Every catechist desires to grow in his/her ability to be a good communicator and witness of the Faith. Here are 10 skills that will contribute to anyone seeking to pass on the faith and engage the students you are ministering to.

1. Planning Good Lessons – taking the time to plan your lesson is one of the best gauges of weather your lesson will be successful or not.

2. Leading Prayer Experiences – Helping lead children in pray is a sure way of getting them not only to hear and know “about” God but also to encounter Him.

3. Communicating Effectively – It is important to find ways to communicate to students effectively. Often in our educational environment in the U.S. kids seem to allow very little to go from what they are hearing to what they are actually processing and actually comprehending.  Catechists need to communicate in a way that engages students.

4. Involving Children – The more you involve your students the more engaged they will be and the more they will enjoy their Religious Education experience.  Lecturing or reading from the text alone will not draw the students into the truths and message that you as a catechist are trying to communicate.  At the heart of our message is a person – Christ.

5. Establishing Discipline – Either you discipline the kids or they discipline you. In today’s class environment students that distract draw their classmates attention away from the lesson and onto the themselves.  Classroom time is very valuable and there is no time for students who seek to distract you (the catechist) or the other students from the precious little time you have with your students each week.

6. Using A Variety of Teaching Methods – one week break your students into small groups, another week have them work individually, and another week ask for volunteers, etc… Also, use different ways or means to communicate your message (art, video, music, illustrations to name a few).

7. Asking Questions Properly– if you ask questions that require yes or no answers that is all you will get.  Ask questions that will draw more out of your students and that will draw the students deeper into the subject at had.  Sometimes the very questions that are asked actually distract from the main points you want to make because students begin to share various experiences that don’t help focus on the lesson.

8. Leading Good Discussions – depending on the age discussion has the potential to really help students not only think and absorb what they are learning about but also to draw more out of them because they desire to share. It is not that they don’t have something to share.   It could be that they are not receiving the right questions that will draw them out and allow them to share.

9. Offering Children Positive Feedback – St. Paul said “Encourage one another while it is still today” (Heb. 3:13). Students desire to be encouraged in their lives. It is no different when it comes to their faith.  The only requirement is that you are authentic in your encouragement.

10. Working Well with the Text – The textbook is only a tool. It is not the crux of your lesson.  You as the catechist are the primary communicator, not the textbook.  You are the primary witness and messenger of the Good News, not the textbook or the video you show, or the activity you have your students participate in but you are the one who brings it together so that the students are able to grow in their knowledge of the faith and their relationship with God.  Yes the textbook can be a good guide for what you are going to cover but it should never be the sole thing you depend on to teach your students (I only recommend very small doses of reading out of the textbook).