I worked at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX from 2000 until 2005. When I first started we were writing our own curriculum week to week with medium to mild success. We had potential so Lifeway Publishing picked us up and we started G-Force. G-Force is above average but we always had dreams for more. I left Fellowship to come to Cincinnati and after I left Fellowship Church came out with a new curriculum called Elevate. I have used the first 2 installments with my kids here in Cincy. I know the vision of this curriculum because I was still at Fellowship and helped in the dream phase. Knowing all of this now here is my assessment of Elevate.
Curriculum Review of Elevate:
Bible Content: (4) The first series, On the Trail, was great. One story per week that the kids really got into and learned. The second series, Heroes, is okay. There are 3 different Bible stories per week and kids can get them confused.
Age appropriate: (4) Elevate is written in an older and younger version and lends itself to both a 5th grader and a kindergarten. The place it could improve is having more of a focus of relationship building in the older grades. The younger is right on.
Ease of use for volunteers: (5+) This is where the curriculum will blow you away. There is a DVD with every week training on it for volunteers. It goes through every activity for that week and even gives examples of what kids might ask. This is the only curriculum to my knowledge who is doing this and has changed my volunteer’s effectiveness. This is a WOW!
Ease of Prep for staff: (4) This great for staff. They have an every week training video for the large group time that could be shown instead of performed if needed as a backup. I prefer live drama that is above average than recorded drama that is great. They provide almost everything on a CD-Rom for all activities. The place where this curriculum might be hard to prepare for is changing your set or environment every 8 weeks. It is well worth it but can be a challenge.
Bells and Whistles (graphics, music, and sound effects): (5+) Another WOW! They have the best graphics of any curriculum out. There are 2 songs that you get per 8 weeks but they are up-to-date and fun to sing. The eye candy on this is unbelievable and very engaging for the kids. The sound effects are second to none and add to the environment tremendously. The production value is top notch.
Parent Information: (2) There is a half page review for the parents that you can hand out at the end of your service. It goes over the main point, Bible verse and theme of the day. This is the one area that they could really improve on their curriculum. I would love to see some type of media, ie CD, for the parents to listen to in the car or some website that could be interactive for parents and kids to go over what they learned for that week.
Technology needed or provided: (5) 5 DVD’s, CD-Rom, and Sound Effects CD provided with curriculum. You will need a CD player, a DVD player, and a TV or projector.
Overall Score out of a possible 35 points is 31. It got a bonus point for every week training for volunteers and one bonus point for the Bells and Whistles.
Summery: This is a great large group/small group curriculum. The production quality is not matched by any other curriculum, including KidMO and Saddleback. The training is excellent for both volunteers and staff. The graphics are great. The transitions are funny and very appropriate. Elevate could really elevate its product with better parent resources. Right now North Pointe, or should I say The Rethink Group, is leading the way in that area. This is a must check out.
I hope this helps. Until next time and on to the next curriculum…