Adult Catechesis, “Christianity 101”
The word “catechesis” is an older name for this experience that includes not only learning but practice. A recent name is “adult instruction.” More recently, some have begun calling this class “Christianity 101,” a name that captures its introductory purpose. It covers the basic teachings and practices of the Christian faith. This class aims toward membership in the church, but membership is not required at the completion of the course. The only cost is the time and attention it takes to come and learn. We begin new courses several times throughout the year, and can accommodate most scheduling needs.
What do we learn?
The purpose of this class is to introduce more than information. Christianity includes a worldview and habits that form a way of life. The older name for this class is “catechesis” (cat-uh-kee-sis). That sounds technical, but it really just comes from the word “catechism.” We still use resources by that name. In fact, we still memorize the primary texts of Luther’s Small Catechism. These are the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 in a standard form, the Apostles’ Creed that has been used by Christians to summarize the main teachings of the Christian faith since around the 2nd Century, A.D., the Lord’s Prayer, and a collection of Bible passages that teach about Baptism, the ministry of forgiveness, and the Lord’s Supper.
Teaching as Spiritual Care
Those who are taking the class are partly in the spiritual care of its teacher, our pastor. The pastor has a professional responsibility to teach the Biblical truth that you need to hear, just as he must do for the entire congregation at Lakewood Lutheran. If you don’t have a pastor already, this may be the only pastoral care that you have received for some time. This means that students have a status similar to membership in the congregation. The old word for such a student is “catechumen.” In ancient times, catechumens attended church weekly, but did not remain in the service for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. We no longer dismiss catechumens early, but encourage them to attend as part of becoming aquainted with our practices of faith and life, and we ask them to wait until the end of their class before approaching the altar to receive Holy Communion. This is part of the pastoral care that new students receive.
Another ancient practice is that of assigning a sponsor to each catechumen from the membership of the congregation. We may not be able to do this, but it is a good practice. To that end, our students of the adult instruction class and members of the congregation are encouraged to attend and practice the habits of the Christian faith together.
Sunday Bible Class
The Sunday Bible class meets before church. Children are welcome too! Come at 9:55 to grab a cup of coffee and claim your spot. We start at 10, and it runs until 10:30. The topic can vary from Sunday to Sunday, or run through a series. Common topics are books of the Bible, specific doctrines or practices of the church, applying lessons of history, or spiritual subjects of interest.