Teach These Things: FAQ’s

489px-LutherRoseWhich version of the Catechism does Teach These Things use?
Whichever you choose. The text of the catechism is not included for that very reason. References in the text do use the 1986 CPH translation, but for learning by heart through recitation and memory work, any translation can be easily used.

What version of the Holy Bible does Teach These Things use?
There are some footnotes dealing with the ESV text (the same one used in LSB), but you can use any version you choose.

Really? Nothing more to buy ever?
Really. This is it. Of course, you need a copy of the catechism and the bible for each student, but there’s no other books from me. Buy it once, use it forever.

What payments do you take?

Gumroad (e-edition) takes all major credit cards.
Lulu takes all major credit cards, and Paypal.
If you would like to pay by check (e-edition only), send me a check for $19.99, and I will send you a CD with the e-edition on it. Be sure to include your address with the check.

Can I give a copy of Teach These Things to a friend who is interested and would like to see what’s in it?
We’d prefer if you direct him to the online samples. If he has any other questions, we’d be happy to answer them.

Is there DRM (Digital Rights Management) on Teach These Things?
In order to provide the best user experience, the author has NOT added any sort of DRM to the files. And since one of the topics covered is proper observance of the seventh commandment, he assumed that this would not be needed.
When you purchase Teach These Things, it is available for personal or congregational use. In those settings, do what you wish with it to make catechesis most effective.  If you think that giving away free copies willy-nilly without the author’s permission is acceptable, please see pages 29-31. If that does not convince you, then DRM would only slow you down, and annoy others.

What is the return policy?
Gumroad allows refunds. But since we have such a nice sample, and you know what you are getting, why would you want to?
Lulu only allows reshipment for damaged or defective merchandise.

I’m curious how Teach These Things covers a certain topic. Is there a way to find out before I buy?
Absolutely! Leave a comment and I will contact you via email.

I have a different question about Teach These Things. Can I ask it?
We’d love it if you did! Leave a comment, and we will either answer it, or contact you via email.

UPDATE: What is the basic outline of classroom instruction? 
Opening Prayer & Recitation: 10-15 minutes
Biblical Account: 30-50 minutes
Break: 5 minutes
Catechism Discussion: 30-50 minutes
Closing Prayer: 5-10 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour 45 minutes.
That’s ideal. You can shorten each section slightly if necessary. Some pastors have managed it in an hour. (Not recommended, but possible)



7 thoughts on “Teach These Things: FAQ’s

  1. Pastor Kevin Yoakum

    Pastor Winter,
    I am very intrigued by everything I have seen in the sample pages. As a pastor, I spend almost every spring wishing I had used a different teaching resource, and I spend every summer pouring over confirmation curriculums and trying to remember the point of all of this and what will work with my particular students coming in the fall.

    When you say in your preface that we often skip the first two steps and just to the Explanation, it occurs to me that is often the truth in my own instruction. Also, proof-texting may cause for “easy” thoughtless instruction for the teacher, it becomes laborious for the student.

    I’m sure I will be getting a copy of TTT as soon as I can free up another 20 bucks.

    Three questions:
    1. I see in the Syllabus for the first year that there is the “Optional Bible History” keyed to “100 Bible Stories.” Now that CPH has discovered 20 more Bible stories and issued “120 Bible Stories”, are these stories easily converted to the new book?
    2. In one of your blog posts, you mentioned that this is usable also for adult catechesis. Do they follow the same two-year curriculum, or is there a condensed syllabi for adults?
    3. “It is assumed that the catechesis will be in the context of the Service of Prayer and Preaching or the Daily Prayer Offices.” How did this go with field test congregations? Did they used everything, even the canticles? I know these questions sound skeptical or naive (take your pick), but since I’ve always assumed a classroom setting, I’m trying to envision how this helps.

