A Catechism class is a formalized instruction in the Bible, church history, ethics and other important topics within a religious denomination. Catechism classes are typically associated with the Catholic church, although they are also provided in other denominations. With so many demands on their time, many teenagers are reluctant to take on these classes. Help your teen students feel engaged by making the classes fun.
After a long day at school, the last thing a teen will want to do is sit down for another lecture. If your church has a recreation room, a library or even a comfortable lawn, consider holding classes in one of these locations. Moving the venue lets teens know from the start that your classes are non-traditional and exciting. Providing a comfortable space will help the teens relax and as a result, they may be more open to the lessons you are teaching.
Games and Activities
Although it is important to follow the basic curriculum, spice things up with games and special activities. Play trivia games. Draw pictures that relate to the evening’s lessons. Have a scavenger hunt through the Catechism text. In addition to religious games that take place during each class, provide recreational activities before or after class. Ping pong, basketball and other sports are an excellent reward for students who pay attention during class. And remember to include snacks!
Many Bible lessons have been turned into movies. To keep teens engaged and interested in their classes, hold a movie night once every few weeks. Choose films that reinforce the lessons the students are learning in class, and facilitate a discussion group after the movie. Discuss the ways in which a movie stays true to the Biblical lessons you all have learned and where it veers off. Talk about the implications the film has for the teens’ own lives. Visit FishEaters.com for a list of films with Catholic or Biblical themes.
The teen years are a time of questioning, exploring and developing a personal identity. Rather than lecturing to Catechism students or making them feel that your point of view is the only one that matters, ask leading questions. Create an emotional safe space in which they can ask you the tough questions that they might not feel comfortable asking elsewhere. Help them understand how the principles they learn in class can provide a road map for their lives. Prepare yourself for challenging questions that might be difficult to answer, and encourage kids to speak up with their own responses to their classmates’ questions.