When I was ordained, I was at a bit of a loss regarding “Confirmation Class” (Catechesis). There are a lot of programs out there. Official publishing houses for each Lutheran church have their own. I did vacancy work for a parish that used the Australian Lutheran Church program. I’d been given samples of the various CPH programs. NPH has a program. I looked at independently published programs. One was excellent – if you had a day school. I don’t, and adapting it would have been a monumental task.
I began crafting my own. For my personal use at first. I listened to any lectures I could find. I read through the Large Catechism. I looked at biblical accounts, psalms, hymns, anything I could get my hands on that was helpful for teaching the faith. I made notes about catechesis. I expanded the notes. Those would become another book. (Coming Soon!) For the instruction itself, I continued to refine things. Re-ordered, reconfigured, added here, cut there. Each year was a new adventure. But there were things that stayed the same from year to year. So, I wrote those down.
I put together a chart of the hymns/bible readings/psalms that were used. And I outlined Luther’s Small Catechism. It turned out, I had made my own “program”. I had friends on Facebook who were lamenting the task of instructing the young: They wanted something biblical, faithful to Luther, adaptable, comprehensive enough to cover what needed covering, but something that fit in the confines of the life of the average parish. Something that could guide them, but also allow them freedom to adapt to local conditions. Something that could give them confidence that, if they missed a session, a qualified layman could step in.
Not to sound arrogant, but every time I read that, I thought, “Mine does that.” All I needed was someone to help me put it together. I found a wonderful layout artist who volunteered her time doing just that. And so, “Teach These Things” was released. It isn’t the most commonly used. But from the comments I have received, it is among the most appreciated curricula available.
Most programs out there follow the pattern of the “Deitrich Catechism”. That is a great tool for advanced training – it follows Melanchthon’s pattern of instruction in his Loci. Chemnitz follows that pattern in his own Loci. I love it. It’s great. But it’s not an introduction. For that, Luther’s Large Catechism can’t be beat. And that’s the pattern I follow in Teach These Things. It ties together hymnody, the catechism, and daily living, and relates them all to Holy Scripture. I intentionally chose mostly narratives, but there are also sections from the epistles and wisdom literature as well. It offers a chance for the pastor to not only teach the catechism, but explain how to read scripture.
If you are interested in Teach These Things, I have a dedicated website for it. I also have a few other things available there as free downloads: A Children’s Christmas Program for the small parish, and a truly *Lutheran* book on ethics and the Christian Life.
If you are wondering what to use this next year for your own “Confirmation Classes”, then take a look at “Teach These Things.” The Second (Corrected) Edition is now available. Minor errors have been fixed, and you can download it today and have it ready for your next catechism class.
Click HERE for more details.