Christ commissioned his Church to make disciples by teaching and baptizing. The church is involved in the spiritual growth of every member, both young and old. We offer new member classes, confirmation instruction, Sunday School, and Bible Classes for all ages beginning at age three.
The classic term for the spiritual education of the Christian is catechesis. Catechesis is God’s way of teaching to convert sinners to the new life of faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. We teach the Word of God and pass on the language of our holy faith, so that the baptized learn:
- how to receive God’s gifts in the Divine Service,
- how to pray,
- how to confess,
- and how to live.
Catechesis is, therefore, much more comprehensive and involves the actual doing of things that Christians will continue to do for the rest of their lives: attend Divine Service, listen to preaching, receive the Lord’s Supper, confess their sins, receive absolution, pray, confess their faith, forgive one another, live as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children, workers of every kind, etc.
Luther once wrote about catechesis:
Now if we had nothing more than this one verse [Matt. 18:10] where Christ lets us know how much His heavenly Father is concerned about the young folks, we ought to conclude that among all good works there is none greater or better than to train young people properly. For who would not consider it a great thing to serve those whom the angels serve, who are constantly before the face of God? Therefore father and mother, men-servants and maid-servants, school-teachers and preachers, and all who are dealing with young people should be cordially happy, willing and ready for such service, and not to consider it with annoyance; since these great princes of heaven are not ashamed to serve the young people and to be concerned about them. (StL XIII:2778)