A Creed to Claim

BY Doug Jones

September 4, 2012


An idea I strongly agree with and hope gains traction from Kenda Creasy Dean’s book Almost Christian is that one of the finest gifts the church can bequeath young people is a creed to claim. A creed is a clear, succinct summary of a group’s beliefs. I grew up in a tradition that, every week, had the congregation stand and recite the Apostles’ Creed, or Nicene Creed. I believe it served me well to have that baseline of what it was that my church held as important. I came to adopt that creed as my own as a fifteen-year-old.

These days, it isn’t often that I find a church that takes time to stand as a body and recite a creed. In many of our North American liturgies, the confession of faith or recitation of a creed has been jettisoned. Regardless of whether it is part of our public worship, are we helping young people be exposed to, memorize, and come to value the historic creeds of our common Christian faith? Are our young people conversant in the creeds?

Many of the creeds have a narrative approach, telling the story of the central figure of our faith, Jesus Christ. A great place to start in exposing young people to creeds is in the New Testament. Many believe one of the oldest Christian creeds is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. A combination of teaching this passage, reciting it together during times of worship, and returning to it as an example of a succinct traditional statement of our common Christian faith is one approach to helping your students find a creed to claim. You might also find it helpful to expose your young people to the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.

Are the young people in your church receiving the gift of a creed to claim? What are some ways you have found helpful in giving the teens in your church a creed to claim?


[Photo credit: lwr]

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3 comments on “A Creed to Claim

  1. In my role as a youth pastor I’ve taken my youth group through a study of the apostles creed, however it’s a little rough when you have to come up with everything yourself. Have any suggestions on where to find good curriculum to help students learn the Creed?

  2. Craig – that is a great question. A couple of resources I have reviewed in developing an approach to teaching on the Apostles’ Creed that I feel are worth looking at in developing content, questions, ideas for delivering the material are: The Apostles’ Creed: Knowing What We Believe (DVD) from Paraclete Press; and I Believe: The Apostles’ Creed by Tim Chester from The Good Book dot Com.

  3. When asked what I believe over the past few years, I have merely pointed to that scripture, the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creed.

    If you feel like reading a REALLY HARD book, Jarislov Pelikan’s one-volume version of his work on the Creeds is FASCINATING!

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