What is Summer Catechism?
If we know one thing about children, it is that they have questions! How does the sun shine? Where did I come from? Why can’t I have two donuts? Children are innately and wonderfully curious!
Christian author and counselor, Dan Allender, once wrote that questions in Scripture are “…not merely questions, they are portals to know the heart of God, and consequently the heartbeat of His creation.” Our questions about who God is, what his plans are, why he made us, etc… are tools for knowing and experiencing Him more deeply.
How do we answer those questions for our children? Our denomination uses something called a catechism, which is a set of questions and answers that seek to systematize what we believe as Christians about questions such as, Who is God? and Why did He make us? Our denomination, Presbyterian Church in America, uses the Westminster Confession of Faith Catechism (WCF).
We don’t view the WCF as our bible or even as an equal to Scripture. Knowing a catechism does not make someone a Christian. It is simply a way we create categories for understanding and for ways to state what we believe the Bible teaches. Here is how another author puts it:
Catechisms are summarizing God’s truths into digestible question and answers so that as our children experience life and the world around them they are able to understand how God has worked through time and history, how he will work in their lives and in the future of this world and mankind. As we walk through the difficult questions in life, the catechism is often the guide to which we are able to direct our children to the truths in Scripture… [with it] you are laying the kindling and the logs in the fireplace, so that when the spark of the Holy Spirit ignites your child’s heart, there will be a steady, mature blaze.
Over the summer, we take a break from Godly Play and teach catechism questions and answers to our children. Some years, we use the Kids’ Quest curriculum. This summer, we are using New City Catechism, which consists of only 52 Q&A. It is made adapted from multiple catechisms that word the same truths slightly differently. You can read more about it HERE.
This is also a time when our elders and deacons work together and teach our children. It is a great way for our children to become familiar with our church leadership as well as help our annual RMC Kids team have a bit of a summer sabbatical from teaching.