What is the Catechism Spot?

If you have been following Church with UTB, you will probably have noticed the “Catechism Spot”. You may not be familiar with the word ‘Catechism’, so it’s worth explaining what a catechism is and why it matters.

What is a Catechism?

A catechism is simply a way of learning the Christian faith by questions and answers. It is thought to have been introduced in the early days of the church as a way of helping new converts and children learn the faith. They have traditionally focussed on three core topics: the Apostle’s Creed (what we believe), the Ten Commandments (how we live), and the Lord’s Prayer (how we relate to God).

Sadly, throughout the twentieth century, many churches abandoned this method of teaching and tried to put everything into a sermon. In my experience, this doesn’t work very well: I have found that Catechisms help people to learn the faith in an understandable way, which is a necessary complement to a sermon. To put it another way, the catechism helps you to understand the sermon, and the sermon helps you to apply the catechism.

What catechisms are available?

There are several famous catechisms which have been produced over the years: the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Shorter Catechism were produced several hundred years ago, but are ‘tried and tested’ and have modern translations and resources available. There is a catechism which has been produced recently called the New City Catechism, which has the advantage of having lots of resources (including a mobile app and a Sunday School curriculum).

There are also lots of resources available for children, including Sinclair Ferguson’s books The Big Book of Questions and Answers and its follow-up, The Big Book of Questions and Answers about Jesus. These are both excellent catechism resources for teaching children.

How can we do the catechism spot?

Understand the Bible currently doesn’t produce any material for the catechism spot, due to the number of resources available. (There may come a day when UTB produces its own catechism etc, but that is a step too far just for the moment!)

What I suggest is:

  • Choose a catechism from the options above which is suitable for you. E.g. you might like the New City Catechism, which has an app and resources for children. Or you might like the Sinclair Ferguson book, which is designed for children and is excellent. (It’s pretty good for adults too – we use it in our church).
  • Each time you meet, pick the next question and answer and chat through it together. Maybe look up some of the Bible verses.
  • When you get to the end, choose another catechism or go back to the beginning.

It’s not complicated!

Don’t worry about it – the resources are all there. All you need to do is find one that you like.

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