see this as a drawback, but I don’t: you can get the resources immediately through email once you order them, and everything is going digital anyway. Before we know it, “class books” will be a thing of the past.