Right now I'm focusing on the problem of confirmation. I won't dig into the issues at this time, but here are a few in a nutshell:
- Many parents aren't fulfilling their responsibility of training in the home.
- Parents aren't trained or prepared to teach confirmation.
- Pastors are not trained how to teach (middle school students or parents)
I propose the following programatic change to address these issues:
- Parents take a pre-confirmation class going over Luther's Small Catechism and how to teach the faith at home.
- Daily discussion questions based on the questions in the catechism are sent home every week.
- Pastor (who has been trained to teach students that age) teaches 2 year JUNIOR confirmation class as a kick-start to the program.
- Pastor and parents meet 4 times a year to discuss how things are going at home, refresh the importance of discussion, life habits, etc.
- Both parents and students have journals/notebooks to briefly reflect on the topic each week, jot down questions, reflect on highs/lows, etc.
If I really had my way there would be a SENIOR CONFIRMATION the senior year of high school. Each year in high school students should have to complete a benchmark project that makes them think about their faith more deeply, after which they will create a final presentation. Each presentation should answer the questions: What do I believe? Why do I believe it? At the beginning of each year they will study a particular part of the Bible for Sunday Bible study (or if there is a Weds. program) to coincide with a task to be completed such as organizing a church event, a year of specific service inside and outside of the congregation (teach Sunday School all year, visit a nursing home all year, etc.), research the faith journeys of a number of older people in the church to help them see how God works in a life, learn about Lutheran worship and develop a worship service, and prepare a final presentation in an agreed upon format such as an electronic scrapbook, video, slide show, etc. Remember that the point of the final project is to answer the questions: What do I believe? Why do I believe it? Each presentation should include real life examples and scripture. Who would not have a firm foundation after something like this?
Who's willing to try this with me? We'll create the curriculum as we go!!
If you're interested in more thoughts on this, see my previous post: Time for Paradigm Shift