Don’t look now, but 2020—that seemingly never-ending year—is almost behind us. Before we know it, Christmas will be here and we’ll be rolling into 2021. 

Are you ready for it? 

No really—are any of us ready for it? 

It seems like “prepared” is a nice little idea from 2019 that’s been trickier to find in 2020. 

In the next few paragraphs, I’d like to help you feel a bit more prepared to plan your teaching calendar this winter with XP3.

But if—more than that—you’re looking to be prepared to take on the future of ministry . . . I’d invite you to join us at the Youth Ministry Exchange this October. We wanted to create a place to process and respond to what’s happening in ministry right now. I hope to (digitally) see you there! 

Okay, on to what I’m most excited about . . . new curriculum. 

New Winter Series from XP3 Middle School 

Trending: Words

Our new standalone Trending series is on the topic of words. We’re in the heat of an election season, and no doubt your middle schoolers are going to hear their parents and others talking about issues—quite possibly in a very heated way. This series is designed to lean into that tension so that middle schoolers can process what they’re hearing and understand how powerful words can be.

It’s Personal

Middle schoolers are becoming more aware of what it looks like to have faith—to not just know about God but to know Him personally. Their challenge for this series is to make their faith personal. Practically speaking, we challenge them to begin learning names of everyone in their classes, on the bus, in their neighborhood, and so on. Those people’s experience of God could be greatly affected by the people around them—and we want the middle schoolers to see that truth. 

You might also be thinking, “Isn’t that a book?” Yep. And we’ve put together a bundle to help you give “It’s Personal” to your small group leaders and volunteers before starting the season. It’s only here for a limited time! 

Best Christmas Ever 

This year’s Christmas party is called “Let It Glow.” How fun is that? We want middle schoolers to invest and invite. We’ll talk about the pandemic and look back at this past year. The main takeaway is how we’ve learned the importance of being with each other during 2020. We talk about how God values community too, and He wants to be with us. 


We’re so excited about this series because we’ve partnered with Andy Stanley to produce content from his teaching series You’re Not the Boss of Me. Going through puberty, middle schoolers have a ton of emotions, feelings, and moods—many of which they may have never felt or experienced before. This series gives a language to those feelings. We use a tool called “A Wheel of Emotions” that outlines a core emotion, then breaks that feeling down into more relevant words that describe how middle schoolers are feeling. We’ve also developed a family and parent conversation guide to help teens talk about their emotions—check it out in your additional resources folder! 

New Winter Series from XP3 High School 

I Have Questions: Words

Like the middle school Trending series, we’re talking about words this season. We want teens to know that what they say is very important—and the power of words isn’t just about whether we curse or not. Our words can impact how we feel about race, anxiety, suicide, and more. This series focuses on how to use words in a positive way to help you and others around you—instead of using their power to harm.

It’s Personal 

You might remember us discussing the It’s Personal book at Orange Conference, and now we’ve created a series to help high schoolers make their faith in Jesus personal. One of our favorite highlights are the five teaching videos featuring an actual high school student talking about something that’s personal to them and relevant to the series. Our hope is you will use these videos as a jumping off point to prompt your own students to do the same. 

Christmas Lights

We’re kicking off the Christmas Lights series with a “Let it Glow!” party with black-lit glow sticks, games, and a devotional. Students will show up to the party literally glowing! If your group isn’t able to meet yet, we’ve suggested getting families to donate glowing inflatables, line them up in the church parking lot, and have an outdoor glowing dance party! For the actual Christmas Lights series, we focus on the idea of the Light of the World coming to earth, being with us, and lighting the way. Jesus showed us how to light the way for others. And as part of this series, we’ve partnered with Compassion International to raise money for them and help them light the way for children across the world. 


Like middle school, we’re fortunate to be able to adapt content from Andy Stanley’s You’re Not the Boss of Me teaching series. Vibes are those emotions teens feel inside. Their issue isn’t the emotions themselves, but how to have control over them. This series is designed to give teens an agency to take control of those issues through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We also use the emotions wheel, while encouraging teens to acknowledge their feelings and process them in a non-destructive way. 

So that’s what’s in store for this season! If you want to look ahead even further, you can view our Scope and Cycle for the most up-to-date roadmap of the future. I’m incredibly excited to see how these series impact your students. Join us in our  Orange Students Facebook Group or reach out to your OS and let us know how we can continue to help you during this crazy year!

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