Confirmation has traditionally been an educational program of the church geared toward middle school students. After 2-3 years of classes & study with the pastor, the confirmands affirm their faith & their baptisms in front of the congregation in the Rite of Confirmation. Confirmation programs have always had mixed results…not so much with getting students through the program, but with what comes afterwards. The hope is that the students will remain active in their faith life and continue to grow as disciples of Jesus. For a variety of reasons, this has not always been the case.
We’re going to try something new this year. I’ve designed a different kind of confirmation program that is less about meeting together in pastor-led classes and more about experiencing God through faith-based activities. It works kind of like an Eagle Scout process, with the students doing a variety of activities to gain a deeper understanding of the life of faith. There are lots of options and experiences to choose from, most of which will take place outside a classroom. Once they complete a required amount of activities, they will confirm their faith & celebrate with the congregation. There are three main sections:
- Rooted & Grounded: Faith as Identity
- Strength & Growth: Faith as a Resource
- Branching Out & Bearing Fruit: Faith as a Way of Life
The overall image is that of a tree as the student explores their roots, how they grow in faith, and how they can branch out and share their faith with others. I have no idea if this program will be any better than what we’ve tried previously, but I hope that this will be an improvement on what I’ve been offering and that this self-study, experiential model can work even during a pandemic.
There will be a Zoom meeting for all Confirmation students & parents on Tuesday, August 18 at 7:30pm. (You’ll receive an invitation in your email.) This will be primarily for 6th-8th graders, but if other people (older or younger) are interested in participating in this mostly- self-paced confirmation program, please let me know!