Getting Started

Many pastors and church leaders may be familiar with or have a catechism text, but are unsure how to begin using it effectively in their churches. This list will provide some of the most useful introductory material for beginning catechetical teaching in your church. Among the resources below you'll find a range of ecclesial sensibilities—from evangelical to catholic, from ancient to modern. There should be something here that will help you get catechetical teaching up and running.

 
 
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J. I. Packer and Gary Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way (2010)

J. I. Packer's "last campaign" has been to restore sound catechesis in the church, especially among evangelicals. This book emphasizes the biblical foundations of catechesis and the importance of the Gospel in orienting its practice. Much wisdom is to be found here.  

 
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William Harmless, Augustine and the Catechumenate (1995, rev. 2014).

There aren't many books like this one—academically rigorous, pastorally aimed, and lucidly written. Scholars admire the late Fr. Harmless's knowledge of Augustine, and catechists find in this book an engaging exposition of the ancient catechumenate that speaks to our own age. Fr. Harmless is also a great translator of Augustine, and his grasp of Augustine's "musical" sense of language in catechetical instruction is something all teachers will appreciate.  

 
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Lee Nelson, "Getting Catechesis Back on Track"

Lee Nelson, an Anglican priest in Waco, TX, is a master catechist and member of the Anglican Task Force for Catechesis. A few years ago he wrote a series of blog posts on the building blocks of catechesis, the recovery of the ancient catechumenate, and how to create a "culture" of catechesis within the local church. 

 
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Baylor University's Center for Christian Ethics, The Christian Reflection Project

The journal Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics, published by Baylor University's Center for Christian Ethics, dedicated a volume to catechesis. It has a range of articles, artwork, hymnody, and book reviews that help introduce the topic. They also published a study guide for supplemental use in church settings.  

 
 
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Gordon Smith, “Catechesis in a Secular Age: Reading 1 Peter for the Church in a Post-Christian Era”

In this one-hour audio presentation of a public lecture given at Regent College on July 4, 2018, Gordon Smith delivers a resounding call for the need for catechesis in our current moment—the secular age. In particular, he describes how catechesis needs both a rich account of the church and the Scriptures in its formation.