Six Questions with Dave Rueter…
Registration is open for the 27th Annual Theological Symposium, “From Font to Grave: Catechesis for the Lifelong Disciple” (September 20-21, 2016). We have invited a few of this year’s presenters to answer a few questions as they prepare for the Symposium. Dave Rueter is the author of Teaching the Faith at Home and is assistant professor of Christian education and DCE program director at Concordia University, Irvine, California. He will be presenting on “Equipping the Family to Teach the Faith at Home.”
Could you share your experience in lifelong catechesis?
Growing up as a church worker kid, you are always around church, so in a way I have always been exposed to catechesis, both formally and informally. In my ministry as a DCE, I have been privileged to be very hands on not only with confirmation itself, but with the larger children’s and youth ministry surrounding it. I have seen first-hand both the successes and challenges when it comes to catechizing our children. Whether it is providing pre-catechesis to elementary school students, to junior high confirmation class, to high school instruction (yes, I have taught a good number over the years), I just love the chance to teach the faith and encourage parents to join in the process at home.
Can you provide one or two interesting or surprising issues your learned from your research?
My research had been focused on finding an instructional method that would stand out as being more effective in helping youth remain connected to their local church following confirmation. What I found instead was a large correlation between the investment of the family in the life of the congregation prior to confirmation and the connection of youth following.
Can you share any positive responses to your book?
The following was sent to me by Pastor Ross Engle from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Middleburg, Florida:
“I want to thank you for the gift to the church that is your recent book, Teaching the Faith at Home. This book is a tremendous resource, one that I enjoyed reading and have found useful in my own teaching. I found it so useful that I had my congregation order 20 copies which we have distributed to families and people in leadership positions at the church.”
What would you would like participants to take away from the symposium?
My greatest hope is that they see partnering with the home in catechesis as not just something we are called to do, but something that, with God’s help, we can actually achieve. Parents want the best for their kids. When we offer the best, they will learn to recognize it for what it is.
How has your work impacted your teaching of the next generation of professional church workers?
DCE ministry has always been about lifespan education. My work has provided an additional context into which I am able to speak when teaching and mentoring the next generation of church workers. Talking about “catechesis” rather than “confirmation” brings a lifespan focus to what may otherwise been seen as a mere two-year ministry.
Any other thoughts that would help people get a better idea of what your work is about?
I am and remain a DCE because I believe that it is vitally important to focus the church’s attention on the teaching of the faith, especially to the young. My passion for catechesis grows from this. I love nothing more than to help parents learn how they can be a vital part of teaching the faith in their own homes. I want to help other church workers catch that same passion and inspire them to equip the families in their own churches