Category Archives: Making Disciples

Mission and the Small Catechism: Aspects of the Connection, and Realities to Face

The connection between mission and the Small Catechism has a number of aspects. Some of them are:

  • state of catechesis
  • marriage
  • family
  • congregation
  • community
  • generations

Some realities we need to face are that:

  • The state of catechesis is poor.
  • We are suffering a death rate among our own offspring who, after being confirmed, depart the faith. This is death by apostasy.
  • The strength of outreach depends on the strength of inreach.
  • Because we are vague and faint on the Catechism, our outreach is weak.
  • We need to strengthen catechetical inreach in marriage, the family, and the congregation for their own sakes, and then also for the sake of outreach to the community.
  • The Small Catechism teaches what needs to be presented in evangelism and outreach. It contains the six chief parts of Christian doctrine. Do we think something else is what outreach should present?

I have been writing a series of articles that make initial rough sketches of these aspects and realities.

State of Catechesis


Family and Congregation



I welcome your feedback, ideas, suggestions, evidences, and experiences in these areas. Please use the contact form to write to me.

Catechesis Quotes from John T. Pless at 2016 BJS Conference

John T Pless at 2016 BJS ConferenceQuotations from John T. Pless speaking at the 2016 Brothers of John the Steadfast Conference in Tomball, Texas, as reported by Cafe’ Sola on Facebook.

“The small Catechism has been influential in bringing whole congregations into the Lutheran faith.”

“Even non Lutherans were using the Small Catechism for mission work!”

“A full 1/4th of the Lutheran pastors were dismissed after the (Saxon) visitation.”

“There is rhyme and reason to why Luther structured the Catechism the way he did, starting with the 10 Commandments.”

“Where is the faith transmitted? In God’s own small group, the family!”

“The antinomian controversy … it started in 1520, and it hasn’t ended yet!”

Didache by John T. Pless. An invaluable treasure selling for just $12.

Didache aims to help contemporary Christians understand the interplay between what Lutherans confess (doctrine), how we receive Christ’s gifts in the Divine Service (liturgy), and how we pray and live under the cross of Jesus Christ (vocation).

Didache seeks to instruct Christians in a basic pattern of catechesis which recognizes that doctrine is drawn from the Holy Scriptures, confessed in Luther’s Small Catechism, and expressed in the hymnal. These are the three books of the Church’s life; they should be known by individual Christians as well.

Didache is designed to lead students ever deeper into these basic books. It follows the pattern of Luther’s Catechism, beginning with repentance (the Ten Commandments), faith (the Apostles’ Creed), and holy living (the Lord’s Prayer).

After this catechetical core come the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, which constitutes Christian existence in the forgiveness of sins; Confession and Absolution, where the believer is returned to the promise of Baptism; and the Sacrament of the Altar, where we receive the benefits of Calvary—Christ’s body and blood—for the forgiveness of our sins.

Lastly, the Daily Prayers and Table of Duties show us that the gifts of our Lord draw us not away from the world where we pray and live as His holy people in our various stations of life.

The Holy Scriptures are the Word of the Triune God. His words work through the Law, which exposes and condemns the sinner and leads to repentance, and through the Gospel, which announces and bestows reconciliation with God in the blood of His Son delivered by the Holy Spirit in His means of grace. The Small Catechism and the hymnal (both the liturgical orders and the hymns) are forever echoing the Holy Scriptures. Didache seeks to make this connection more explicit so that students of the Word can more fully appreciate and use all three books throughout their lives.

See the Table of Contents here.

See sample pages here.

This work is by John T. Pless, so you know it’s sound.

Emmanuel Press sell this treasure for just $12, and they offer a discount for orders of 20+ books.

Baptism and Catechesis Make Disciples

“In spite of numerous adamic attempts to put the Lord Jesus Christ in the unemployment office and take over his work with blueprints for the building of the church according to our own schemes and tools of our making, the Lord Jesus Christ alone remains the architect and builder of his church. In those regal words of St. Matthew 16:18 he says, ‘I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ This same Lord, now crucified and raised from the dead, speaks with all authority on the day of his Ascension, giving to his disciples the mandate to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to keep all that he has given us. Disciples are made by baptizing and teaching. Jesus builds his church with these tools. This teaching that flows from Holy Baptism and leads to Holy Baptism is catechesis. Catechesis is the way in which the word of God is spoken and then echoes back in confession to the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

John T. Pless, “Catechesis for Life in the Royal Priesthood,” Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology, vol. III, no. 4, Reformation/October 1994, p. 3.