Editor's Note: Our GroupLife Center has examples of many types of small group curriculum for you to browse and get ideas for your group. We invite you to come by and check out what we have on display. The following article will give you a basic breakdown of the types of curriculum that is available for your group. If you enjoy this article, we have published a booklet with 10 Smallgroups.com articles entitled "Find the Right Study for Your Group." You can pick up a copy in the GroupLife Center.
An Overview of Small Group Material by Sam O'Neal
Do you remember the last time you tried to pick out a new type of snack at the grocery store? It's no easy task. First you have to figure out what kind of snack you're in the mood for—ice cream, cookies, chips, pastries, popsicles, candy, the whole range of Little Debbie's products, and more. Then you have to figure out what brand you'd like, what's on sale, how many calories are included per serving, and on and on. It's exhausting!
Sometimes there are too many choices. In fact, there's actually a state called "buyer's paralysis," which is when a consumer gets so overwhelmed by the number of available options that he or she gives up and doesn't buy anything at all (or maybe buys one of everything) instead of making a choice.
Of course, buyer's paralysis isn't limited to snack foods. It can happen with all kinds of potential choices—including when small-group leaders try to figure out which type of study to use in their groups.
The only defense against buyer's paralysis is to become educated on the options available, which allows you to make informed decisions. Therefore, let's spend time reviewing the basic types of small-group curricula—plus the different situations for which each type works best.