By Matt Hein
In 2014, St. Luke made a significant and intentional change, shifting our Confirmation program to a process that is discipleship focused and relationally driven. We brought family and church together in partnership to support the faith development of everyone involved. It is almost time to begin the confirmation journey again.
While a few modifications are in store, Confirmation 2015-2016 is committed to a discipleship process that helps us follow Jesus in the context of family relationships. We are excited for the second year of Confirmation as family discipleship and invite you to explore some of the details below.
The Confirmation Process Big Picture
Our goal for each participant in the Confirmation process is to:
- Understand and engage in St. Luke’s discipleship process
- Increase knowledge of and ability to use Bible and Catechism
- Receive and begin to use specific discipleship tools
- Enter into intentional discipling relationships
- Practice spiritual disciplines (prayer, confession, and forgiveness, etc.)
- Connect Biblical content and spiritual disciplines to natural life rhythms and events
We know that faith formation happens best when family and church partner together. We also know that discipleship happens in trusted relationships. For these reasons, we both invite and expect families to participate together. Our confirmation gatherings will include both students (Confirmands) and parents.
Confirmation is open to students going into 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, as well as high school students who have yet to be confirmed. Because the kind of partnership we envision takes commitment, we want to provide enough flexibility for families to journey through the process together during the Confirmation year (September to May) that works best for them.
We certainly want to encourage faith development over time, so we want to support and provide resource to students before and after their Confirmation. By focusing on a single Confirmation year, we want to enable families to participate together.
If you have multiple children, consider choosing a Confirmation year that will allow as many as possible to go through the process together. If your student has a friend they would like to journey though Confirmation with, consider inviting another family to join the process with you.
We want the Confirmation year to build lasting faith relationships for the future.
The Year in More Detail
The 2015-2016 Confirmation year will begin with a student only overnight retreat beginning at 7 PM on Friday, September 11 and ending at 11 AM on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Our first family (student and parents) Confirmation gathering is on Sunday, September 13 from 9:45-10:45 AM at St. Luke-Ann Arbor.
Classes throughout the Confirmation year will be held on Sunday mornings from 9:45-10:45 AM, between services, at St. Luke-Ann Arbor. These gatherings will consist of a time of teaching, family discussion, and activities. During specific seasons, midweek activities with other families will also be part of the Confirmation process. But these will take place in more local settings and will not require travel back to the St. Luke building.
On Sunday mornings, families with children not participating in the confirmation process are encouraged to enroll them in our Sheepfold (children) or Youth Sunday School. In addition, the nursery is available for infants through three year olds.
While we want all our families who begin the Confirmation process to complete the journey, we want families to be able to experience the first three weeks of the process before formally committing to the whole year. Families who choose to continue the Confirmation process will formally covenant/commit to the entire process during class on Sunday, October 4, 2015.
In addition to the September retreat, a closing spring retreat will be held toward the middle of May 2016. Students will participate in the Rite of Confirmation during worship on Sunday, May 1, 2016.
Families provide some of the most important discipling relationships for every believer. But studies have shown the added benefits of having a non-family, non-church-worker support the faith walk of our youth. In order to provide this additional support and encouragement for students in the Confirmation process, each student will invite a spiritual mentor to journey through this year with them.
Mentors are encouraged to attend gatherings regularly and to pray for their Confirmand, checking in with them throughout the process. A mentor should be post-high school, worship regularly at St. Luke, and be committed to the student’s faith journey.
Is This the Year?
Perhaps you are praying about whether this is the right year for Confirmation? If so, use the following questions as part of your family conversation.
- How would you describe your family’s current faith journey?
- Why is it important that your family participate in the St. Luke Confirmation process?
- Why do you think that 2015-16 is the year for your family to journey through the St. Luke Confirmation process?
- Why do you want to follow Jesus more purposefully in your daily life?
- What does confirmation (confirming your faith) mean to you?
We are excited about how this process will shape and form everyone involved. If you have questions about the process, need more information, or want to discuss which year is the right year for your family to journey through the process together, don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Matt Hein, minister of discipleship at St. Luke-Ann Arbor at 734-971-0550.
Everyone considering 2015/2016 as a family discipleship/Confirmation year, please plan on attending a brief informational meeting after 10:00 AM worship on Sunday, August 16 or Sunday, August 23 at St. Luke-Ann Arbor.
Families who regularly attend other sites on Sunday morning have several options. If you are considering 2015/2016 as a family discipleship/Confirmation year and you do not typically attend St. Luke-Ann Arbor, we want to talk with you more about what options might work for you. Please contact Pastor Matt Hein for further conversation.