Friday, May 17, 2013

CONFIRMATION: Honoree Dinner - Switch it up!

In its general notes, the Lutheran Service Book (2006) says “Confirmation is a custom of the church that links the catechumens to their Baptism, celebrates the reception of the Lord’s Word among them and, in cases where the candidates have not yet communed, welcomes them to the Lord’s Table.” Burreson (2009) defines the purpose of confirmation as supporting and strengthening a person’s sacramental life of faith.

Let's be honest for a minute and remember that in 6th or 7th grade, when confirmation instruction begins, these kids are about 12 years old and the middle school brain is just learning to discern and understand that the world is a very complex place. They have no idea what a sacramental life of faith is all about... but they're about to start. That's one of many reasons why I suggest that it's time to switch it up and have a confirmation dinner at the beginning of the process instead of the end.

Celebrate that they are leaving "Sunday School" behind and are entering the more adult world of Bible Study and that starts with confirmation. Instead of treating it like the end of Sunday School, treat it as a rite of passage into the process of becoming an adult in the church. You might consider it a "welcome to the company, you start in the mail room" party. Nobody starts at the top.

At this dinner:
  • Provide them with an outline of what they'll be studying and why each topic is important (briefly!).
  • Let them know they'll learn how to express their faith and share what they know about God through the Bible or how to become disciples.
  • Give them their catechism.
  • Give them a new study Bible and let them know they'll be writing in it.
  • Give them their reading list and confirmation reflection journal.  (If you're not sure how to use it see my previous post.) 
As long as you're switching this up why not develop a faith development plan that starts with confirmation, continues through high school, and takes them into adulthood. It's so much easier to keep people on the road when there's a road.

Celebrate the beginning, not the end!

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