Building on the foundation of the Heidelberg Catechism (1576), the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1642-47), and the Catechism for Young Children (1840) the North Star Catechism focuses on the basic elements of our historic Christian faith—God’s gospel, God’s church, and God’s mission.
Here are a few brief tips for using the catechism at home:
- Start early. Ideally, kids will begin learning answers to the catechism questions as they begin to talk. By doing so, they will add to their vocabulary words that reflect Bible truth. We suggest beginning the memory work on a child’s third birthday.
- Memorize questions, answers, and verses. It is helpful for kids to memorize the verses along with the questions and answers. This is a way of ensuring that catechism remains a gospel tool we use to point kids back to Jesus and his redemptive story told in the Bible. Kids should learn that the Bible, not the catechism, is the foundation for our faith.
- Teach it “when you sit down,” and “along the road.” Memorization will require some work. The devotionals we are writing to accompany the catechism are intended to aid in planned times around the living room or dinner table with your faith. Learning God’s truth happens best in the context of a relationship. So parents should always be alert for teachable moments—opportunities to talk about how the doctrine learned in the catechism applies to everyday life. The catechism is really just a reference point, a sort of script that parents and children have put to memory, which must be explained and applied through informal conversations.
- Learn it with the church community. The North Star catechism has 78 questions so that a church community can work together to memorize one question and answer each week, and repeat the entire catechism twice over a three-year period.