Why is Confirmation important?

Confirmation Class, copyright 2013 by Peter DeHart
A past Confirmation class poses for a photo in the Memorial Garden

Spring time means Confirmation Sunday. I remember the year my eldest was confirmed in the church. The grandparents came from afar, and we had a big party afterwards.

Why was Confirmation so important that we served a cake?

That’s a very good question! How about some discussion questions to pose to your next gathering. Do so around the dinner table. (Or wherever your family & friends are gathered together.)

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:

'Remember 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.)

-------

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.

Don’t wait for Confirmation class!

Last Sunday we celebrated Confirmation Sunday, the unique worship service where a milestone is reached – our youth affirm the faith of the church as their own!

a youth gets confirmed
Pastors & parents place their hands on a kneeling youth as she is confirmed.

 

Nineteen youth became professing members. Among their assertions…

They said, I do to:

  • a rejection of all evil,
  • regret for their sin,
  • confession of Jesus Christ as their Savior.

And I will to:

  • serving as Christ’s representative in the world,
  • and faithfully participating in the ministries of the church.

How did they get to this milestone in their faith journey?

How did they come to this powerful, public pronouncement?

 

Was it the spent weeks in Confirmation class, learning everything there is to know about the Christian faith.

Well, I’m hoping that we didn’t pin all of our hopes on a few months of classes! Or even a few years of Sunday school. It takes more than that.

Their faith will stick won’t it?

Well we can’t be sure. It is between God and each individual, but you can up the odds.

Don’t do like I did. Don’t leave the religious teaching to the “experts” at church. Don’t be hampered by your own lack of understanding (who am I to teach??) Don’t wait for Confirmation class to start the journey.

Here are a few basic examples of what you can do for your kids now:
Their age (roughly) Your words Your actions
Birth “God loves you” Your care provides a foundation for trust in God.
Toddler “God created all things” Point out all of God’s creation all around them.
Preschooler “The Bible tells us about God and his son, Jesus Christ.” Read Bible stories at home.
“We can talk to God whenever we want and he will listen.” Model and teach about prayer.
And the list goes on…

Don’t wait for Confirmation class!

-------


Photo credits:
Photo from Confirmation Sunday from my archives.