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).
Youth will grow in knowledge and understanding of Lutheran Doctrine.
Youth and adult members of the congregation will forge new peer and intergenerational relationships through meaningful interactions.
Youth will be equipped to become active participants in the life and mission of the church, growing in their understanding of Christian worship, discipleship, and service.
Youth will be taught using the Bible as the primary textbook to gain insight and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.
Youth will be prepared to confess the faith, as described in Luther’s Small Catechism, during the Rite of Confirmation.
Youth will develop trusting and supportive relationships with a number of their peers, and with multiple adult members of the church through weekly small group time.
Monthly BLAST events will enable and encourage fellowship and service.
Youth will discover their place in the congregation through regular worship and Sunday School attendance, sermon summaries, service projects, acolyting, etc.
Lessons will have an emphasis on life application for students to analyze how they can incorporate Biblical and Catechetical teachings into daily life.
Parents and guardians will be equipped with the tools to enable faith discussions in their household.
When should confirmation start?
While faith-formation is a lifelong process, the formal process of "Catechesis" (teaching the faith in preparation for Confirmation) is a four year program at Our Shepherd. Fifth and sixth graders learn Bible basics as they read and memorize key Bible verses. Seventh and eighth graders learn from Luther’s Small Catechism. When confirmed, confirmands will confess the faith, "as taught in Luther’s Small Catechism." We want our confirmands to be well-prepared to make this confession, which is why we take this process so seriously.
TIMELINE of the Confirmation Process at Our Shepherd
Milestone or Event
Year 1 (5th Grade)
Parents/guardians purchase a new study Bible for their student. Confirmands begin two years of Bible instruction.
Year 2 (6th Grade)
Students begin acolyting and continue attending Sunday Small Group discussions centered on video lessons.
Year 3 (7th Grade)
Students continue acolyting and begin catechism instruction in their Small Group discussion and video lessons.
Year 4 (8th Grade)
Confirmands prepare a "Statement of Faith" to be shared with the whole congregation during worship.
Students attend a retreat a few weeks prior to the Rite of Confirmation.
Confirmands confess their faith on the 1st Sunday in May.
Post (High School)
Students are encouraged to grow in faith through worship attendance, regular Bible study, LTF high school youth activities, and staying connected to the ministry of Our Shepherd.
The Confirmation Journey
At the Rite of Confirmation, students become members of the congregation. To prepare for a future of active adult participation in the life and mission of the congregation, students will attend worship regularly, focus on the sermons in worship, acolyte, and explore various ways to serve the community and congregation by completing service hours.
Our Confirmation process also serves as a ministry equivalent to a Jr. High Youth Ministry. Staff, youth leaders, and parents have the opportunity to form relationships with all 5th-8th grade students during monthly BLAST events, held every second Sunday of each month, 12-2 p.m., from August through May, which alternate between fellowship and service activities. Youth also form meaningful relationships with each other and a trusted adult leader (Small Group "Guide") who facilitates their weekly Small Group discussion time.
5th-8th grade students will gather each Sunday from 9:30 – 10:15 am. This time will consist of an opening lesson led by the DCE or Pastor, and small group exploration of the Confirmation lessons taught on video. Video lessons during the week empower parents to walk through the Biblical and Catechetical lessons with their Confirmand.
Responsibilities of Youth
Small Group Attendance and Video Lessons
All students (5-8th grade) are expected to attend at least 80% of Small Group discussions and complete 100% of video worksheets.
If you are unable to attend a Sunday Small Group discussion, video lessons are still available for you to complete with your family through YouTube. Simply search "Our Shepherd Lutheran Avon" on YouTube and look for the Our Shepherd logo!
We ask that parents sign off on the weekly blue sheet for each video lesson completed during the week in the home. This helps keeps parents and guardians primarily responsible for Confirmation instruction, as Luther intended and as God designed.
