“Yeah I’ve tried Tru Fire,” she said. “And I like it. The kids are connecting, its not cheesy, and worship videos are great. I would totally use Tru Fire again.”

This was quite the statement, coming from my children’s pastor friend Laura Tubman, staff pastor at in New Life Church, Lima, Ohio. I was surprised since Laura has written her own curriculum for years, and she has such a high standard of excellence for the programs at her church. Not many earn her hearty endorsement.

“What is your favorite part of using Tru Fire curriculum,” I asked.

“I love that it’s simple prep for an impactful lesson. And my leaders love the enrichment pieces at the beginning.” She answered.”The main thing for me that sets this curriculum apart is that it encourage leaders to hold onto plans loosely and be attentive to the prompting of the Spirit. That is why I gave the curriculum a chance in the first place! It has also been great for the different response/prayer options too. My kids love it. That’s what I really wanted others who are debating it to hear.  And sometimes the writers read my mind and put in the exact elements I would have too!  That happened the first lesson I prepped and knew that it was the right fit for our ministry.”

One of my assignments for this semester for my Master’s Degree in Children’s and Family Ministries was to review 3 curriculums and to present my findings to our class. Due to my friend’s glowing endorsement, I picked Tru Fire as one of my curriculums to review. I created a review guide with my group, which I used to review all three curriculums according to certain criteria, including cost, number of volunteers needed, difficulty of set up, digital availability, home components and more. If you would like a copy of the excel file we used to critique, please send an email to trisha@peach.im and I’ll email it to you!

 

So here were my Tru Fire Take Aways at the end of this study:

TRU FIRE “STORY” (1-5th grade)- This dynamic, brand new curriculum came highly recommended to me from several of my children’s pastor friends. I was not disappointed!

EFFECTIVELY ENGAGING DIVERSE LEARNING STYLES: This would appeal to a wide range of learning styles (visual, kinesthetic, auditory).  I appreciated the creativity involved in each week’s presentation: “stained glass” crafts, “origami boats”, cutting edge video clips, original worship songs, fun interactions etc. The kids are up and moving!

EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION: The handouts and video clips are full color and done with excellence. This would totally appeal to today’s digital generation.

DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY: Included with the curriculum purchase: completely digital, downloadable lessons, videos, worship songs, volunteers training materials, parent/church connection materials, and a volunteer training on leading a child to Christ.

SCOPE AND SEQUENCE: I was impressed that the scope and sequence shows the story of God and of salvation woven artfully throughout all of Scripture. It goes through the Bible Genesis-Revelation, and connects every story back to “Who is God and what did He do to save us?”Several sections of the curriculum go in depth on each of the Jewish Feasts and Festivals. It looks very interesting; it’s not something we have done before. Some people in our church would love that.This hits our goals of hitting a lot of Scripture and Bible stories, learning doctrine, evangelism, leading children to Christ etc.

COST- The curriculum cost is based on how many children are in your program.  It starts at 289.00 for the smallest group of kids. For a larger church, 200 elementary students, would cost around 789.00 per year. Also, make sure you factor into your budget, as you would need to with any curriculum, additional items that will need to be purchased to carry out the lessons effectively (construction paper, folding paper etc etc.)

VOLUNTEER TRAINING- Included with purchase are reproducible downloads to assist you in training your team. I am hearing about live trainings going on around our country. There may be one in your area!

DIFFICULTY OF WEEKLY SETUP- As Laura said, you get a lot of lesson for very little set up. That is a huge plus for larger churches who may usually spend hours setting up classrooms during the week. On the scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the easiest, I’d give the set up difficulty about a 3.

APPROPRIATENESS FOR OUR SETTING- I do believe this would work in our setting. It seems to work as large group, small group or both. We would probably break it out large group then small group. Churches with fewer volunteers could start by keeping this all large group. Our audience of kids would love these lessons. Doctrinally, this is a perfect match for our church’s core beliefs and mission statement. NOTE: TRU FIRE has published by David C. Cook in partnership with My Healthy Church. It has a distinctive Pentecostal edge that goes WELL in an Assemblies of God church like ours. If you are a charismatic, independent or Pentecostal Church looking for a Holy Spirit centered curriculum, this is definitely worth pursuing. If your church is not quite comfortable with a Pentecostal element, I would definitely recommend taking a lot at David C. Cook’s “Tru”, which is also getting rave reviews. “Tru” is the more “Pentecostal cousin” of “Tru”. Both are great curriculums.

CHURCH/HOME CONNECTION-“Home Front” is the parent connect portion of Tru Fire, reinforcing each lesson for families. I love how parents and kids are taught how to speak blessings each other! I would give the home connection here at least an 8 out of 10, perhaps higher.trufire I am just waiting to hear about how those church/home connection are playing out.

Bottom Line: Yes, we would totally try this at our church. For more information, be sure to check out http://trufire.myhealthychurch.com/ for more information, free samples and more.

So how about you? Have you tried Tru? What was your experience with it like? Are you considering switching to Tru Fire? What criteria do YOU use when choosing a curriculum for YOUR specific group of kids?

Blessings on your holidays and on your year of ministry to come!

Trisha

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