Catechism

New City Catechism

What is a catechism?

For some the word “catechism” produces thoughts of lifeless memorizing from years gone by.  For others, it’s like a foreign word because there is no experience with it at all. In short, a catechism is a simple tool to help disciple you and your family between Sundays.

The word “catechize” means to teach orally through question and answer, especially in Christian doctrine.  So a catechism is a set of questions and answers that contain the essentials of the faith and different catechisms have been used through the history of the church to train children and adults in the “faith once delivered to the saints.”

Clearly only knowing doctrine does not change anyone’s heart; knowing Jesus does.  But by laying a foundation of “kindling” with Biblical truth, the Holy Spirit can light the fire and make a heart come alive.

What catechism are we using and why?

We have chosen the New City Catechism for several reasons.

  • Accessible truth.  The questions are framed in understandable ways – one for adults and another for kids
  • Robust.  The 52 questions/answers (1 for each week of the year) cover the essentials of the faith.
  • Simple.  Many discipleship programs can overwhelm, but this is “doable discipleship.”
  • Free!  The app can be downloaded at no cost and is available on all platforms.
  • Relational.  Questions are the way we start conversations.
  • Time-sensitive.  It considers busy lives and short attention-span issues – can be done anywhere in 3 minutes.

How do I get started using New City Catechism?

Download the app using this link.

Click on “Get Started” and you can begin meditating on these truths.  Notice in the upper-right corner there are icons for pertinent Scriptures, prayers to pray, commentary to review that will deepen your enjoyment of God’s truth.

How to use the New City Catechism as a Parent

Our conviction at Frontline Family Ministries is that parents are the primary disciple-makers of their kids.  But, as you know, a lot stands in the way of that happening … busy lives and stressed-out homes; so many options, parents get paralyzed and don’t start at all; or guilty feelings for not “doing enough”

So, we are offering this tool to help you get started.  And we’ll be using NCC in all of our Family Ministries – Nursery, Elementary and Youth – so church and home are connected.

Download the app using this link.

Pick a time / place.  Use what works best!  Perhaps during family devotions or at the breakfast table. Perhaps on the drive to school, or as a fun memorization time with flashcards and drills.

Craft it to your kid’s ages.  Here are some beginning thoughts …

For younger children …

  1. Tell them what a catechism is and why you’re doing it.  

“We’re going to start something fun that will help us learn about God.  One time a week we’re going to ask a question about God and then answer it together.  We can then try to memorize the answer so when we ask the question the next time, we’ll remember it.  Let’s try the first one …”

  1. Read the question out loud.

“What is our only hope in life and death?”

  • Let them guess what they think the answer is in their own words.
  • Read the answer and say it out loud together.  Repeat, repeat.

“That we are not our own but belong to God.”

  • Ask questions about what they think that answer means.

“What does that mean to you?”

“How does that make you feel?”

“What do you think about that?”

  • Use the prayer or devotional provided.

For older children …

  • Tell them what a catechism is and why you’re doing it.

“I’ve been thinking about how we could find a time to talk about God and His Word on a regular basis, and memorize truth about Him.  I thought we could use the New City Catechism that Frontline is using to do that – we’ll take one question a week, answer it, and memorize the answer.”

  • Read the question out loud.

“What is our only hope in life and death?”

  • Let them guess what they think the answer is in their own words.
  • Read the answer and say it out loud together.  Repeat, repeat.

“That we are not our own but belong to God.”

  • Ask questions about what they think that answer means.

“What does that mean to you?”

“How does that make you feel?”

“What do you think about that?”

  • Use the prayer or devotional provided.

Other suggestions on “how to use” …

  • Record yourself saying all part 1 questions and answers (then part 2, then part 3) and listen to them during everyday activities such as workouts, chores, and so on.
  • Write the questions and answers on cards and tape them in a conspicuous area. Read them aloud every time you see them.
  • Make flash cards with the question on one side and the answer on the other, and test yourself.

Our purpose and prayer for our catechism is that our kids will know what they believe, why they believe it, and Jesus will be more amazing because of it.

Does the Bible support catechism?

To the early church … “And they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching …” – Acts 2:42

Paul to Timothy … “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” – II Timothy 1:13

To the Romans … “you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed…”

  • Romans 6:17

Letter of Jude … “… I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” – Jude 1:3

To the Ephesians … “…attain to the unity of the… knowledge of the Son of God…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine.” – Ephesians 4:13,14

We pray that using this catechism will help you and your family into loving and following Jesus with all their heart.  May God bless our church with a passionate love for God that outlives us and extends to many generations to come!