Confirmation is a wonderful time to reaffirm the importance of nurturing faith in the home and to recommit to doing that. Through the waters of our baptism, we promised “to place in our child’s hands the Holy Scriptures and to provide for our children’s instruction in the Christian faith”. So it is through this milestone where we continue to fulfill these baptismal promises. But before we can say, “This is my faith,” we have to know what that faith is. Over the course of Confirmation years, students along with their parents and pastors explore that faith together through the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism.
Through their Confirmation studies, students learn how to live their faith, being a follower of Jesus, in their day-to‐ day lives. Confirmation is an intentional focus that equips the baptized adolescent to more deeply identify with the church and to participate in that mission.
At Calvary Lutheran Church, Sioux City, students are given a Bible when they start Confirmation instruction. As a DCE I take the Bible with me when I make my initial visit with the family prior to the start of fifth grade. I remind parents of the promise made at the Baptism of their child…to instruct this child in the ways and knowledge of God. I give the Bible to the parent and ask each parent to mark their favorite verse and add a personal note to their child in the margin. I also encourage the parents to share the Bible to grandparents, sponsors, and other relatives to mark a verse and write a message to the fifth grade student.
During the worship service the first night of class the parents and fifth grade students are called forward to the communion rail. Parents are to bring the marked Bible forward at this time. Pastor reads through the Baptismal litany. At the words, “you are to place into his hands the Holy Scriptures” the parents are encouraged to literally place the Bible into the student’s hands. This is the Bible that I have the students use in class, marking verses for each lesson as we study throughout the year. This is Calvary’s faith moment into a new level of study of God’s Word.
Welcome to the Lord's Table - Early Communion Class
As Lutherans, we believe that the Sacraments along with the word of God are the means of grace, which is how God delivers his love to us. Confirmation is a time of intense spiritual growth. Some congregations are filling the gap of both word and sacrament being made available to our young people.
At Gloria Dei, Urbandale, a four-week course, taught by a pastor, covers all aspects of Holy Communion. During this course, a parent or guardian attends the class with their child to enhance the learning environment. After completion of the four weeks each student, along with a parent, meets with one of the pastors or DCE for a time to talk about what they believe is happening during this sacrament. The student will have the opportunity to decide if they, along with their parent’s permission, are ready to begin taking communion prior to their proclamation of faith.
Confirmation gives students the chance to say, 'The faith I was baptized into is my faith. This I believe.' It is not a graduation from church, but rather a commencement of a new chapter of involvement in the faith community and commitment to lifelong learning and serving in the Body of Christ. Confirmation gives the child a solid base and understanding of what it is to be a Christian and how to fan that faith into, and through, their adult life.
Romans 12:12 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Mt Calvary, Indianola Contributed by Rev. Steve Hayden We have a Midweek program for grades 1-7. I personally teach grades 6 and 7 which are technically the confirmation instruction. I cover half of the catechism each year, but teach the Sacraments both years (so the Sacraments are reviewed for the students right before Confirmation even if they had them a year earlier). I use curriculum from CPH called Pathlight, but try to do a lot of discussion apart from those with a variety of materials. Here I deal with small classes (currently 13) so I have a lot of flexibility. Our kids are confirmed after their 7th grade year. We use the 8th grade year to assimilate the students into our LYF which meets at the same time as midweek.
Shepherd of the Valley, West Des Moines Contributed by DCE Marilyn Shults At Shepherd of the Valley Confirmation ministry is undergoing change. In the coming year we will transition to Communion Preparation Classes for youth in 6th through 8th grade and their parents. In future years the Communion Preparation Classes will be offered to 6th graders and their families. Another change is from pastor’s being the sole teachers. In the coming year the pastors will teach along with some elders and lay leaders who are gifted with skills for this age. Content still revolves around the 6 chief parts but the transition is toward more parent involvement and being more interactive.
Our Savior, Denison Contributed by DCE Shelly McMullen Here we do 5th-8th grade. In 5th they learn only old Testament, 6th is New Testament, 7&8 are 6 chief parts, Being Lutheran, and apologetics. We made the switch to being more intentional about Biblical literacy because we found we had a bunch of students learning about the 6 chief parts but not knowing who David was or John the Baptist. We have an Early Communion retreat two times a year where students learn about Holy Communion -after that they have 4 homework assignments and an interview with their parents and pastor. After all of that they are welcomed at Communion.
Trinity, Algona Contributed by Rev. Joe Seifert Our confirmation program at Trinity includes our 3rd through 8th graders. Confirmation classes take place on Wednesday evenings--here in Algona, we call it "midweek school." We have been very blessed to have volunteers share their gifts as teachers for our 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes (our teachers are so dedicated that some of them don't even have children in our confirmation program!) I have the privilege of teaching our 7th graders and Pastor Turner leads our 8th grade confirmands. Each night we meet from 6:45-8:00PM. We gather together as a large group for a time of worship and prayer and then break off into our separate classrooms for instruction. Our program is quite rigorous and we take Christian education very seriously, but we also try to incorporate some other fun learning activities such as our annual Marty Party (reformation celebration), Christmas Party (we usually do Christmas Caroling at the local nursing homes), and our Service Wednesdays (4 Wednesdays a year adult volunteers from our church share their talents (e.g. sewing, baking, composting, etc.) with kids so that they can learn how to use those talents to share the love of Christ with others. We have 3 services at our church so we try to connect our confirmands with each of them in a special way. During our Saturday evening service our confirmands take part in a traditional questioning so that they may examine their faith and share their knowledge with the congregation. Our confirmands take part in our Confirmation Service the next day at the 10:30 service time. And the following Sunday they join the congregation in their first communion at the 8:00 service. Our 3rd through 7th graders end their year with a midweek closing program in which parents are invited to share a time of worship and watch as their children present a few of the things they have learned that year. We also try to emphasize that confirmation is not the end of Christian formation and invite our 8th grade confirmands to join the rest of the high school youth on Wednesday nights for LYF (Lutheran Youth Fellowship). The members of Trinity have been gracious enough to dedicate the upstairs room of our church to the youth which we lovingly call "The Upper Room." Different adult leaders supervise our youth each Wednesday on a rotating basis as they spend time in devotion, fellowship, and service.
Gloria Dei, Urbandale Contributed by DCE Tim Kightlinger At Gloria Dei we offer a retreat based confirmation process. Each student beginning the process of learning about the foundation of faith and preparing to make their proclamation of faith are required to take four retreats. The retreats cover the Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer and Sacraments. After each retreat the student writes a report outlining what they learned from the retreat. We also offer first communion for those students who are ready to take communion prior to making their proclamation of faith. This class is a four week session and a parent needs to participate with them. During the student’s jr high years we offer small groups that meet on Wednesdays throughout the school year that focus on bible study, discussions and application of faith in the individual lives. Each of these small groups perform a service project as well.