Advice for teaching catechism class...

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by RevZach, Jan 6, 2010.

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  1. RevZach

    RevZach Puritan Board Freshman

    First off, sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I almost put it in "preaching" (as it involves teaching), but decided that didn't fit either. :scratch:

    Here's my situation: I was raised in a semi-pelagian Baptist church. As such, I've never been part of a catechism class, either as a student or teacher. I am a few years into my Calvinizing (you know what I mean) of the Baptist church I currently pastor and am wanting to start a class for adults going through Spurgeon's revision of the catechism.

    I need advice. How should I approach it? Memorization? How does the discussion usually work? Should I assign different people to read aloud the prooftexts found in some versions? Should I "teach through" the confession at the same time? Are there good supplemental curricula that I could look at?

    I'm worried that people will be totally bored by this if I just read question, read answer, repeat. We most recently have studied KLuck's excellent book Why We Love the Church, the DVD series Amazing Grace, and Wittmer's book Don't Stop Believing.All of these come with lots of discussion questions, case studies, etc.

    Any insight is much appreciated.
     
  2. reformedminister

    reformedminister Puritan Board Sophomore

    There are probably as many ways to approach this as people you talk to. I have always just went through the questions and answers, read through some proof texts, and had a discussion on each question. The discussion would entail your input and teaching on the subject followed by any questions others may have. Some people think the study of catechisms is boring, but for those who love sound theology, it shouldn't be. I started a men's study last year called the Puritan Book Club. We read one of the puritan paperbacks by Banner and Truth, The Mortification of Sin by John Owen. About half of the class dropped out by the second lesson. Most of these men probably weren't that interested in theology or deep thinking. That's okay because for those who stayed it was most rewarding. I would encourage everyone to try to memorize it but I wouldn't require it. The main thing as they learn the content. Catechism is a tool, to teach Biblical Theology. Just remember that. In many ways you can look at it as a platform to search the Scriptures. :2cents:
     
  3. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If it is in a small group, I would highly recommend a setting that allows for asking questions. I know that when I first started down the road to reformed theology I had tons of questions. Just check the archives here at PB. It is littered with me asking them.
     
  4. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I am currently teaching a Bible Study on Spurgeon's Catechism. It has been very fruitful and numbers have actually grown since we began. Here is what I do since I don't have a great deal of extra time with which to write my own Bible Study. We cover one catechism question per week. I use the resources available at shortercatechism.com and take one of the 'catechisms on the catechism' available there (Vincent, Flavel, Henry etc) and retype it with more modern sounding language. I keep the proof texts and add some of my own. This will work most of the time, but when you get to question 15, for example, you will need to make some adjustments. During the study, we take turns around the circle reading the proof texts and discussing questions as they arise. I try to limit the actual study to one hour after which we pray with the intention of allowing the catechism to guide and inspire our prayers. (This teaches people how to pray Scripturally) Then we have fellowship with goodies. If you would like, I could email you some of the material I already cooked up.
     
  5. MMasztal

    MMasztal Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm currently teaching the WCoF in my SS class and we spent close to a year covering it in my previous church. It doesn't have to be boring or mundane. While the text itself may be a bit dry, your commentary/discussion can be quite lively, especially if you go into an in-depth comparison/contrast to your former semi-Pelagian experience which many of your congregation might have come from themselves. This makes for engaging discussions and teaching opportunities.

    Go for it!
     
  6. RevZach

    RevZach Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the advice/encouragement, men!
    Ken, I'd love to see some of what you've put together if you wouldn't mind. I'd actually like to sit in on your class, but if I told my board I was flying to Southern CA for "research," I think they'd be on to me pretty fast (given the foot of snow outside my study window). :)
     
  7. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I teach five of our children the Heidelberg Catechism and our church provides materials to aid in the study, but I always find that studying the scriptural proofs beforehand helps a great deal, as that makes the backbone of the lesson. If the infallibility of scripture is properly ingrained in their minds, paying particular attention to the scriptural basis for the Qs and As really makes a powerful statement, and the Qs and As are just a natural outcome of the organization of the verses.
     
  8. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    If you will PM me your email address, I will attach some files for you to look at.
     
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