Friday, July 12, 2013

EDUCATION: Use those Catechism Questions!

I LOVE the questions in Luther's Small Catechism! Whenever I get confused about what Lutherans believe and why I flop that little blue book open and look at the questions. It's amazing!

Far too many Lutherans don't really know what they believe. Why not? They were confirmed, weren't they? Sure... when they were 12! The only other stuff you remember from 8th grade are some of the friends you had, the girl/boy you fell in love with, the weird, mean, or beloved teacher, and the math. Things you had an strong emotional connection to and the math. You remember the math because you revisited it all through high school. In short, it was repeated for years. So, realistically, nobody should be expected to be able to answer those catechism questions unless they've been revisited in high school and regularly as adults. AND I've heard many people say one of the greatest problems Lutherans have in speaking to unbelievers is that they're not comfortable talking about what they believe. So, I'm telling everyone to use the catechism questions!

HOW? Any way you want or try one of these:

  • Pick a section and put the numbers of the questions on cards to be chosen at random at the beginning of adult and youth Bible study every week. Be sure to go over the Bible verses that support the answers.
  • Pick a number at the end of class every week for the next week and let everybody think about the answer all week. At the beginning of each class briefly go over them.
  • As you go over the Bible verses that support the answers assign one as memory work. Be sure to hold them accountable the next week to say it (and one from a previous week) together out loud.
  • Create an entire adult Bible study out of those questions but require the participants to look for the verses that support the answers given the book and chapter. Some of the questions will bring up good discussion. Don't lecture! Let them hash it out and guide them.
  • Create an online quiz with different questions each month for the church website. Once it's digital you can use it more than once! Give it a snappy name like Martin's Memoirs or Do You Know What Lutherans Believe? 
  • Have catechisms available for purchase for anybody who doesn't have one (not just the confirmands) and remind everyone what a cool and valuable book it is and why it's so cool. It's pretty much the Lutheran Handbook.
As an adult that book means far more to me than it did when I was in 8th grade. You can tell by the doodles...

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