“God loves me a bunch that he lets this be my calling!”
I find that I say this often. Sometimes people don’t quite get why. It has nothing to do with God loving anyone else less. I just lean into the knowledge that God has called me to this specific ministry and I’m blessed by it! Most recently I felt this while helping to lead Confirmation.
Confirmation comes at an interesting time in the life of a young person. Most of our Confirmation students are sixth graders. They are at a time when they’re beginning to think more abstractly and seek answers for themselves. (Aside: The Teenage Brain by Frances Jensen is fascinating) I appreciate how we’ve structured our Confirmation journey to include a variety of learning experiences and that we have adult mentors to walk alongside students as they stretch themselves and their understanding of faith. The journey is designed to offer students a foundational knowledge of what it means to live a life following Jesus and being a part of a faith community. Their mentor steps in to be right beside the student as they process what we are studying and discern Truth. It’s a beautiful sight to witness!
During our Day with Jesus, we offered a time for students and mentors to process what we had just experienced. They were asked to consider the Biblical figures to see who they most closely identified with, which person who had encountered Jesus whose life advice they felt impacted them the most, and to discuss what they felt that they were going to take from the Confirmation journey and apply to their lives. It was a lot to process. I wondered how it would go over. As I sat and watched the pairs chatting, I was struck by the beauty of the relationships built over the course of the past 3.5 months. I kept thinking, I will just give them 5 more minutes. The time would pass and they were still deeply engaged in conversation! Just 5 more minutes. Those conversations. Those relationships. THAT was our goal for having mentors. Studies have revealed that young people who have five or more adults invested in their lives who are not paid to be with them are more successful. (See http://www.search-institute.org/ for more information on that!) I was willing to give them as much time as possible to continue to discuss. Now, they may very well have been talking about the massive amounts of rain or their new Birkenstocks, but it doesn’t matter…they were talking!
One of my prayers throughout Confirmation was for students to realize that their spiritual growth going forward is important. My hope is that each one would be involved in Fire & Water student ministries. Not just so that I have job security, but because I have seen God work in powerful ways in the lives of young teens in the seventeen years I have worked for this church. I believe in the power of peer study and exploration of faith. Watching young people grasp Truth and put it into action is an awesome sight. Navigating struggles with faith and coming out the other side stronger and wiser is beautiful. Discovering a passion God has placed on the heart of a young person is fantastic!
I must confess that my initial desire to be involved with Confirmation was selfish. I wanted to get to know the students before they came to Junior High. I thought it may help the transition if they knew me a little better. Those are both still true. Yet, I’ve developed a passion for Confirmation. I love the exploration & the breadth of topics we cover in a short time together. I love diving deep into relationship and learning together. The journey is fun! It is a privilege to step into the lives of young people and their families and offer some new discussions for this leg of the journey together. Helping families guide their young person in faith formation is an honor.
What can our church family do to help with the journey? Pray for young people. Free up some space on your calendar next January to May to be a Confirmation mentor or Sunday school teacher. Talk to me about how you could be involved in the junior high ministry as we need adults invested in the lives of young people throughout their school years.
On the afternoon of Confirmation Sunday, I got a text from one of our mentors who said she could see now why I say what I say about my calling! :) How fun is that?!