BASIS FOR OUR CONFIRMATION MINISTRY
Our Head 2 Heart Confirmation ministry is based on the command of Jesus, “Go and Make disciples… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20. Confirmation instruction is just one of the ways we obey Jesus’ command to teach the Christian faith.
God gave us this command out of love for us. We, too, love our children. We desire that our youth have the best in life. We believe that they cannot have the best if they lack faith in Jesus Christ. We offer our prayers, our encouragement, and our faith, so that they may have the best in life—a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
WHAT IS CONFIRMATION?
In the Rite of Confirmation, young people publicly confess their faith, claim the promises of their baptism and begin to identify with and become involved in the adult Christian community. Confirmation instruction is a team effort, involving parents, Pastors, DCE, and the educational ministry of the church, to prepare confirmands for this important transition and public confession.
Confirmation instruction is the ongoing responsibility of the parents and sponsors. As adults, you promised on the day of your child’s baptism, to diligently and faithfully teach him/her the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer; and, as he/she grows in years, to place in his/her hands the Holy Scriptures, bring him/her to the services of God’s house, and provide for his/her instruction in the Christian faith; that, abiding in the covenant of his/her Baptism and communion with the Church, he/she may be brought up to lead a godly life until the day of Jesus Christ.
God has entrusted the spiritual instruction of children to parents. Confirmation instruction is a supplement, not a substitute, for this duty. The basic responsibility to see that young people participate in this educational process continues to be with the parents or guardians—not the instructor or the church.
So, Confirmation begins at baptism, when God claims us as His children, and ends when we join our Savior in heaven. The Rite of Confirmation is in no way a graduation from Christian education and growth in faith, but a stepping stone along our life-long journey of faith.
COURSE OF STUDY
Our Confirmation Ministry instruction is divided into a three-year cycle of learning events. These courses are normally taken by students in grades 6, 7 and 8. All students attend the same learning events at the same time. Over the course of three years, the student will have completed the following cycle.
Year A: Martin Luther, Hot Topics and Lutheran Lifet Topics and Lutheran Life
Year B: The Apostles’ Creed and the Ten Commandments
Year C: Lord’s Prayer and Overview of Scripture
The 2016-2017 year will cover Year A of our three-year cycle.
SMALL GROUP FORMAT
All participating Confirmation age youth in grades 6-8 are placed in small groups of 4-7 youth of the same grade and gender. Studies and experience have shown that youth have an opportunity to thrive in smaller, gender-specific groups as they are not battling hormones and showing off for the opposite sex. In addition, they experience less competition for attention of the group and their small group guides, they have more opportunities for greater personal sharing, and they are operating in an environment that encourages the building of relationships over a three-year period.
The size of the small groups also allows for more adult/parental interaction in the confirmation ministry, lessens disciplinary problems, and encourages a nucleus of relationships which help keep youth connected to a faith community after they are confirmed.
During any given month, youth will experience the following events as part of the confirmation ministry:
Learning Events: Learning Events are teaching times. During these sessions the Pastors, and other adults will be teaching the Biblical and Confessional materials to the students. The Learning Events will include applications for life, Bible study, small group time, and prayer. Learning events occur on three to four Wednesdays of each month from 6:30–8:00 p.m. A full schedule is posted in the end of H2H Handbook and at this link. 2017-2017 Confirmation Calendar and Memory Work.
Fellowship Events: Fellowship Events are times when the small group that your child is a part of will do things that will be fun and build community. Each event will be planned by the small group and their adult guides together. Fellowship Events occur at the beginning of each semester. Whenever possible, the event is scheduled on Wednesday night when the youth do not meet for a Learning Event. Fellowship Event examples include: going to a movie or sporting event, pizza night, roller skating, bowling, mini golf, concert, ice skating or game night, etc.
Servant Events: Servant Events are times when the small group will take part in service to the congregation or the community. These events will be planned by each small group and their adult guide together. Servant Events generally occur during the second half of each semester. They do not have to happen at church and do not have to be on Wednesday night. Servant Events examples include: collecting food for the food bank, sorting clothes and boxes at Orphan Grain Train, hosting a vehicle at Trunk or Treat, bell ringing at Christmas, working with the animals at the animal shelter, yard and house work for a shut in, packaging food and/or other items for overseas missions, cleaning and other work at homes and in the church, etc.
