How to gain something from Confirmation Sunday

You may not have a child who is being confirmed this Sunday in worship. But the fact that it is Confirmation Sunday should impel you to be in worship with your kids. (For kids in 1st through 6th grade, this Sunday is a worship-with-your-family Sunday, including Communion.)

Be there, even if it’s just to watch.

Confirmation Class, 2013 by Peter DeHart
Our last Confirmation class poses for a photo in the Memorial Garden

Watching is good. Even though your child may not appear to be paying attention, they are taking it in.

They are seeing what is coming up for them.

As preparation for attending worship this Sunday, why not discuss what they are likely to witness, and why it’s important. Do so around the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

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A boy gives a thumbs upConfirmation? What is that?

To “confirm” means to “make something definite.” When we confirm flight reservations we say, “Yes! I will be on that plane.” It’s like giving something a great big thumbs up! Confirmation at church this Sunday is a chance for young people to say out loud, “Yes, I believe in God!”

Why make such a big deal? (After all, I believe in God.)

It’s a big deal because it’s making a public statement of their belief. Confirmands (what we call those being confirmed) have taken two years of classes to prepare for this special worship service where they will be “confirmed.” In these classes they have studied what it means to be a Christian, a United Methodist, and a member of First United Methodist Church. They started these classes as 7th graders and those who are now 8th graders, may be confirmed — if they are ready.

Why wouldn’t they be ready?

First off, they need to have attended these classes, and worshipped, and done service projects, and gone on retreats (see the full requirements) but also, they need to be personally ready to take this step on their faith journey to say “Yes” to their faith in God. It’s a big decision.

Is that the end of their journey? Are they all done with Sunday school after they get confirmed?

No, it’s not the end! We all continue to need to grow our faith!

What will happen in the worship service?

a youth gets confirmedPart of what happens is called “the laying on of hands.” The laying on of hands is a symbolic act, a ritual that comes to us from the Bible.

The youth kneels up front, and the ministers and their parental units put their hands on the confirmand’s head and/or shoulders. One of the pastors imparts a blessing to each young person. They will say:

Open quote markRemember your baptism and be thankful. And may the Holy Spirit Work within you, that having been born through water and the Spirit, you may live as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

(Except, if the youth hasn’t yet been baptized, then they will at that point in time be baptized.)

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Here’s a short video about Confirmation from “Chuck Knows Church” produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. (If you are reading this in an email, you may need to watch this video on YouTube.)


Photo credits:
Group photo of confirmation class, copyright by Peter DeHart, 2013. Used with permission.
Thumbs up by Michael Bentley, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
Laying on of hands during a post Confirmation Sunday, from my archives.
The Chuck Knows Church video #43 copyright by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, used with permission.

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