An age-old way of becoming one with Christ and his church
What is it?
The catechumenate process is an age-old way of forming people in faith that is finding new life in the 21st century. This process, which can last from a few months to a few years, prepares adults for baptism and lives of discipleship through intentional mentoring, small group Bible study centered in the Sunday lectionary readings, periodic public rites in worship, and reflection on baptismal vocation in the world.
The ancient name for the process is the catechumenate. However, the process is highly adaptable and is known by many other names across the church: “The Way,” “GIFT,” “Journey in Faith,” “discipleship formation” and other descriptive names have been used.
In Holy Baptism the triune God delivers us from the forces of evil, puts our sinful self to death, gives us new birth, adopts us as children, and makes us members of the body of Christ, the church.
- Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 225.”
Why would our congregation participate?
Since 1988, there have been over 160,000 baptisms of people age 16 and older in the ELCA. That’s an average of over 7,500 per year. Plus, over 1.2 million people have been received into congregations by “Affirmation of Faith” – affirmation of the baptized life.
Our culture increasingly has more in common with the early centuries of the church when Christianity was not a central in communities. Families do not automatically baptize children, Sunday is no longer reserved for religious observations, and more and more people indicate that they are not affiliated with the Christian church.
Therefore, the whole Christian community has the privilege and responsibility to celebrate and support God’s gift of baptism in a number of ways in this new cultural situation. The congregation’s ministries that support the formation, education, service and evangelical witness of the faithful deepen and enliven the community’s participation in God’s mission in Jesus Christ for the sake of the world.
Hear more about the experience of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco, California by watching this video
.What is happening now?
In 2009, the ELCA has begun a new project to support the use of the catechumenate in congregations as a way to support and renew adult discipleship centered in baptismal grace and vocation.
The catechumenate process has proven to bring a renewed sense of faith and service in the life of congregations that adopt its use. We hope to multiply that renewal throughout the church!
Do you have a story to tell?
We are collecting stories about baptism, the catechumenate or adult discipleship. If you have a story to tell, let us know! Email email@example.com
Where can I find out more?
Read “A Case for the Catechumenate” written by Pastor Robert Schaefer, Executive for Worship. Download the pdf
that support the life of the baptized in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship
family of resources.