The biggest hole in SBC children’s ministries is the neglect of using a Baptist catechism. Children’s minds are ripe for memorizing Scripture and theology. There will never be a better time in their lives for them to “hide the word of God in their heads/hearts.”
Churches need to utilize the amazing memories God has given children. One way to do this is through catechism. The catechism my church uses is one that has been modified from the Truth and Grace Memory books produced by Founders Ministries. It comes from Benjamin Keach, then modified by Charles Spurgeon, then modified by Tom Ascol, and finally, modified by me (I am a 4.5 Calvinist; Christ died for the world, and especially for the elect). Here is how we implement this Baptist catechism:
- Utilize your children’s ministry Sunday school teachers. We’ve broken the catechism down to 60 questions (at the most) per 2 grades for a single year. For example, grades 3-4 will memorize 60 questions/answers this year, and then come back the following year and review the same 60 questions/answers from the previous year. Each Sunday, teachers give out a sheet of paper to the children as they leave class. This paper contains the month’s memory verse (from the Gospel Project), suggested hymns for family worship, and two catechism questions/answers. During the week, families are encouraged to spend at least 15-20 minutes per day going over the catechism questions/answers, singing hymns, and praying. Then, when children come back to church the following Sunday, as the children come into class, the teachers ask them their catechism questions. They get a star by their name on the wall if they answer correctly. If your church is like mine, children get to Sunday school at various times. This provides teachers with an opportunity to gradually go over questions with the children as they come in. Of course, you need at least 2 teachers in each class to do this well. But, if you only have 1 teacher, you can go over the catechism at the end of class. Finally, as children leave class, they receive a new paper with two catechism questions/answers (one less and one new). *If you want to use my church’s free catechism and resources, click here. New sheets will be provided each week throughout the year.
- Utilize your website, social media, etc. If your church is like mine, few children attend every Sunday consistently (usually 2-3 times each month). Therefore, you need to provide their parents with the ability to access the catechism questions/answers some other way. Put them on your website, and post them on social media each week. We also utilize a church app where they are posted weekly.
- Have children share in worship monthly. As children learn their memory verses and catechism, let them share briefly in worship each month. *Try to utilize children beyond your church staff’s children. This will encourage the children in your church to learn, the parents to be consistent, and more children and parents to participate in family worship with their children.
- Have families record 1-2 minute videos of their family worship times. Play these videos in your worship services; or, a couple minutes before worship, or during the hand-shaking/fellowship time. Put them on social media as well. Families seeing other families worshiping in their homes together will encourage more families to do the same. You’ll find that it’s not only the children who are being catechized and transformed by the word of God!
- Provide suggested hymns, songs, games, etc. for family worship. My church has utilized YouTube by providing playlists containing suggested hymns for each age group. I recommend providing songs that are theological rich, songs that have updated music with the same beat/timing as in your hymnal. That way, children learn songs with the same timing that you actually sing in worship in your church, which serves to reinforce the participation of children in your worship services. *If you want to see what hymns we’ve suggested to our church’s parents, see our YouTube Playlists here. Families simply put YouTube on their phone or TV during their family worship times and sing along with the hymns. *I suggest hymns because they are theologically rich; the primary goal of catechism is to learn God’s word, not to tell God how we feel (Although that is definitely part of prayer during family worship).
I hope these suggestions get you started. If you follow the links I’ve provided, bookmark them and return to them often, you will find that they are updated weekly. You could copy and paste our weekly sheets, change the date, and utilize our YouTube playlists; and boom, you’ve got the hard work done!
Finally, what suggestions would you add or take away. Does your church utilize a Baptist catechism? If so, how do you implement it? I hope the comments provide churches with more suggestions to help easily implement a Baptist Catechism in your children’s ministry.