Confirmation is a wonderful journey.
There is a difference between the event often called Confirmation and the educational process leading up to it. Some traditions call the educational process the catechesis or catechism. The event is a ceremony called The Affirmation of Baptism in which young adults confirm the promises made over them at their infant baptism. Most Lutheran churches conflate the terms and call the entire process Confirmation.
The Affirmation of Baptism is that moment when the student is invited to take the step from childhood to adulthood in the eyes of the church. It is that moment when all the promises that the student’s family made at baptism are offered to the student. Will the student deny the promises, or will the student confirm that these promises are now their own promises?
Naming the Promises
“Hey wait, what promises?” you may ask.
Taking the Journey
The catechesis is a journey of learning. It is a process of helping young people discover who God is, who they are, and how God is calling them to be a valuable participant in what God is doing in the world. The Goal of this journey is to equip the young adult to be able to stand before the congregation and make these bold promises with informed and humble assurance in the faithfulness of God to empower the rest of their journey.
What is the Destination?
The heart of Confirmation is the Mentor Small Group. All students are placed in a small group that is led by a trained and vetted adult mentor/small group leader. This group remains the same throughout the entire journey. These relationships—mentor/student and student/student—are the glue that makes the learning process stick.
Choose Your Track
6th – 8th Grade families have two tracks from which to choose:
- Wednesday Night Track. Small Groups gather weekly on Wednesday Evenings throughout the school year to receive instruction from a pastor, to interact as small groups, and to have fun within the larger group of peers. The year begins with a weekend retreat at Camp Wapo in late September.
- Camp Track. Small Groups attend a week at Camp Wapo where they are led by Wapo Counselors, but are placed in cabins based on their confirmation groups. The groups are pulled out of the regular Camping Program for 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon to receive Confirmation instruction from a pastor. The majority of the instruction is received during this intensive week. Small Groups meet with a confirmation mentor once a month at the church on Sundays. Mentors are encouraged to gather the groups for additional meetings outside of church-organized meetings.
It’s All About Quests
The catechesis is a journey made up of four Quests:
- Knowledge Quest: Information you need to KNOW
- Community Quest: Activities that will help you FEEL connected to God, to a faith community, to yourself, and to creation.
- Action Quest: Practices that will help you DO the things that train you to serve the world, proclaim the Good News, and strive for justice and peace.
(ideally, the Knowledge, Community, and Action Quests are completed during 6th-8th grade)
Ninth Grade Quest: In ninth grade we combine Knowledge, Community, and Action around a specific set of life application topics. These topics are:
- Vocation (how do I hear God’s voice and know what God is calling me to do?),
- My Neighbor’s Faith (how do I interact with other faith traditions and seek for peace in the world?),
- Healthy Relationships (How do I navigate relationships of all types, especially romantic relationships, in a healthy way that honors God, my neighbors, and myself?)
The Journey to Confirmation System uses badges and a point system as a way to a) motivate students to progress, and b) track the student’s progress through the program.
There are five basic areas we want to teach the students. The first three topics are based on a Three-Year Rotation. The last two topics are sprinkled throughout the curriculum, but deserve their own moniker. These are:
- Luther’s Small Catechism (Year A)
- The Hebrew Bible (Year B)
- The Christian Bible (Year C)
- What is Lutheran? (includes Reformation History, Distinctive Doctrine, and Worship Practices)
- How to Read the Bible
It is difficult to quantify feeling. All we can do is create spaces in which students are connected to adults and peers who love them, talk with them, make them feel special, and share the love of God with them.
Thus, the Community Quest encourages students to earn badges around four types of connections:
- Small Group Attendance,
- Worship Attendance (Sermon Notes),
- Camp Wapo Experiences (Summer Camp or Weekend Retreat), and
- Middle School Events hosted by the Youth Director.
The idea is to get students into spaces where they are most likely to cultivate deep relationships and feel connected to God, themselves, the community, and a sense of calling.
The Action Quest is an opportunity for students to experience what it feels like to serve others in the name of Jesus. There is a catalog of possible Action Badges. Each student is encouraged to be creative and find new ways to serve and make up a new Action Badge. The point system is based upon 25 points per hour served.
The 9th Grade Quest directs students through a series of guided experiences they will share with their small group.
Students will be able to track their own progress on their personal log sheet and see exactly how many actions points, community badges, knowledge badges, etc. they have earned. Once they have successfully completed all four quests they will be ready for Confirmation.