When I was growing up, there was this infomercial for a countertop appliance called the Showtime Rotisserie. I can remember the salesman showing the product’s many practical uses, and after putting a whole turkey or chicken or a salmon or a pineapple or whatever inside, he and the audience would repeat the catchphrase together: “Now…set it, and forget it!”
I love ministry tools that work like a Showtime Rotisserie. Just set it, and forget it. No fuss. No prep required week after week. Do the hard work of getting things set up, but once they’re set, they run pretty smoothly on their own.
That’s why I have come to love catechism. We know we are supposed to disciple our children, explain to them the basics of systematic theology, and discuss with them the truths of the faith. A catechism is like the best kind of Showtime Rotisserie. Once you choose one and make time to practice with your kids, it requires little to no maintenance or preparation. Just set it, and forget it.
At our church, we use A Catechism for Girls and Boys (1798) by Richard Cecil. We incorporate it into our midweek Bible study at church, adults pairing off with children to practice. Each adult asks the question, then the child gives the response. The kids get ice cream when they hit certain milestones. Parents review with the kids throughout the week.
Repetition is key. And we aim for the kids to memorize the answers word-perfectly. The funny thing about all of this is that although the kids are the ones being quizzed week after week, I’ve heard several adults catch themselves quoting from the catechism in adult conversations at church!
Catechize your kids, and you will catechize yourself.Tweet
Below is a free PDF of the Catechism we use. I’ve edited it only by updating a few archaisms and adding a place to keep track of when each answer was memorized. I like it because it is simple, good for preschool up through about fifth grade. I like it because it is old. I like it because it is Baptist (trigger warning for non-Baptists!).
You can print it as is, or you can do what I do: Set the PDF print menu to print it in booklet mode, fold it in half and staple it down the middle like a little book. I even put a piece of card stock in for the cover page so the whole thing feels like a nice little book for the kids. The kids love them!