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How does your church do your profession of faith classes? What about new member classes? Do you write your own catechism materials and curriculum? Do you use Faith Alive resources? How have you adapted your resources to be relevant to your specific context? Thanks in advance for your insight!


I just redid my curriculum this year and have had several people of all different ages go through it these last couple of months. So far it's gone well.

For the first four sessions, I took the questions we ask professing members and broke them down into their various clauses, and used elements from our Confessions and scriptures in response to each question. I go through each session with the applicant and explain & discuss each section.

Session 5 focuses on sacraments, and the final section reviews the commitments a person is making to our particular congregation when becoming a member.

I've attached the six session packet:

Thanks for sharing this, Chad. It looks helpful and well organized. Like you, I've found it helpful to lean on the four questions. I don't have a document to share, though, still developing a process. It was particularly interesting to see your description of what it means to be a Worthington CRC church member - we've been working on the same sort of profile here at Faith in Burlington ON.

I noted on p.19 of your doc that applicants will be asked at the elders meeting, Share your story. Do you help applicants ahead of time to craft their story? If so, what's your process, and what resources have you found helpful? I'm looking for a structure or set of questions to guide their story-shaping that is intuitive and easy to follow, but still productive and rich for forming a story they feel excited and comfortable to share. 

  • One thing I've tried in the past is to outline the four building blocks of faith (as described on Thrive website) and invite them to share something about how God has  brought people and circumstances into their lives to shape them in each category.
  • I've also tried a post-it note exercise in which they spend time in prayer, then jot down on a post-it note any memory or person that the Spirit brings to mind. Then there are follow-up tasks to organize the notes and shape into a coherent narrative. 

Do you have something else to suggest? Thanks!

No, I don't really prep them to help organize their own story. Our big emphasis any time we get to sit down with people - not just these prospective members - is to practice conveying what Christianity is all about in a minute or less, as if they were describing it to their friends at lunch. Not only is this a good indicator of how well people know the gospel themselves, but it also preps us to fulfill our mandate to share it. It's fun to hear how many different ways the same truths can be communicated!

I'll often ask a couple of the elders to give their own rendition of the 1 minute gospel after the people being interviewed go. I usually make it a bit tougher on them by putting them in a hypothetical situation, like sharing with a super skeptical person or someone outcast from society. It's good for everyone involved to see that even the elders trip over their words a bit addressing difficult situations!

While not  as involved as what Chad shared above, I too run through the Heidelberg in generally 5 classes, that each focus on a section of the Catechism, as well one big theme question for the class. At the end, I ask them to write a letter of testimony, written as a prayer to the Lord, that touches on 4 specific topics. Below is my general pattern:

Lesson 1

How would you tell your faith story?

What is wrong with humanity? (Heidelberg Q&A 1-11) (I read all in class/they do not read these ahead of our first class [but the catechism reading is their homework for subsequent classes])

Lesson 2

What Jesus has done for you?

How are we delivered? (Heidelberg Q&A 12-64) (I read, 12-19, 21, 60-64 in class)

Lesson 3

What happens at Church?

What is the Church? (Heidelberg Q&A 65-85) (I read 65-68, 72, 75, 81, 83-85 in class)

Lesson 4

What has changed and is changing in your life?

How should we live? (Heidelberg Q&A 86-115) (I read 86, 91, 94, 96, 99, 103, 104, 105, 108-115 in class)

Lesson 5

Where can you serve?

Why Pray? (Heidelberg Q&A 116-129) (read 116, 117)


At a meeting of the Elders or Council you will read your prayer. Instructions: Write out a prayer to God, to be read out loud, that 1. Declares who He is to you, 2. Confesses why you need Jesus, 3. Gives thanks for how He has brought you to this place, and 4. Gives thanks for God's Word, and an example of how a portion of that has been used in your life.

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