Parent Huddles: Two nights this coming year, the Pastors will offer a special evening for parents to come and learn about topics just for them. The dates are November 2 (students will be invited to join the high school youth on this night) and February 1 (students will be invited to join the high school youth again on this night). Topics will be announced later in the year.
CONFIRMATION REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS
Involvement in confirmation is a choice that the youth and parents make. It is a choice that requires commitment, assessment of family and personal priorities, and faith. For the confirmation ministry process to succeed, parents, youth, and staff need to work together as a team. The church staff, however, is not the driving force behind confirmation. The parents are. Parents make the commitment to bring their children to confirmation instruction and activities. Parents set the priorities in the family schedule of activities. Parents step forward in the faith they were also instructed in when they were growing up.
Following is a list of requirements and expectations parents and youth need to consider for the coming year as disciples of Christ. Parents and students are asked to sign a covenant agreement indicating their commitment to the Confirmation process. Our commitments reflect our faith maturity. If commitments are not honored, it may be necessary to complete the Confirmation instruction at a later time in life.
GUIDELINES FOR 8TH GRADE ACOLYTES
8th grade youth will serve on a rotating basis at either the early or late traditional services of worship in the Sanctuary. Also, acolytes will have the opportunity to serve at special services like Christmas Eve.
Pastor Reiners will arrange for training the 7th grade acolytes before they take over duties from the current 8th grade on May 7th, the Sunday the current 8th grade will celebrate the Rite of Confirmation. Acolyting is one way youth can serve their Lord in His Church.
Upon arrival at church, report to the Lay Minister that you are the acolyte for the service. There may be special instructions for the service that you will need to know. When lighting candles, always begin at the cross (in the middle) and end at the cross when extinguishing candles.
The schedule will be given to you in advance. If you are unable to serve when scheduled, you are responsible to get your own substitute, by trading times of service with other 8th graders. If possible, please call the church office (384-5673) or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who your substitute will be. Please dress respectfully for leading in worship as an acolyte – no tennis or jogging shoes and no blue jeans. No gum!!!
During a Baptism, one acolyte will hold the Baptismal candle and light it at the start of the Baptism service; the other acolyte will hold the banner with the child’s name. It needs to be held high enough for the congregation to see the banner.
If you have any questions about serving as an acolyte, please speak with Pastor Reiners.
RITE OF CONFIRMATION AND FIRST COMMUNION:
The Rite of Confirmation and First Communion takes place in the Spring of the 8th grade year. This year the Rite of Confirmation will be celebrated on May 7th at 1:30 PM. Faith Statements written by the 8th graders will be read as part of the service. Guidelines and due dates for the Faith Statements will be given out at a youth and parent meeting in the January. The Faith Statements and a photo of all 8th grade youth will be published in a special booklet.
PICTURES and REHEARSAL – 8th GRADE ONLY
At 6 p.m. on May 3rd a photographer will be present to take pictures of the youth in their Confirmation robes, and the group will rehearse the order of service for the Rite of Confirmation on May 7th. Ice cream sundaes will be served by the high school youth after the rehearsal for 8th graders and their families.
HOW WILL PARENTS PARTICIPATE?
Since the primary responsibility for Christian nurture rests with the parents or guardians, it is important that they be actively involved in the confirmation instruction. For this reason, we ask that parents oversee the completion of assigned homework and memory work. Parents, please utilize the calendar dates with the assignments listed in this handbook to track your youth’s progress.
The Home Huddle contains questions, devotional materials, and topics to discuss within the family; they are related to the weekly theme. Parents can encourage youth to complete these elements by choosing a particular time each day and week for discussion.
This opportunity and tool for doing family devotions is an important element of our curriculum called Faith Five. The simple format of 1. sharing the day’s high and low points, 2. reading a brief passage of Scripture 3. reflecting on the scripture and your highs and lows, 4. praying for each other, and 5. ending your day with a blessing, will be an eternal benefit to your youth and your entire family.
Parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend Learning Events during the large group time as well as assist the small group guide on Fellowship and Servant Event activities.
Parents can also offer invaluable support for our confirmation ministry by daily prayer for their son or daughter, by keeping in touch with the staff and small group guide, by discussing any problems as soon as they arise, by cooperating with attendance and discipline guidelines, and by working with the youth to iron out any discipline issues.
Above all, it is important that parents set an example for their youth in worship, Bible study, prayer, and personal and family time with God. Studies show that a parent’s example has more impact on a young person’s faith than any other factor.
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