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Here’s briefly what Confirmation looks like: Confirmation generally meets each Wednesday. Three Wednesday’s each month are focused on learning. The evening is divided into teaching time and small group time. Luther’s Small Catechism is covered in two years rather than all in one year. This allows more time to process and understand the material. Following the lesson by Pastor, youth divide into small groups led by the Pastor and adult volunteers. The purpose of small groups is to provide a safe and comfortable place for each youth to process the evening’s lesson, learn skills such as praying, and develop Christ-centered relationships with other young people. One Wednesday each month alternates between a servant event and a fun event. The goal is to give youth a chance to practice the faith they are learning.
There’s a reason why we do confirmation the way we do here at Good Shepherd. Children are one of the most precious things God has put into parents’ lives. They are also valuable to God who created and redeemed them. The job of Good Shepherd is to assist parents in teaching the faith to their children. In order to do a better job of that, youth education is combined with youth ministry.
Here are some quotes from a Lutheran author of confirmation resources that give the reasoning behind our program:
"Most churches are popping their buttons if 25% of their juniors and seniors are regularly active in worship, service, and fellowship. That's another way of saying we're pleased if we only lose 3/4 of your kids. There is something wrong with this picture. If any company in the country had a one to three year training program and, after finishing the course, 3/4 of the graduates quit and never came back, they would fire the managers, cancel the program and try something else. Or they'd go out of business."
"The bulk of our children are 'graduating' from mainline confirmation knowing very little and believing even less. Year after year these precious young people stand before an altar after having completed our required courses. We tell them it's not graduation, then dress them in a gown and parade them in front of the church to make their promises of faithfulness. We take a picture for the archives and talk about "adult responsibilities" in the life of the church. Then they walk out and the bulk of them don't return."
Good Shepherd’s confirmation program is “designed to retain both the information and the student. It strives to build group identity while getting the content of each lesson across in a way that students will remember for life.."
The goal of confirmation is not just to provide INFORMATION but to let God's Word produce TRANSFORMATION! (See Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lutheran Worship: Altar Book puts it this way: "Confirmation is a public rite of the Church that is preceded by a period of instruction designed to help baptized Christians identify with the life and mission of the Christian community. Having been instructed in the Christian faith prior to admission to the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28), the rite of Confirmation provides an opportunity for the individual Christian, relying on God’s promise of Holy Baptism, to make a personal public confession of the faith and a lifelong pledge of faithfulness to Christ” (Lutheran Worship: Altar Book, p.33).
Confirmation is a small, but important, step in a lifetime of growing in the spiritual life that was begun in Baptism by the work of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is one important part of Good Shepherd’s ministry to youth during their seventh- and eighth-grade years.
Confirmation thrives with the support and commitment of parents. Parents are asked to be actively involved in various ways – volunteering to help with an activity, be a small group leader, listen to memory assignments at home, attend special family nights, be a prayer partner, attend church regularly, bring youth to Sunday School… The time parents spend with their children in confirmation is not wasted time. Instead, it’s a valuable investment in the spiritual life of their children with eternal rewards!