Our weekly worship is where God feeds us with His precious Word and Sacraments (see Matthew 4:4). We set a standard of attending 80% of worship as a way of getting into the routine of consistent worship attendance. Midweek services and visiting other congregations for worship also count towards weekly attendance. If you have visited another church for worship, turn in a service bulletin with your name and the date listed clearly on the front.
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 are prepared to always to be ready to proclaim what you believe and why.
Memory work is recited at home and written as part of the video worksheets. 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. Memory verses are listed on the Small Group meeting schedule page.
We will ask parents to sign off on each memory assignment weekly on the blue sheet that also lists video lessons completed. We do require 100% of memory work to be completed by the day of Confirmation.
We serve God by serving others. Volunteering is something Christians do because we "get to," not because we’ve "got to." 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 six hours of service per year. 7th-8th will be asked to complete fifteen hours of service per year. Because a regular component of BLAST activities is service work, if you attend the monthly BLAST events you can receive most, if not all, of your hours. Completed forms (located in the church narthex) are due by the day of Confirmation.
Sermon Summaries are a tool enabling families to discuss worship and faith throughout the week and at home. 5th-6th graders are asked to complete six each year. 7th-8th graders are asked to complete fifteen each year. After jotting down some notes during the sermon (the sermon outlines in the service bulletin will help!), take a yellow form home with you and fill it out the Family Discussion side as you talk with your family about Pastor’s message.
Statement of Faith
In the spring, those who are ready to be confirmed (4th year, 8th grade students) 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. This step also often includes the selection of a personal Confirmation Verse.
Before students are confirmed - often in conjunction with the yearly Confirmation Retreat - there will be a pre-Confirmation interview/visit with one of the Pastors or the DCE. 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 or DCE 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 6-8th students will be put on the schedule to serve as acolytes. Families choose services through Sign-Up Genius and will receive reminders for scheduled dates through Planning Center Online. The new schedule for 2018-2019 begins on the first weekend of September. If you are unable to make your assigned service, please email Worship Director Kyle Borcherding to let him know.
When scheduled to acolyte, please arrive 10 minutes before the start of the service.
For Traditional services, acolytes will wear a robe and assist the Elder with lighting and extinguishing candles. In Contemporary services, acolytes help the Worship Assistant with offering and communion dismissal. Dress appropriately! Dress pants and skirts with dress shoes are preferred (shorts, jeans, sneakers and flip-flop sandals are not appropriate).
BLAST stands for Belonging, Learning, And Serving Together. BLAST includes fun and energetic opportunities for our Confirmands to build relationships. Events include a meal, games, group building activities, and various service projects at Our Shepherd and in the Avon community. BLAST events for the 2018-2019 school year will take place on the second Sunday of every month, August through May, from 12-2pm. Parents are needed to help organize events, meals, drive, and interact with students during the events.
Small Group Discussion Guides
One of the foundational blocks in our Confirmation journey is a small group guide. These trusted adults have a small group of 5-8 youth whom they lead through discussion questions each Sunday morning after the large group opening at 9:30. These groups enable students to process with their peers the video lessons each week. Leaders are asked to attend every Sunday as they are able. A short training session is provided in late July to prepare guides for their crucial role. The DCE will provide weekly discussion prompts for guides. Simply watching the videos, completing worksheets and asking questions is great preparation for this role.
Each week, students will have memory work. It is your responsibility as parents and guardians, to ensure he/she is studying and memorizing. Weekly blue sheets are to be signed once the student has memorized the verses/text and then returned on Sunday mornings.
At Home Study
Take time and sit as a family to discuss the video lessons and how the truths being taught have influenced your own life experiences in four simple steps: 1. Share, 2. Read, 3. Talk, 4. Pray. The videos and worksheets are only meant to be a guide for your family; we simply desire to equip you with some tools to assist you as the spiritual leader of your household.
When your child first begins the Confirmation process, we invite you to buy a new study Bible for your child. The Lutheran Study Bible is preferred. Other suggested Bibles are available for you to explore and order during the Confirmation Orientation. Catechisms will be supplied at no expense to your family once your student enters their third (7th grade) year of instruction.