The Catechism in Song: The Benefits of Using Hymnody in Teaching Catechism
This study explores the benefits of incorporating hymns into a religion curriculum focused on Luther’s Small Catechism. Two things become abundantly clear through a study of God’s Word on this topic: God wants his Word impressed on hearts and minds and his gift of music carries his Word to hearts and minds. Luther’s approach to the instruction of God’s Word displays how these two biblical concepts come together. He composed hymns in a way to serve the purpose of Christian education. How then have Lutherans followed in his example of utilizing hymns in teaching scriptural truth to children? By evaluating the use of hymns in various curriculums, this study uncovers some existing practices for incorporating hymns into religious instruction. Hymns present a way for a teacher to address cognitive and affective learning goals, which will provide for greater retention of the Chief Parts of the Catechism. A hymn’s rhyme and melody benefit a child’s learning in far too many ways for hymns to be overlooked in teaching catechism. The role hymns may hold in a catechism classroom is to promote understanding and retention.