As you consider your family worship plan for 2017, here are two wonderful catechism tools for your consideration. When I say “catechism,” I mean a series of questions and answers designed to teach our children (and ourselves!) the important doctrines of our faith.
New City Catechism
The Meade 5 (my family) has been working through the New City Catechism for a little less than a year and we love it. This discipleship tool is a product of Tim Keller and The Gospel Coalition and has several strengths. It has series of questions that spans the best of the Reformation catechisms (Calvin’s Geneva, Westminister Shorter and Longer, and the Heidelberg Catechism). At 52 questions long, it is the perfect size for memorizing one question and answer a week. The website and app versions (iPad) are user-friendly with helpful commentary in both video and written form. It is appropriate for both Baptists and those in the Reformed tradition (many catechisms get tricky on the issues of baptism and the Lord’s Supper). And it provides both adult and children’s answers to the same question, making it perfect for the entire family to memorize. The children’s answers are an abridged version of the adult answers and are color coded.
The Big Picture Bible Verses
This catechism serves as a companion piece to the wonderful “The Big Picture Story Bible” by David Helm (if you aren’t familiar with The Big Picture Story Bible, check it out). The strongest element to this catechism is how the answers to the questions are taken directly from Bible verses. So, not only are children learning answers to important life questions, but they are also memorizing Scripture in the process. Brilliant!
You can view and download an excerpt of this resource here
How old should your children be before you start using a catechism? There is no right answer, but most children are able to begin memorizing at a very early age. When I started the New City Catechism, my oldest was 7 years old and my youngest was 4. I was amazed to watch my 4-year-old memorize the answers just by being in the same room when we were working through the material! Children will amaze us if we give them opportunities.
Family worship is a wonderful blessing for parents and children. God’s grace on us all as we lead our children in the wisdom of the Lord.