by Ryan Millard 

At Relevant Student Ministry we use XP3 curriculum to drive our programming and small groups for our mid week gathering. A lot of factors played into that decision, but the biggest of those is the freedom it creates for us to focus on other things that need our attention. I don’t have to create series graphics. I don’t have to write small group questions. I don’t have to create a bumper video. Those things are done for me and I get to focus on making the message work for the students who come every week. I get to focus on recruiting new volunteers and pouring into our existing volunteers!

But at the beginning of this process I did run into a little bit of a problem. If you have ever used XP3 then you know they provide a teaching script for you to use week to week. When we first started using this resource I REALLY struggled. I felt this intense pressure to stay on point with the script so that the small groups could be set up for success. I was trying to go verbatim from the script. And because of that pressure, I really had a rough start. My first 5 or 6 six messages were a train wreck. I spent so much time trying to memorize the scripts that I never internalized the thought it was trying to convey. So the message came across dry.

To be honest, my confidence took quite a blow. So I went back to the drawing board and started to process through how to make this curriculum that I loved work for me and my teaching style, so that it could in turn better fit my context and what we do during our mid week gathering. It took me a while but I was able to develop a process t
I have summed up my process in 4 words:hat worked for me and gave me the freedom to embrace the curriculum while also allowing the creativity in me to come out and put its stamp on the message.

Read – Every Thursday one of the first things I do is read the message for the next week. This is just to go ahead and get my mind wrapped around the main thought. Then I begin to process how I will talk about it and what the broad strokes of the talk will be.

Wrestle – I want to wrestle the bottom line to the ground. These thoughts apply to my life if I let them. I don’t want to communicate a thought to students that suggests I am speaking only to them and not to me as well. I want to tweak how I say what I say so they can clearly understand a potentially huge idea. So I take some time and wrestle with and internalize the main thought of the message. For me, I can more clearly communicate what I am able to filter through my own experiences. I usually give this step a couple of days.

Process – I process a lot through writing. So on Monday afternoon, I write it down. I follow the same format that XP3 uses—Introduction, Tension, Truth, Application, and Landing. This is a guide for me as I begin to write and think through how I am going to communicate the bottom line. This generally takes me a couple of hours and is a very rough draft. I just write as it comes out and whittle it down later.

Finish –  This is Tuesday afternoon for about 3–4 hours. I go through and I really whittle down the bottom line, then I create my outline. I do the talk one time in my office with the door shut and no distractions. After that, I make any final changes that I need to make and then I revisit it for about 30 minutes on Wednesday, just to make sure its fresh.

So all in all, I start the process on Thursday morning and I finish it on Wednesday afternoon. That may not be a process that works for you. The point is if you really want to unleash the power and potential of the curriculum, then figure out your process for molding it to fit you and your students and don’t feel the pressure to conform yourself so you can better fit it. The XP3 creative team designs the curriculum to allow you to make it better fit what you do and how you do it—and that’s what they encourage you to do!

I hope this helps you as you develop a process for making XP3 fit into what you currently do to serve your particular group of students!

How have you customized XP3 Students in order to fit your context?


I have served with students for 7 years and loved every minute of it. I have heart for seeing students connect to a big God so they can do big things.

I would love to connect with you!

Ryan Millard

Family pastor at in Clarksville TN


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