As with each year, Pastor Roy and I just finish up our interviews with the eighth graders prior to being confirmed. We talk with each young person about their ‘I Believe’ projects, any questions they still have and where they see themselves going forward with their faith. We also ask them for feedback on the program. I want to share with you some of the feedback from these interviews.
First, the bad: pretty much nothing. They really like confirmation. Yes, talking about sex and the Sixth Commandment was awkward. We could get them up and moving more often. If we could have Lenten meals all year that would rock. But overall, they got a lot out of the three years and enjoyed it.
So now the best stuff from Confirmation:
Small groups. They love small group time. Each week we send the youth participate in small group time with about 4-8 peers and an adult leader. They share highs and lows, discuss the topic of the day more and then pray together. Every year we hear from our young people this is one of their favorite things. They crave this community where they are deeply cared for and can share what is going on in their lives. They can dig deeper and ask those questions that were too scary to ask in front of the whole group.
Learning how to pray. Too be honest I have never heard this in any previous year. Tracey, one of our small group leaders, really focused on having the girls pray for each other’s highs and lows. I was blown away the first time I experienced these eighth graders praying for each others out loud. How awesome is that?!?!
Sharing stories. Now we all know Pastor Roy has MANY stories and he shares quite a few during Confirmation. But the young people also loved hearing about the struggles and triumphs other adults shared throughout the years. The stories brought these concepts and ideas and made them real and concrete.
Community. Prayer. Sharing our faith journey. Three key components all believers need in their lives to help them through the good times and bad. These young disciples have experienced them and have picked up on the importance of each intuitively. I believe God’s intention for us as His children is for us to have these three things as fixtures in our lives. We must have a community to support not only our needs but also our ministries. Prayer must be a key component of our lives; not just personal prayer but prayer lifted up for and by the community. And we need to share our stories. Through sharing our stories we can inspire, educate, praise God, learn, grow, find common bonds, support others and so much more. Our stories continue telling the story of our God so that all can witness our Living Lord present with us each and every day.
My hope is that these young, freshly confirmed youth find a new ‘small group’ to support them in their growing discipleship (FYI there are A LOT of them at Living Lord). I would also ask each disciple at Living Lord this question: What is your ‘small group’?