What is Confirmation?
The Rite of Confirmation is part of a lifelong educational process in which parents/guardians partner with the church to enable learners the opportunity to understand and comprehend sound doctrine and identify with the life and mission of the church.
Our confirmation program is the element of Christian education focused on understanding the essential doctrines of the Bible that form the foundation of the Christian faith and the adoption of those claims as central to one's own faith and life leading toward richer discipleship (Teaching the Faith at Home, 2016, p. 21).
What do we hope happens as a result of our confirmation program?
- Youth to grow in knowledge and understanding of Lutheran Doctrine.
- Youth will be equipped and enabled to become active participants in the life and mission of the church.
- Youth and adult members of the congregation will forge new relationships and meaningful interactions.
- Youth will develop relationships among peers for growth and support.
- Youth will grow in understanding of Christian service.
- Youth will be taught using the Bible as the primary textbook to gain insight and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.
- BLAST events will be planned to enable fellowship and service among students and families.
- Lessons will have an emphasis on life application for students to analyze how they can incorporate lesson themes into daily life.
- Parents/Guardians will be equipped with tools/training to enable faith discussions in the home setting.
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When should confirmation start?
Our Confirmation program is divided into two separate parts, over a three-year program.
First students will be encouraged to attend overview lessons of the Old and New Testament. This class is offered on Sunday evenings from 6-7:30pm.
The second part revolves around the catechetical instruction, or study of the catechism. This is the common instructional period that one thinks about when referring to confirmation instruction.
While the “norm” will be for the program to involve 5th-8th graders, parents/guardians have the option to go against the norm. The process can really begin at any age. For example a 5th grader may have the biblical basics they need to understand the catechism, and the maturity to apply sound doctrine to their daily life. Therefore they should begin the catechetical instruction and be confirmed upon completion. Or, perhaps someone is not ready to confirm his/her faith at 8th grade; they should wait until such time as they are ready to make an affirmation of their faith.
TIMELINE of the Confirmation Process at Our Shepherd
Milestone or Event
Parents and child(ren) discuss when to start the confirmation process.
Child takes online quiz to test their “Bible Literacy.” Parents/Guardians purchase a new Bible (with support from church) for student. Upon completing overview of Bible classes, students complete an online assessment to analyze their Biblical knowledge.
Students will construct special banners to represent aspects of their faith.
Students will begin acolyting and assisting Sunday School teachers on Sunday Mornings.
Students continue acolyting and helping in Sunday School.
Confirmands prepare a ‘Statement of Faith’ to be shared with the whole congregation during worship.
Students attend a retreat in the weeks before the Rite of Confirmation.
Confirmands confirm their faith on the 1st Sunday of May.
Students are encouraged to grow in faith through regular Bible study, and/or LTF high school youth activities.
What is Our Style Like?
Our confirmation ministry is equivalent to a Jr. High Youth Ministry. The Pastors and parents to encourage relationships, fellowship, and service for all 5th-8th grade students and families plan regular BLAST Events. These include lock-ins, Laser Tag, Mini-Golf, Random Acts of Service, and more.
6th/7th/8th Grade students participate on Sunday Mornings by serving as acolytes, and by teaching/assisting Sunday School teachers in Pre-K-4th Grade. They also attend 20 lessons on Sunday night each year. These occur 2-3 times a month on Sunday Evenings from 6-7:30. Students are split into small groups lead by a “guide” (adult facilitator). The Pastors, and guest speakers use a variety of activities including games, skits, movies, stories, cartoons, PowerPoint and art to enforce topics from the Small Catechism as a large group. Then the individual groups separate for discussion and sharing about how these biblical truths will influence their daily lives.
Responsibilities of Youth
Year 1 students are expected to attend at least 75% of Sunday classes.
Year 2 and 3 Confirmands are expected to attend all Head-2-Heart Events. If you are unable to attend an event, a presentation will be made available for you to complete with the family through the Internet.
Our weekly worship is where God feeds us with His precious Word and Sacraments (see Matthew 4:4). We set a standard of attending 75% of worship as a way of getting into the routine of consistent worship attendance. Midweek services are extra credit.
Peter encourages all Christians, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Memorizing scripture and its meaning is one way by which you prepare yourself to always to be ready to state what you believe and why.
