Catechismus Satis est

Since no one asked me for advice, I thought I would give it anyway.

There is a proliferation of Catechetical materials out there.  A certain group sells at least five different programs, and now offers a website to assist.  They will e-mail quizzes to students and send you the results.  You don’t even need to grade them.  No longer must you tediously instruct and examine your catechumens face to face.

Every pastor worth his salt has published a catechetical program to help you instruct your children (for a price, Ugarti, for a price.)  Heck, I’m working one myself.  They can be based on any manner of ideals and centered around various different themes (Matthew, The Liturgy, The Great Big Book of Everything [If you’ve ever seen it, you know what I mean], etc.)

For pastor’s who are new to the parish, they may wonder, “What should I use?”

So here it is, my never fail, sure to work, supply list for instruction in the faith :

Holy Scripture (Whatever version you use for the lectionary)

Luther’s Small Catechism (Synod catechism can be helpful, but is not required)

Luther’s Large Catechism (Far more valuable than the Synod one)

The Hymnal your congregation uses.

How to plan your lessons? Read the preface to Luther’s Small Catechism.  He gives a three point plan.  Follow it.

Next Read Luther’s Large Catechism on whatever topic you are about to teach.  Outline it to yourself.  Be prepared to preach/teach this to your catechumens.

Find scriptural passages (a chapter or two at a time) that can be used to introduce the topic.  Use Scripture as the starting point, and then explain it using the Small Catechism.



Now you don’t need expensive and useless workbooks and quizzes.  But if you want to test them on something, test them on the assigned memory work, which will be from Luther’s Small Catechism.

Oh, and one more thing : If you can’t grade their memory assignment with the book closed, you are cheating.  Shame on you.  If it’s important enough for them to memorize, then you had better have it memorized.  No excuses.


2 Responses to “Catechismus Satis est”

  1. I admit I have to try to remember the small cat when I teach it to the kids, but I’ve messed through several translations over the years and I don’t want to burden the kids with that nonsense. 🙂

  2. Luther covers that translation problem in his Preface, too, but the LCMS has been consistently ignoring his advice since about 1982. My inclination is to go back to the version I memorized when I was a catechumen (CPH 1943) and use all the “what does that word mean?” moments as teaching moments.

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