Over the years as I’ve worked with catechists to hand on the faith to their students I’ve noticed that there are two common ideas:1) Getting certain ideas communicated to ones students and 2) How to do that in a way that gets them engaged.

Sometimes I think trying to do activities to engage them is what catechists tend to be concerned about the most.  This has a lot to do with the times we are living in where students today need to be engaged in different ways then in generations past.  In addition catechists want to be sure to not bore their students (which is admirable).

What things should we consider when planning a lesson?  Does too much focus on engagement diminish in any way the message/content that needs to be handed on and proclaimed?  It’s worthwhile to be aware of pitfalls or shortcomings that could arise due to the need to involve students more than ever today.  Here are a few things about lesson planning and what to consider when teaching a lesson so that you, as a catechist, can successfully hand/pass on our rich Catholic Faith.

1) Whatever method(s) you use to convey the lesson of the day, make sure that it is serving the content.  It is key to find ways to “break open” and/or “bring to life” the message that you are teaching, but not at the expense of the content.  For some this is obvious but for others it might be something that unintentionally tends to happen.  All the activities you choose should help draw your students into the message/content.  I’ve seen where the message gets conveyed in a short amount of time and the activities that follow do not relate very well to the actual content that was just spoken of.

2) Don’t be afraid of the content being boring and feel you have to “get through” the content and then move onto getting them engaged and enjoying class.  Our Catholic Faith is not only rich but it is beautiful.  Allow the beauty of the truths of the Faith to speak for themselves (The Catechism does a great job of this).  You can assist with your enthusiasm and love for the Faith.  God wants to draw your students to Himself even more than you do so believe that His truth can do just that.  The Holy Spirit is the interior teacher and will stir up in them the gift of faith which they have been given.  This does require trust and a confidence that God seeks a response from them.

3) Pray for the soil of your students hearts to be ready and open to receive what has been proclaimed and discussed (before class and after class).

What do you find to be important to successfully handing on the faith?