    1. Country Preacher Post author

      Thanks for the interest. In answer to your questions:
      1) CPH still sells 100 bible stories. I did inquire about this myself when 120 Bible Stories was released. 120 Bible Stories is for roughly grades 2-5, while 100 Bible Stories is for roughly grades 5-8. The reason I did not use 120 Bible stories was 1) 100 Bible Stories is lighter, and my catechumens come straight from school to the church. 2) 100 Bible Stories is cheaper, but most importantly 3) 100 Bible Stories is appropriate for the age level that I instruct. I have not compared the list of stories between the two, but one could do so. The optional Bible history is designed to give the great sweep of salvation history, so modifying the bible stories used would not really be detrimental for these sessions. The same would not be true for the rest of the sessions, but they are designed with scripture readings in mind.
      2) I use the “one year syllabus” with adults. While I use this as the basis for adult instruction, it is always individually tailored. No two adults have the same background/knowledge/experience with church. For those who have no previous church experience, I do the entire thing. It takes 6-9 months, depending on how often we can meet. If someone is a lifelong church member, and is coming to the Lutheran church because they prefer the teaching/worship, then I will often abbreviate things for them. Sometimes I just review the Luther Large Catechism outlines. Once I covered the Ten Commandments in one session, but Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in three each. (Baptist Background.) When someone from the Roman Church took the class, I abbreviated the sections on the sacraments, focusing on the differences in effect, but said little about the substance. In that case we spent more time on the meaning of the creed. (Especially original sin/justification.) Basically, I spend time on whatever specific differences exist between their old church and ours, using Luther’s outline to make sure that I cover the entire corpus of doctrine at least briefly, and stopping for any questions they may have. To some extent, I can anticipate the areas where there will be questions based on their background, but I am often surprised.
      3) They loved it. One sang, another (who is not musical) skipped the hymns entirely and spoke the canticles. My field testers used the Service of Prayer and Preaching, which is tailor made for this sort of situation. I actually do *NOT* use that service. I prefer the Daily Prayer offices. I use one at the beginning, and one at the end. I like to show the catechumens a pattern for daily prayer in the home. We do sing the hymns. Remember this: New catechumens coming in have no idea what “normal” instruction in the faith is like. They will assume that whatever you do is the way it is supposed to be. In previous years, when I tried introducing hymns mid-year, they already had the idea that hymns were not used for this, and balked. When, on the first day, I say, “And now we sing hymn…” they assume that hymn singing/liturgy is a part of instruction. Some congregations have done the instruction in the nave, others do the prayers in the nave, and the instruction elsewhere. It works well both ways. I actually prefer the break between – we go into the Nave and then exit the nave for the instruction. It sets apart a time for prayer, but allows for the young ones to speak freely during instruction. Others have done the entire thing in the Nave, to tie the instruction to preaching. It works with whatever you are comfortable with.
      Theoretically, you could just do the instruction and leave off the daily prayer. But I find the prayer at the beginning and end provides a point of focus on God’s word and prayer that helps the instruction hit home more than the math lesson they just had at school.

  2. Jason

    What is the basic outline of classroom instruct that you employ in using these materials? (how much time do you set aside for the different parts) Also, when you say a “long time” for catechesis makes adults nervous, what is a longer time in your experience? Is 4 years too long a time with the children (starting as early as third grade)?

    1. Country Preacher Post author

      I have updated the FAQ’s with an answer to your first question.
      The answers to the last two questions depend a lot on your pastoral and catechetical philosophy. I have spent as much as nine months, or as little as ten weeks on instruction, depending on the background and circumstances of the person coming into the church. I don’t think longer is necessarily worse for catechesis. This program is two years. A four year program can certainly be done, by adding more bible history, etc. I know of pastors who require instruction even after confirmation, to help dispel the “graduation” mentality. There are really no hard-and-fast rules for any of this. Pastoral Discretion – in the good sense – is necessary. As one pastor says, when asked how long adult catechesis will take, “I don’t know, because I don’t know your questions yet.” (I hope to address these sorts of questions in more detail in my upcoming book, Catechetics: Fixing Confirmation.)

  3. Rev. Don Engebretson

    Pastor Winter,
    I was asked to present this summer at Pr. Bender’s catechetical symposium, and so once again had the opportunity to reflect on his signature catechesis. When I read of yours it sounded similar, although not as extensive. How does yours compare? I have not used Pr. Bender’s materials, but I am curious of the possible advantages/disadvantages in each system.

    1. Country Preacher Post author

      Very insightful question. Pastor Bender’s catechesis is very good. It is founded on many of the same principles that this one is. I know that there are a lot of pastors who use it, and do so very successfully. But one of the things I’ve struggled with, and that I have heard a lot of pastors struggle with, is time – there is not enough time to do justice to his work. I did not want to take his catechesis and cut it apart piecemeal so that bits and pieces fit into the once-a-week catechesis program of my parish.

      Teach These Things is a from-the-ground-up catechesis. It fits the schedule of the average parish with no school, where the pastor has maybe 60-120 minutes per week for a year or two to teach the catechism. It offers both the broad sweep of scripture, and a deep look at selected portions. It takes the Small and Large Catechism seriously on their own terms. I can not speak of specific points of comparison, never having taught from, and not owning, Pr. Bender’s catechesis. However, as noted in the acknowledgments, I did take advantage of his collection of lectures from Dr. Kenneth Korby. Those helped me in my initial conceptual work. I know that Pr. Bender has also been influenced by Dr. Korby, so I would expect a fair amount of overlap regarding principles which underlie the catechesis.

      Teach These Things is also, to my knowledge, the first catechesis of any kind to include outlines of Luther’s Large Catechism. For those who are teaching, it really helps to identify the structure and main points of Luther’s pattern of instruction. These have also been recommended as a useful resource even for those who are not catechists, to help in understanding the Large Catechism in private study.

      1. Rev. Don Engebretson

        Thank you very much. You answered my question well. I never really considered the difference between parishes with and without day schools and the adaptation of catechesis, especially Bender’s. I, too, have a parish without a day school and only an hour and a half weekly. Your system sounds very intriguing. Thank you again!

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