Our church covenant states, "We engage to maintain family and personal devotions and to educate our children in the Christian faith." This is something that we all strive to do, but sometimes struggle to figure out how to implement. Family Devotions can be very intimidating. The New City Catechism is a tool that we want to encourage you to use this year that we think will be very helpful and beneficial to you and your family.
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, which means to teach orally or instruct by word of mouth.
The practice of catechesis, especially in adults, has been almost completely lost today. But at a time, if you weren’t being catechized, and catechizing your children, it was grounds for church discipline. Now, we’re not going to go that far, but we do want to stress how beneficial catechisms are. 70% of teens who grew up in church and were actively involved, leave the church within 2 years of their high school graduation. Why? Because they don’t actually know the Christian faith. They weren’t ever actually a part of the church. They weren’t ever actually discipled. They were just entertained in church from cradle to college, and when they go off to college and people actually speak to their intellect and treat them as intelligent human beings who can handle deep things, they aren’t prepared to defend historic Christian truths because they don’t know them. They were never taught. Catechisms are a tool that can help change that.
The New City Catechism is based off of the older and longer Catechisms, but it only has 52 questions. One for each week of the year. The 52 questions have an adult answer, and a simplified children answer. The first question is, “What is our only hope in life and death?” The children’s answer is, “That we are not our own, but belong to God.”
There is also a Scripture for every question that you can read and talk about with your family. We bought a New City Catechism book for every family in our church. There is also a free app you can download that is fully interactive. It includes the questions and answers, the Scriptures, a commentary on the Scripture, and a prayer. You can also turn on children’s mode and access the question and answer in song form, which is very fun for young children.
We challenge you to do the New City Catechism with your family this year. This is not just for children or families with children. Adults, Senior Adults, and Students we want you to do this too! We’re going to keep you accountable in Sunday school and in Wednesday night activities, but please seriously consider finding accountability partners to hold you accountable in maintaining family devotions and educating your children in the Christian faith.
To find out more info about The New City Catechism and to utilize resources, please visit newcitycatechism.com