When Faith Alive Christian Resources rolled out its Questions Worth Asking catechism curriculum a few years back, churches cheered the student-driven, activity-based approach as a contemporary alternative to a more traditional classroom format.
But teachers who favor a more structured approach lamented the loss of the venerable Landmarks catechism series. As an alternative, Faith Alive has introduced a brand-new curriculum, HC and Me, which gives the more classic approach a fresh twist.
Created by Bob Rozema, a former high school English teacher and Faith Alive editor of several previous catechism courses, HC and Me keeps things simple. Rozema pares down the number of activity choices and increases the teacher’s role in discussion, but still respects different learning styles.
“The catechism is taught in a way that appeals to the various ways students learn,” Rozema explains. “Lessons include not only ‘word-smart’ activities but also offer drama, art, games, and other interactive activities. Memorization is an option but is restricted to a few key questions and answers. And lecturing is discouraged.”
Using the Heidelberg Catechism as the main text, leaders guide a “Warm-Up” activity that introduces students to the lesson’s topic with a lively group activity or personal reflection/writing activity, a “Main Event” activity that looks closely at the catechism using a variety of interactive approaches, and a “Follow-Up” activity that helps kids apply the lesson to their lives using prayer, journaling, reflection, and commitments to action.
Teachers may choose to supplement their instruction with James Schaap’s Every Bit of Who I Am, a devotional book for teens based on the Heidelberg Catechism.
“When the catechism is taught right,” Rozema says, “it reaches the hearts and minds of teens. No kid should grow up without experiencing the comfort described in Q&A 1, the security of God’s care and providence described in Q&A 26-27, and the community of believers described in Q&A 54.”
HC and Me and Questions Worth Asking are available from Faith Alive Christian Resources. Check them out to see which approach works for you. For more information, call 800-333-8300; log on to www.FaithAliveResources.org, or visit the resource center at 2850 Kalamazoo SE in Grand Rapids, Mich., or 3475 Mainway in Burlington, Ontario.