By Jonathon Mitchell

Five years ago, as I was leading, researching and thinking about switching curriculum and strategy for our Children’s Ministry. I landed on 252 Basics for our elementary, then First Look for our preK.  These discoveries–  lead me to Orange Thinking.  Which eventually lead me to XP3 for our student ministry.

The first thing that I liked about the curriculum was that it fit with the overall strategy for Orange which is: two combined influences (Church + Family) make a greater impact than just two influences.  And being both the children’s and the student ministry leader, I loved the streamlined approach and thinking that XP3 provided to what we were already beginning to adopt as a church as I developed our scope and sequence for our young church.

Here’s how I weekly unpack XP3 for myself, leaders and parents:

9:00 am Monday Morning-ish

Send out small group leader questions to my small group leaders for that week.  This usually includes a heads up of different elements that may be included that week.

10:00 am Monday Morning-ish

Send out my Parent Email with the Parent XP as well as some other elements – Notes from Me, Announcements, & some different articles from around the web that I think might help parents understand their teen and teenage culture.  Here’s a recent example.

3:00 pm Monday afternoon-ish

I print out and begin reading through the script, Middle School adaptation options, and any other elements that might pertain to that particular week.  I make highlights notes in the margins, add scripture as I read through that I think would be a nice addition, and think about crowd games, elements, and maybe even an illustration or two.

In the future I’d like to start at least doing the read-through on Thursdays the week before.

2:00 pm Tuesday afternoon-ish

I revisit the outline.  I usually don’t read the script again.  This time I’m just trying to internalize the script and see how God is shaping this lesson in my mind to make the greatest impact with my students.

10:00 am Wednesday Morning

I create the schedule for that night.  Print out small group questions.  Print out Production sheets for tech folks.  Do any video stuff and game/activity set up.  My mind is usually thinking about how I’m going to communicate for that night.

12:30 pm Wednesday Afternoon

I begin writing my lesson.  I take any one-liners from the script and write them on the Outline page.  I don’t like being scripted with my students.  This is different every week.  Some weeks I’m adjusting a lot to the actual outline that XP3 has given me.  Some weeks I’m using it verbatim.

6:00-8:00 pm Wednesday Evening

I get the privilege of sharing the life-changing message of the gospel with students

That about it!  Every week is a little different, but overall that is a basic run down of how I prepare for a week.  In Pt. 2 I’ll share how I use the overall strategy of XP3 in our context.

I’d love to hear you thoughts about how you use XP3 or run your student ministry.



Jonathon, along with his wife Jessica, serves as the Age Level Director (fancy title for Youth & Children’s guy) for Grace Fellowship Church in DeMotte, IN – a growing church in a small town.  You can connect with him on Facebooktwitter, and his blog.


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