Here’s a very insightful passage from George Herbert on effective catechizing. I think it illustrates many things – especially the extemporaneous and evangelistic side of catechizing. It is not as though rote memorization of form catechisms has no place. It certainly does with the baptized children of the church. Yet it is only one dimension of the churchly discipline of catechizing. The duty of catechizing extends to all those who require saving knowledge, those whom we would call the ‘unconverted.’ In such cases, skill and versatility in asking questions is no less necessary than when dealing with covenant children:
… the Parson once demanded after other questions about man’s misery; since man is so miserable, what is to be done? And the answerer could not tell; He asked him again, what he would do, if he were in a ditch? This familiar illustration made the answer so plaine, that he was even ashamed of his ignorance; for he could not but say, he would hast[e] out of it as fast as he could. Then he proceeded to ask, whether he could get out of the ditch alone, or whether he needed a helper, and who was that helper (The Living Temple, p. 257).
Isn’t good personal evangelism nothing other than effective catechizing?