Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Curriculum Review - The New City Catechism - a "Must-Have" for Every Children's Ministry

My church has started their mid-week Children's Ministry for the Fall with a new curriculum to supplement the format they have used for many years (a rotation schedule where children move with their small group to different classes throughout the year. They stay in one class for several weeks and learn karate, or play games, or learn some fun science facts, or work on crafts, etc. - very active and engaging and something my grandsons have enjoyed.) This year for the teaching time, they are using The New City Catechism from the Gospel Coalition.

I was not familiar with this resource, so I contacted them and they were so kind to send me the curriculum kit for me to review - today I am very happy to let you know about The New City Catechism for Children.

Favorite Features -

  • I am not able to emphasize strongly enough how much I love the way this resource breaks the foundational doctrine of our faith into small, weekly pieces for children to not only hear about (although they will hear about it), but to also understand and memorize. This is fantastic.
  • I also am thrilled to see how the teaching portion of the lessons each week involve children in opening their Bibles and reading verses - during the teaching time. I firmly believe not only is there great value in having children read in their own Bibles the passage each week, but having them do so during the teaching time. It is essential for children to see for themselves what the Bible says.
  • This curriculum resource is flexible enough to use as written (although I would add more activity if used as the only resource), but it is also able to easily be added to any other resource you are using on Sundays, Wednesdays, or any other setting where you choose to use it.
  • Reproducible resources make this an affordable curriculum tool for any church.
  • The weekly question/answer/verse format is one which ideally lends itself to being a resource churches are easily able to share with parents/grandparents each week to encourage continued learning at home. If you are looking for a way to equip parents and grandparents to hand down confident faith - this resource is one which you are able to use with them. I strongly recommend either giving each family one of the $1.99 The New City Catechism for kids booklets - or encourage each family to buy one for use at home.
  • Children's Ministry must be more than just a place where children hear the "Bible stories" - although we absolutely want them to know about David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, the birth of Jesus, Jesus feeding the 5000, etc. - it must be a place where we help them learn what we believe. It must be a place where children are grounded in the doctrines of our faith - because children are absolutely able to be grounded in the doctrines of our faith. How will we reasonably expect them to stand firm in the faith if we treat Children's Ministry as a place where they just go to sing songs and hear stories? It must be much more. The New City Catechism curriculum will help you make it "more".
Clearly, I like what I saw as I read through the lessons in The New City Catechism, but there are also things I would like to see added . . . .
  • As I wrote, we must teach so children are grounded in the doctrines of our faith - they must learn what we believe. But, we also must teach the "whys". We must help the children learn why they are able to believe what we believe. I would love to see the Gospel Coalition come out with a supplement which focuses upon the apologetics piece - one which teaches the "whys". Maybe as a monthly or quarterly emphasis which is taught and reviewed alongside the doctrines. If we do not equip children to know why they are able to believe what we believe, when faced with the whys in their teens and as young adults, far too many turn away from what they believed as children. We must teach the "whys" along with the "whats". I would love to see a supplement which does this.
  • I would love to see an update, or supplemental resource, with more activities beyond paper/pencil activities to engage children more in the learning process - such as science projects, serving projects, maybe a weekly "tag" with the question/answer/verse for them to collect/make and be able to put on a backpack to remind them throughout the week, etc. All children learn more/better when engaged, and since we have more and more children who only go to church with their grandparents IF the children want to go, we must be certain we are engaging them and are making church a place children want to go each opportunity they have to do so.
I highly recommend The New City Catechism Curriculum for all churches whether you use it strictly as written, or add it to what you are already doing to teach the "whats" of our faith. (You will find it at this link.)

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