As 2012 draws to a close, many of us are in the final stages of determining which particular resolutions make the cut for the 2013 New Year. I have a great New Year’s Resolution that can be used by your entire family – “New City Catechism.”
“New City Catechism” is essentially a year-long Bible study in which all members of your family can participate. It’s totally free (can be downloaded for free or used with a Web-based browser for free online) and it’s comprised of only 52 questions and answers (therefore only one question and answer for each week of the year, making it simple to fit into church calendars and achievable even for people with demanding schedules).
The following is taken from the “Introduction” section of the “New City Catechism” website:
“Today many churches and Christian organizations publish “statements of faith” that outline their beliefs. But in the past it was expected that documents of this nature would be so biblically rich and carefully crafted that they would be memorized and used for Christian growth and training. They were written in the form of questions and answers, and were called catechisms (from the Greek katechein which means “to teach orally or to instruct by word of mouth”)….”
“…At present, the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost. Modern discipleship programs concentrate on practices such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism and can at times be superficial when it comes to doctrine. In contrast, the classic catechisms take students through the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer—a perfect balance of biblical theology, practical ethics, and spiritual experience. Also, the catechetical discipline of memorization drives concepts deeper into the heart and naturally holds students more accountable to master the material than do typical discipleship courses. Finally, the practice of question-answer recitation brings instructors and students into a naturally interactive, dialogical process of learning.”
“In short, catechetical instruction is less individualistic and more communal. Parents can catechize their children. Church leaders can catechize new members with shorter catechisms and new leaders with more extensive ones. Because of the richness of the material, catechetical questions and answers may be integrated into corporate worship itself, where the church as a body can confess their faith and respond to God with praise….”
“…It is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer. This means that as parents are teaching it to their children they are learning their answer to the question at the same time, albeit an abridged version. The adult answer is always an expanded version of the children’s answer. In the adult version the children’s answer appears in color to differentiate it from the longer adult answer….”
“…For families, it is intended for parents to help their children memorize the children’s answer and then for parents to learn the longer, extended adult answer themselves. Parents will have different ways of approaching the memorization process depending on their children and their particular circumstances—so there are no prescribed times of day or particular devotional practices attached. When and how parents use the catechism can be as diverse as during family devotions, at the breakfast table, as part of a longer study including comprehension questions and praying, or as a fun memorization time with flashcards and drills…”
I’m super excited about using “New City Catechism” in 2013. These 52 questions and answers were adapted by Tim Keller and Sam Shammas. I had the pleasure of attending Redeemer Presbyterian while we lived in Manhattan and I am excited to get my hands on anything by Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer Pres. and best-selling author of various books including “The Reason for God.”)
Here’s the link to the “New City Catechism” website:
If any of you incorporate “New City Catechism” into your New Year’s Resolution’s, please let me know how it goes!!!