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Switch to Forum Live View Blended Confirmation Classes
7 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2007 - 7:46AM #1
keesiewonder
Posts: 221
My first congregation was a very small one. I started going to church with my Mom after my brother was born, when I  was just about the age to start confirmation. Yes, there was memorization in my confirmation class. But, I'm glad there was.

I believe the congregation was probably still a mission congregation at this time (in fact they probably were 10-15 years later too) so we had confirmation class in the Pastor's apartment. He was a bachelor and had a very nice, neat apartment and a variety of interests. So, perhaps even more than the intended messages from confirmation class, I learned about the importance of forming a rapport with others in the class and with the pastor. He would invite the class over now and then for non-confirmation activities such as board games or whatever the video games were of the day - he loved puzzles and such. He also invited us individually if we were comfortable with that, just for conversation about what we were covering in class and how things were going in school. Perhaps what I'm remembering most right now from his home is the adults all exclaimed what excellent coffee he made, and he had a collection of orchids he kept in good health with an indoor grow light system.

I can certainly appreciate the benefits of having a combined (blended) confirmation class if you are in an area where there are indeed enough students to justify this. I am also thankful for my own probably rather unique start with church life, since it so much emphasized the importance of relationships (friendships). I became friends with my first pastor, and have tended to become friends with almost every other pastor of mine ever since. It's not something I deliberately seek, but it just seems to happen.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 2:21PM #2
tawonda
Posts: 4,367
This afternoon my pastor, who's dean of our particular regional subdivision, is going to officiate at a confirmation service for kids from a variety of ELCA congregations within a larger regional city who've been attending confirmation class together.

I can see some advantages to doing this -- a feeling of comraderie and solidarity for kids who perhaps don't have a lot of other kids their age in their own parishes; more resources if more affluent churches partner with poorer ones; pastors with a special charism for youth ministry being able to exercise that gift in this way. I can also see some disadvantages; less of a connection to one's own pastor and one's peers in one's own congregation; logistical challenges for kids without a lot of transportation options.

How many of your churches partner with other churches for confirmation class? How is it working for you?
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 3:22PM #3
DustyLady
Posts: 430
I can't say that I've been to a church that does this, but I can see where it might have advantages.  Perhaps if the pastors of each church would teach on a rotating basis, or each contribute in some way?  Where I went to college, we had a very active Lutheran student organization, and every week a different area pastor held a Bible study for the students.  It gave us the benefit of different points of view, and it also helped the pastors out to spread the labor around.  I can see where doing the same thing for a confirmation class might work.  Depends on how it's done.

Dusty
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 4:28PM #4
benotafraid
Posts: 31
Years ago when my youngest child was in confirmation, the local ELCA churches did just that..but it was a shared experience with the pastors and the children. It worked out well..but all the children were actually confirmed in their own parish.  I think our local churches need to re visit  that way of doing things again.

How do you encourage the youth to attend with all the extra curricular things they do? It is a problem.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 8:03PM #5
tawonda
Posts: 4,367
One of our problems is indeed consistency -- one week we'll get 30 kids involved, the next week six.

On the other hand, we've experienced a phenomenon of kids getting involved without their parents being involved in their spiritual formation -- they come to our classes/events because of friends who go to our church.

Really, the parents seem to be the missing link here -- many seem to take no responsibility for their children's spiritual formation, and/or don't prioritize it vis-a-vis other afterschool/weekend activities. Where are the parents, and why are they so lackadaisical? I know that, as a non-parent, I probably don't have a lot of gravitas in scolding parents for how they raise their kids...but good grief; when I was growing up religious education wasn't an option; it was expected, period. Parents nowadays seem almost afraid of their own children.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 8:49PM #6
DustyLady
Posts: 430
I know exactly what you mean, Tawonda.  Several years ago, I volunteered with the youth program at my church.  It was a typical situation of students being involved with everything from extra-curricular activities to jobs to helping out on the family farm.  Attendance at confirmation classes was mandatory, but once the kids were confirmed we often hardly ever saw them.  And when they did come to church, they looked as if they had just crawled out of bed without changing clothes first.  Our pastor once got ripped top to bottom by a woman for suggesting that her son might refrain from wearing a suggestive t-shirt to church.  Her reply, "I'm lucky to get him to come to church at all!"

Dusty
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 28, 2007 - 11:35PM #7
DonTheNorski
Posts: 193
My own experience was that the kids were expected to attend Sunday School, Luther League, and Comfirmation, regardless of what the folks did.  Dad would routinely drop us off a block away from church, we'd walk to church for Sunday School and worship, and then be waiting there for us when we got out of church.

Nowhere in my childhood lessons or in confirmation did I receive any hint what Lutherans believe regarding the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Nowhere did I receive the proper instruction as to what the significance of Baptism is.  And, nowhere did I receive the true significance of the Ten Commandments even -- I had to wait until I was 47 years old to get THAT!  The main thing I remember from my confirmation classes was the pastors horrendous bad breath/!

My church now does involve parents in the spiritual development of their kids.  The church has about 260 kids in Sunday School.  A good amount of them do participate in confirmation.  The church is active in sponsoring things to not only give the kids something to "do", but to bring a mission oriented connection to it.

Bringing the parents into it, making church something worth DOING, makes all the difference in the world.  Had I had a proper Lutheran upbringing, I'd likely not have drifted away for so many years.  Luckily, my rootstock was strong enough to endure the long winter.  Praise God!
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2007 - 7:15AM #8
benotafraid
Posts: 31
I agree that a huge stumbling block are the parents..or as it seems "the parent".  Our confirmation students are expected to serve in an accolyte postion on Sunday mornings..either at our 8:30am service, or our 11am. I had a mother ask me if I expected her daughter to be there that early!   I told her yes! She did not show up.
Many family's these days seem to have Jesus in a box. Their life seems to busy for salvation.

What I remember from my confirmation class is the endless memorization!
My faith walk strengthened in my more mature years. I don't remember learning  the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist  either..but as kids...do you hear everything?  I do remember the Fire and Brimstone,being raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran. Now I am ELCA.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2007 - 6:44PM #9
AFskypilot
Posts: 352
The churches in our area do not exactly have blended classes, primarily because of the distance involved.  But the church camp does offer a special confirmation weekend once every three weeks to discuss one of the parts of the catechism.  It seems to be pretty well attended.  But this program is really designed to be supplemental to what the individual congregations are already doing.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2007 - 7:29PM #10
DustyLady
Posts: 430
I attended grades K-6 in a Lutheran day school, and so got a good dose of religious training as part of the regular curriculum.  Then we moved to a large church, where I was one of 33 in my confirmation class.  I remember the pastor was one of those old Fire & Brimstone Lutheran preachers (to borrow from benotafraid), and I was more than a little afraid of him.  But, deep down, he was an excellent pastor and one of the finest men I have ever known.  I do remember, that in a Sunday school of over 100 children, the confirmation class were the only ones to have speaking parts in the annual Christmas pageant. 

I remember that we had a very active youth program, led by an extremely dynamic DCE.  I think that contributed as much to my understanding of what it meant to be a Lutheran and what it meant to be a communicant member of the church.  From the beginning, I was always very aware of what it meant to be kneeling there before the altar. 

Dusty
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