Soon at Foundation Church we shall be embarking on a new venture together – the New City Catechism. The catechism is a teaching tool that crystallises the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith and enables us to embed them in our hearts and minds through memorisation and discussion, both in our homes and together as we gather.
Catechisms are an age-old teaching technique but they have largely fallen out of use in contemporary church circles, perhaps because they were seen as dry and irrelevant or even that they were abandoned in favour of practices deemed to produce more immediate results.
Christians are called to ‘guard the deposit of truth’ and to ‘contend for the faith once delivered to the saints’. In order to do this we must know what we believe and why we believe it. This is where the catechism comes in.
The New City Catechism consists of 52 questions and answers. Together at Foundation we will commit to reading, memorising and discussing one question and answer per week. We have a copy of the New City Catechism book available for each family, couple or individual but it is also available as a smartphone app via the usual sources.
Each page contains the question, the answer (both in child-friendly and adult forms), a supporting scripture passage and some handy visual icons to aid memorisation (view here).
Here’s how to do it
- Pick a moment when you are together as a family in one place – after a meal for example (even if you are doing the NCC as an individual, find a friend who will commit to learning it with you)
- Read, read and read again
- Try to commit the answer to memory – breaking it into chunks is helpful
- Write the question and answer down and stick it in an obvious spot – even get your kids to decorate it or have them design a poster themselves if that helps
- There is even a New City Catechism album of kids songs available through the app or on Youtube
- Test yourselves the following day at the same time using the book; also test yourselves during each day
- Talk not just about the words themselves but the foundational truths they represent – what do they mean? what difference do they make?
- Listen out on social media, at church each Sunday, or during our prayer gatherings as we remind each other of the Q/A for the week
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16)