Used to purchasing youth ministry curriculum was straight forward. You counted up your leaders, estimated your number of students, and then either went down to the bookstore or got out the catalogue. But in recent years there have been an explosion of curriculum companies and options. Beyond brands and categories though, another revolution has made your job more difficult. You now have the option of print vs. digital curriculum. So I want to take a moment to share some pros and cons about each format as well as my opinion about the best option in order to help you make a more informed decision.

Digital

Pros

  • Typically less expensive
  • Saves time because you and your leaders can just login and pull it up
  • Saves time and money because you do not have to worry about the number of books you need for students and leaders

Cons

  • Some leaders may not be tech savvy
  • Options are more limited
  • Everyone needs a device and there still are people who do not bring their phones to church or have the type of phone that can do this type of work

Print

Pros

  • There is something about reading from paper that still is powerful in some situations
  • More study options
  • Do not have to go through a transition and selling your leaders and fellow staff members on something new

Cons

  • More costly
  • Time consuming because you have to reorder and re-distribute every month/quarter/year
  • Can be defeating when students just leave or throw away the study

Verdict

I prefer digital curriculum. The main reason is the time and cost savings, and while the options may be limited they are not bad. Plus, what really makes the difference in your youth ministry is not the curriculum but the relationships you and your leaders form with students. The time and money you save can be reinvested in that, and we have found in our ministry and many others that this has produced much more fruit than anything else we have ever focused on.