The Confirmation Program at Faith is a two-year study usually beginning in the 5th Grade with students then Confirming their faith in the 6th Grade. Through these two years of focus, our desire is for our young people to grow in knowledge and depth of insight in God’s Word. Yet, forming community relationships, discovering gifts and taking serving roles, and finding mentors and partnership in God’s Church are all important elements of this season of growth. Confirmation lays a foundation of understanding in Christ upon which our youth, school and congregational ministries will build.
Familiarity with Luther’s Small Catechism
Observed faith formation
Multiple adult voices supporting parent teaching roles
Parent participation and leadership
Expression of personal faith formation & significance
Anticipation of future faith development, growth, expression and actualization
While there is a significant component of knowledge associated with Catechesis, it is there in support of faith nurture and development. It is vital that those preparing for Confirmation have the opportunity to ask questions and wrestle with their formational beliefs in a faith-focused context rather than a knowledge-based one. The Discovery Group provides:
An introduction to the small group experience
A safe place to wrestle more deeply with their faith questions
A secondary place for clarifying what they are learning
A greater number of adults sharing their faith
Opportunities to hear thoughts of others students
Seminar Teaching Sessions
Meeting primarily on a monthly basis, Seminar Sessions are the primary teaching time for our students working toward Confirmation. While weekly meetings have often been used in the past, it can be a challenge to create connections week-to-week. While a seminar format can be more intense, it serves to provide a unified context for students. More than that, it places students at the center rather than the curriculum. It allows students to ask questions, draw conclusions, and discover more about how to seek answers in God’s Word.
The Confirmation Retreat is a significant event for the 2nd-Year students. In anticipation of Confirming their faith, which is an affirmation of the faith given them in Baptism, it’s important for students to personally consider if they are ready to take this step. A retreat experience can allow us to step out of our regular routines and focus briefly on what this faith step really means. It offers a different perspective as they begin anticipating these two years of study.
Most versions of preparation for Confirmation have some kind of concluding project. There is tremendous value in reflecting on growth, considering significance, and even anticipating the future. However, just as each person growing in their faith is uniquely created by God, each of them will have unique expressions of their faith.
It can be difficult for a group of people to share significant thoughts with a large number of people. There also is a challenge in giving enough guidance to provide direction while preventing stifled creativity. As a result, there are two components for each student’s Faith Project.
The CONFIRMATION STOLE is the centerpiece of the project. On one side, students will place significant Christian symbols (3) that represent how they identify their faith. On the other side, they will place symbols that identify them personally (3). The stole is worn during Confirmation as a symbol of the hope, freedom and responsibility that God has set upon them.
The FAITH FAIR BOARD is a place for the students to briefly describe the symbols on their stole (which hangs on the board). They also share about how they have grown, the significance of their faith, and how they expect their faith to grow in the future.
These two components are brought together at the FAITH FAIR, a unique experience intended to allow all of the students to share their faith – not only with family, etc., but also with each other. Because they tell their story to some extent on their boards, others can learn about them even if they are off looking at the projects of others. It might also be noted that these boards can be left up for members of the broader congregation to see, allowing connection to the entire faith community.
Faith Project Workshops
During the second year of Confirmation training, we wish to equip and support students as they prepare their Faith Projects. As we move out of the school year and into summer, Faith Project Workshops will be offered at least a couple of times. These workshops provide help, support, ideas and more as students begin or continue work on their project. They are intended to provide a specific time/day for project work, as well as the necessary guidance for a successful project.
Community Service Hours
As our students take steps toward Confirmation of their faith, it’s VITAL that they begin to recognize that they are already part of God’s Church. Students discover how to serve God now in anticipation of their Confirmation. As they experience ways to serve others at church/home/school/neighborhood, students begin to see the difference that God can and does make through them. It also encourages their recognition of unique giftedness that God has placed within each of their lives.
Confirmation Prayer Partners
Throughout their two years of focused Confirmation preparation, Confirmands are supported by a unique prayer partner. This partner, while giving encouragement and continually praying for their student, remains a secret until their Celebration Dinner.
Scripture Verse Notation
Engagement of Scripture in real ways is an important element of faith growth. Memorizing God’s Word can be helpful for some, but doesn’t always provide the interaction that is desired. A very tangible way to engage the Word is to mark (underline/highlight/circle) and note certain primary places in Scripture associated with fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Celebration Dinner & Faith Fair
It’s important for us as God’s people to celebrate together, particularly as we see members of our faith community take significant steps in their faith lives. Gathering for a meal allows church leaders, family members and others to affirm the significance of this time in the lives of our Confirmands. After the meal, students would share their Faith Projects in an informal, walk-around kind of fair. The Faith Fair allows students to share their own faith AND to see how others in their Confirmation Class are expressing their faith. The centerpiece of their projects is the Confirmation Stole they have created, which will be worn during Confirmation.
First-year students participate in serving the meal to the Confirmands & families, elders and other special guests that are invited. The evening typically includes a welcome & opening prayer, dinner service, a devotion and announcement of Prayer Partners. Dessert is served during the Faith Fair, until the evening is closed with a prayer and any necessary announcements.
TYPICAL CONFIRMATION PATHWAY
God has entreated us to pass His Word from one generation to the next. Beginning in 5th Grade, students can begin a two-year course of Confirmation training and preparation. During the first (5th-Grade) year, students are taught and guided in understanding Holy Communion, Baptism and God’s Means of Grace in anticipation of starting to receive the Lord’s Supper. They then continue in learning through the end of their 6th Grade year in preparation for Confirmation. This centers primarily in learning from God’s Word using Luther’s Small Catechism and other tools.
When students are prepared and Confirmed in their 5th and 6th Grade years, it allows us to build upon that foundation in our Youth Ministry program in 7th & 8th Grade and beyond.
SPECIAL CONFIRMATION PATHWAYS
As we continue to carry out the ministry of God’s Kingdom, not everyone will fit into the same pattern of training and growth. We would hope that we will continue make connections with families of middle and high school students. Where these students (or their parents) have not Confirmed their faith in Christ, we would certainly arrange to provide the appropriate foundation for ongoing Christian faith and life.
The teaching and training of our Youth belongs to the entirety of our congregation, beginning with the child’s parents – the primary teachers and leaders in her or his life. The pastor, youth leaders, elders and others of our congregation will take on various roles of Confirmation training. They will seek to support, encourage and partner with parents as we together prepare our young people to Confirm their faith in Christ. .
MATERIALS & RESOURCES
Luther’s Small Catechism
NIV The Story
Discovery Group Guide
Seminar Session Materials (6 Chief Parts)
Parents, we are a team! This is not meant to be a stressful experience, it is meant to be a very important milestone in your child’s life. Please meet with the instructors if you have questions or concerns.