Saturday was the first night of confirmation this year. Confirmation at ORLC is joint taught with Pastor Steve and myself. Confirmation meets once a month on a Saturday night and has a "retreat" format. The "retreat" is held at the parsonage which allows for a relaxing atmosphere. The students in confirmation are ages 5th-8th grade. It is a personal and parental decision as to when a student enters in confirmation. Some families wait until all their kids can do it together (less trips and gas), while other take a more traditional approach of starting in 7th grade. The confirmation program is two years total until one is confirmed.
The evening retreat starts with a meal at 6:00pm. Each person brings an assigned part of the meal. This past Saturday it was spaghetti so people were assigned the main course, garlic bread, salad, drinks and dessert. I was glad to get to meet the students all seven of them. It is basically three families so sibling rivalry is apparent, and it also makes things interesting.
After a half hour of fellowship and food I did the first session. For the first session both parents and students participate. I taught the first lesson on the introduction of the Lord's Prayer. We use curriculum from FaithInc so it is more innovative than simply reading from the catechism and Bible but uses everyday application and examples to explain the relevancy of what the students and parents are learning.
After the first session we have a break for dessert. I rather enjoyed this part for two reasons; first the students had warmed up to me and were starting to show their goofy personalities and second its dessert :)
After dessert the parents and students separate. Pastor takes the parents to the basement of the parsonage to teach them and I remained with the students upstairs. We learned about the first petition of the Lord's prayer through a skit, Bible verses and a movie clip.
Once the second session was complete we had a five minuet break and then resumed for the third session. The third session was my favorite. I still had the students upstairs and we learned about the second petition of the Lord's Prayer "Thy kingdom come". We must have been slightly loud because the parents later said they could hear we were having a good time. As part of the learnings the students participated in charades by acting out several of "The kingdom of heaven is like..." parables that are found in Matthew ie: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field (Matt. 13:44), or the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31)
The students really got into it and more importantly learned something from the activity.
Confirmation re-affirmed my love for middle school. I think middle school is my favorite age. Many people like the little ones (I do too, don't get me wrong), or else they like the older youth, and middle school sometimes the forgotten group but I really enjoy this age.
They are not yet "too cool" to be silly, they are willing to try things and they are just fun. God continually shows me that I am called to ministry and I certainly felt that at this first confirmation session. The parents are willing, and involved (they participate and learn along side their students) it's such a blessing, and the students are fun, and open to new ideas. I think this is going to be a great confirmation year :)