by Matt Hein

If you’ve ever been hiking you know the significance of a good stopping point along the path. Perhaps it is a scenic vista, a well-placed bench, or a log that allows you to sit down, pause on the path, and reflect on the journey. As you stop you recall that your path began at the trailhead and you imagine the destination that is still somewhere ahead, out of sight.

You remember the smooth, level sections of the path and give thanks for them! You recall the difficult sections full of twists and turns, ups and downs that made the hike challenging. You plan for how to deal with the challenges ahead by recalling the challenges you’ve already encountered. At a stopping point you realize that getting to the end of the hike has been, and will continue to be, full of adventure. But here, at rest, you have the opportunity to recall the past, affirm the present, and dream about the future.

Life as a disciple of Jesus is a lot like hiking. As disciples we are on a journey. We know the trailhead, the beginning of our faith walk at our baptisms where we started following Jesus. We know that our destination is to be in God the Father’s presence for eternity as we experience the resurrection of the dead and the fullness of the new creation. Getting there, however, is full of adventure. Spiritually our lives are filled with moments where the journey is smooth and level and relatively easy to navigate.

At other times the challenges, temptations, and brokenness of our world bring us to twists and turns, ups and downs that test our faith in Jesus tremendously. No matter how easy or difficult the journey, God reminds us that we don’t hike alone. He goes with us and He gives us other hikers to walk with, to learn from, to be encouraged by, and sometimes to pick us up when we fall down. We journey together as a community!

Along the spiritual trail, we are given opportunities to pause on the journey. At those stopping points we reflect on where God has brought us from, dream about what He might be calling us to in the future, and affirm that we follow Jesus on this journey of faith. The Rite of Confirmation is one of those moments where young men and women pause on their faith walks to recall what God did when He claimed them as His own in their baptisms, to dream about what God might be calling them to in the future, and to affirm that they follow Jesus. But that affirmation is not done alone. It is done within the church, God’s community that is journeying together in this world.

[youtube id=”8vZwJCnY8Og” width=”600″ height=”350″]

As we approach September and the beginning of another Confirmation year, we’d like to invite parents and students going into 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, as well as high school students who have not been confirmed, to an information meeting to hear more about the process that will guide us through Confirmation this year.

Our process will be discipleship focused and relationally driven, connecting faith and life. We’ll be learning Biblical content but always within the context of relationships. We’ll be filling discipleship toolboxes with tools to help navigate the ups and downs, twists and turns of life in a broken world. We’ll be walking through this Confirmation process together as partners – students, parents, and church. Toward the end of our Confirmation year we will have much to celebrate including the Rite of Confirmation in May.

We’re very excited about what this process will do for families who will learn to follow Jesus even more intentionally. We’re excited about bringing other partners into mentoring relationships with students. We’re excited about the high value that will be placed on family discipleship, on relationships, and even the possibility for some families to have multiple children participating together this year.

We want to share our excitement with you so join us for one of three informational meetings where we’ll walk through the Confirmation process in more detail. We’ll be at The Dive in Whitmore Lake on Tuesday, July 22 at 6:30pm, at St. Luke Ann Arbor on Wednesday, July 23 at 6:00pm, and at University Lutheran Chapel on Sunday, July 27 at 12:15pm. If your family has a young disciple going into 6th, 7th, or 8th grade or a high school student who has not been confirmed, join us for one of these informational meetings. We can’t wait to partner with you as we journey together following Jesus.