If you’ve been around Orange, you’ve probably heard the words “scope” and “cycle” thrown around a lot. They’re basically the words we use to describe the roadmap we have for our curriculum.
- Our scope is the comprehensive plan that prioritizes what you teach and when. It basically tells you what we’re teaching now with our curriculum and what we’re planning to teach in the future. It’s the big picture curriculum plan for XP3.
- Our cycle is the plan to recycle or revisit what you teach. It’s how we circle back to reinforce the topics we’ve covered to make sure what we’re teaching sticks effectively. It’s the way we think about what’s ahead for XP3.
The Cycle is really important because you can’t make kids show up more consistently. You can’t guarantee that they’ll be with you each and every week. And you also can’t make more hours in the week for yourself. You can’t build in my more time to reinforce what you’re teaching to each and every student who may or may not be with you. But you can make the time you have matter more by recycling and reinforcing the things that matter most during the middle and high school phase. That’s exactly what your Cycle does! Learn more about scope and cycle and view our yearly plan here.
So if your Scope prioritizes what you will teach and your Cycle strategically reinforces those principles again and again in new ways, then developing a Scope & Cycle is a balancing act of both strategy and structure and flexibility and freedom.
And because we believe that both are so vital to the content in your student ministry, we want to give you a little glimpse into exactly how we came up with our Scope & Cycle, why we do it the way we do it, and what we’re planning to cover in our curriculum Scope & Cycle.
Why Develop A Scope & Cycle
We run on a three-year Scope & Cycle here at XP3 because we want each concept we cover to be repeated to students at least twice during both middle and high school. This timeline is huge when it comes to faith development because, as you know, we don’t learn everything we need to know the first time we hear it. We don’t immediately and forever apply every point from every talk after we hear it. In fact, we often discover something new in a passage of Scripture when we’ve read it a hundred times before! When you approach your curriculum in terms of a Scope & Cycle, you’re giving your students a chance to revisit the same core truths with fresh meaning and perspective in every new phase of their lives.
We’ve found that three years is the sweet spot for this rotation. Any more than three years and some topics will never get repeated, but any less will leave little time for you to cover every topic a student needs to hear before they graduate.
How We Created The Scope & Cycle
The XP3 team started off the process of developing our Scope & Cycle sitting around a table together and reading the entire Bible.
Yes, you read that right.
Book by book. Chapter by chapter.
We read the whole thing as a team and in the process, pulled out every single story, character, or verse that we absolutely wanted students to hear and know through our curriculum. As you might have imagined, we ended up with creative boards that were full of passages of scripture. Like you, we have a lot that we wish a student would leave their youth ministry knowing.
It took a lot of hours and a lot of days, but when we finally finished, we had everything we needed to head into our final step of planning the scope & cycle.
The 9 Filters for Narrowing Down What We Teach
This is where it gets complicated! I mean, how do you narrow it down to exactly what you want to include in the finalized Scope & Cycle? No pressure, right?
Well, we can tell you that we considered every subject covered in our Scope & Cycle through these filters to decide on exactly what we want to talk to your students about every three years.
Jesus said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV).
Simply put, XP3 believes what Jesus said matters most are the things that matter most. So we begin with the Greatest Commandment broken down into three major relationships: love of God, love of others, and love of yourself.
Every series in our Scope & Cycle seeks to amplify one or more of these relationships.
Nine Core Theological Insights
The truth is, a student’s relationship with God, with others and with themselves can be life-changing, but only if they understand those relationships through a Biblical context. So, in addition to the big three relationships, there are nine core theological insights XP3 works to make to make sure a student won’t miss.
Six key responses
As you already know, we’ve got to be sure students don’t just learn or believe the right things, but that these truths can transform their lives. In other words, we want them to do something in response to what they’ve heard. And while there are a lot of specific ways that God can move us to respond to His truth, there are few big categories where we want to see a response in a student’s life: Those are:
- Developing an Authentic Faith
- Making Wise Choices
- Recognizing and honoring God’s Ultimate Authority
- Practicing Sexual Integrity
- Experiencing Healthy Relationships with family and friends
- Serving Others in their home, community, and world
Family and teenage rhythms
We talked through the natural rhythm of a family, the flow of a student’s school year and the timeline of their development to determine which topics needed to be covered and when. Our plan is that the flow of topics in each year Scope & Cycle would match the flow of a typical teenager’s year.
Obviously, Easter and Christmas are staples in the Winter and Spring seasons at church. So in an effort to bring structure to how we approach these important holidays each year, we strategically organize our approach to them through three angles: generosity, service, and wonder.
Character and Book Study
There is a minimum of one character study and one book study per year. We left these as general book and character studies so we don’t always cover the same books and same characters. After all, there are too many good ones to choose from!
We’ve included a series on certain aspects of sexual integrity every Spring. We’ll rotate through topics like healthy sexuality, sex, and dating. Why Spring? Because that’s when students are the oldest they will possibly be in their specific grade, making it an easier time developmentally to cover the subject.
We’ve also included a series dedicated to serving others every year. It’s a huge topic for students to grasp in regards to their faith! We look at serving through the lens of topics like injustice, passion, obedience, and more. And even though we only cover it once a year as a whole, we talk a lot about serving in the application section of many of our series.
Finally, we built in a little bit of breathing room into our Scope & Cycle, allowing certain spots to be reserved for relevant culture topics. Because we can’t predict when tough topics might be relevant and when, we leave the flexibility to cover these culture topics at different points throughout the Scope & Cycle so we can look at them through the lens of Scripture.
So there you have it—the how, the why, and the what of our XP3 Scope & Cycle. We really believe in this approach to teaching and we hope that you will, too! Because just like our lives are made healthier by balance, so are our ministries. Following a Scope & Cycle offers your ministry the balance it needs to ensure you’re teaching your students what they need when they need it and in a way that they can put to use in their lives as they grow.
Want to learn more about XP3 Students Curriculum or want to try it for free? Visit ThinkOrange.com/XP3
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