Memory work is recited at home, and during our Head-2-Heart Events. Memory work may serve as a “verse of the week” for the entire family, or family devotions may revolve around the part of the catechism that is being memorized. Use these verses as part of your family Home Huddle.
We will ask parents to sign off on each memory assignment. You will find the memorization outline in the appendix of this handbook for all levels. Students will periodically turn in the memory work pages to the pastors or small group leaders. We do require 100% of memory work to be completed by the end of the year.
We do not want service hours to be a “have to.” However, there is an importance for you to participate in service hours to gain experience serving the Lord. 5th/6th Grade will be asked to complete 6 hours of service. 7th/8th will be asked to complete 15 hours of service. Due to the fact that a component of BLAST activities are service projects, if you attend the BLAST events and fill out a form, you can receive all your hours. Also with year 3&4 students (7th/8th Grade) assisting in Sunday School, you should have no trouble meeting the required service hours. Forms are located in church narthex.
*A schedule will be created for all year 2 & 3 students to help in Sunday School Classrooms.
Sermon Summaries are used as a tool to enable families the opportunity to discuss our worship services throughout the following week. Year 1 (5th/6th Grade) are asked to complete six each year. Year 3&4 (7th/8th Grade) are asked to complete 15 each year. After jotting some notes during the sermon, take a yellow form home with you and fill it out as you discuss as a family the points Pastor raised.
Statement of Faith
In the spring, those who are ready to be confirmed (3rd year students), and have completed all responsibilities, will write a personal statement of their faith that he or she will share with the whole congregation during worship. Each of these will focus on how God has influenced his or her own faith development and what they have learned through their confirmation experience.
Each of us wants to express ourselves in different ways, some through words and other through art. At the mid-point of your confirmation process you will have the opportunity to make a banner that will be hung when you are confirmed to represent you and who you are.
Before students are confirmed, there will be a pre-confirmation interview/visit with one of the Pastors. Do not be worried, this is meant to be a helpful visit that gives you an opportunity to talk about your faith and share any reservations. The Pastor will ask you questions about what you have learned and will review the vows you will be making during the Rite of Confirmation. Please respond honestly and from your heart.
All year 1-year 3 students will be put on the schedule to serve as acolytes. The schedule will be given to you at the first confirmation class, and is included in church newsletter. If you unable to make your assigned service, you are responsible for finding your own substitute. Please refer to the roster you received at Orientation.
When scheduled to acolyte, please be in the robe room 10 minutes before the start of the service to find a robe. Dress appropriately! Dress pants and skirts with dress shoes are preferred. (Shorts, jeans, sneakers and flip-flop sandals are not appropriate.)
CPC (Crazy Parent Committee) for BLAST
BLAST stands for Belonging, Learning, and Serving, Together, and includes fun and energetic opportunities for our Confirmands to build relationships. Each month this committee of parents works together to plan a fun event. There are many different activities that can be done. Lists can be found in the Pastors' office. In addition, a bag, which contains a medical kit, rosters of youth, and other information, must be checked out before going on an event. The CPC also organizes snacks for H2H events.
“Guide” Small Group Leaders
One of the foundational blocks of this style of confirmation is a small group leader. The leaders have a small group of 5-8 youth whom they lead through discussion questions after the large group presenter. This enables students the opportunity to inwardly digest or process the topic given to them each night. To be a leader requires you to be at each meeting. If you are unable to be at a meeting please inform the Pastors and then find a possible substitute. A short training session is required to prepare you to be the greatest leader you can.
Each week the students will be given memory work and it is your responsibility as parents and guardians, to ensure he/she is studying and memorizing. There is a page you sign once the student has memorized the verse that can be returned to church.
At Home Study
Take time and sit as a family to discuss lesson themes and topics and how they have influenced your own life experiences in five simple steps: 1. Share, 2 Read, 3. Talk, 4. Pray, 5. Bless. Also any missed H2H session must be made up at home with your child. The take home sheets are only meant to be a guide; feel free to use any home devotional studies that you and your family are currently using.
When your child first begins the confirmation process, we invite you to buy a new Bible for your child. The Pastors will help you purchase this Bible by utilizing a discount at the local Christian Bookstore. The Pastors will have some suggested Bibles available for you to look through during the Confirmation Orientation.