Kids in Confirmation

Last year my congregation moved confirmation instruction back to 5th and 6th grade. So far that is going well, but this year we have two 4th graders who wanted to attend, and are, for various reasons. It’s a strange dynamic, running the gamut from first timers in 4th grade all the way to 8th graders in their last year.

Now, I would have imagined that teaching the 8th graders on their level, already after a year of confirmation would stun and confuse the 4th grade children. Or I would alienate the older kids by teaching to the younger. In reality the opposite is happening. My 4th grade students are answering questions, making connections, understanding– more than some of the kids who have already been in confirmation or are starting in a later grade. Now, the two youngest ones are pretty smart cookies, but I don’t think the difference is a matter of brainpower they are bringing to the table.

It’s the fact that the ones who are doing well, who answer the questions, who make connections, who understand are the ones who go to church every Sunday and attend Sunday School. It doesn’t take a biochemist or B F Skinner to see connection. The children who do well in confirmation are the ones whose parents are most actively supporting their spiritual lives and formation. That’s it.

8 comments on “Kids in Confirmation

  1. Glad to hear you’re seeing positive results. I feel your comments endorse the reasoning our congregation (suggested by pastor) has separated communion from confirmation – and offer communion to some before confirmation. Have you (or do you) considered doing so? There is an understanding that we still ensure before communion is given (as early as 5th grade for us). And some of the children don’t receive communion until confirmation is complete. Just curious to your thoughts… thanks.

    1. Thanks. I’ve thought about it, but at this point we are trying the earlier confirmation instruction. We may think about moving to that eventually, but we are moving slowly.

      So tell me, though, if you separate confirmation from first communion, how do you get children to attend confirmation later? What makes parents want their children to go through it?

      1. As you & Dixie have started… I suppose part of our making the hurdle is that Pastor teaches that they do not go hand in hand – one is not a reward for the other. We don’t receive the benefits of the Body and Blood of Christ because of something we do. We’re also reminded, the sacrament of the Eucherist is instituted by Christ, confimation is a manmade “affirmation.” Often we’ve had children come to Pastor (outside of their parents) seeking baptism, confirmation instruction, etc. (often as a result of day school).

        If a parent agrees that their child is ready to receive instruction to receive communion (this comes primarily as a suggestion from Pastor), it would be generally considered they will continue to encourage their child in faith and confirmation remains as it should – something they WANT to complete. We also periodically have types of “re-confirmation” Bible study classes (liturgy, Lutheranism, etc.) for adults as well. Hopefully it’s the same desire that brings individuals into these classes.

  2. So tell me, though, if you separate confirmation from first communion, how do you get children to attend confirmation later? What makes parents want their children to go through it?

    Did you really write this or are you on vacation right now and have a ghost writer? 🙂

    Do Lutherans not believe that in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ their faith is being strengthened? If Lutherans are strengthened in their faith with the reception of the Holy Eucharist, wouldn’t that actually HELP the child in his worship of God? …increase in the child the desire to learn about the faith?

    If all you have on the Table is bread and wine then I think your concerns are quite legitimate. But if it is the Body and Blood of Christ being served…the most important question ought to be…why must I withhold these great and most perfect Gifts from the children until they are in “x” grade.

    I know I am Orthodox and should no longer care about these things…but I always thought that using the Holy Eucharist as a trump card to keep kids in Confirmation class was practically sacrilegious.

    You were joking, right? And I got snookered in and all wound up and ranty for nothing?

    1. Dixie, you found me out. This blog has been ghost-written for the last 14 months. 🙂

      Seriously, though, you may have misunderstood the question I asked–or at least it’s intent. I do not doubt for a second that children–all people–need the Body and Blood of our Lord, which is the medicine of immortality and strengthens faith.

      But I asked the question with parents in mind. Too many Lutherans, as you well know, see Confirmation as graduation to the Lord’s Supper.That’s the point. So if you “get the benefit” before “having to go through all that” what’s the point? Especially since Confirmation is not a sacrament for Lutherans.

      This is certainly not my attitude, but this is the hurdle we would have to go over. So the question was, or maybe should have been, how do you teach parents the benefits of confirmation when they think that it’s no longer necessary.

  3. I am homeschooling my sons and have completed our FHC lessons and am now beginning the Confirmation lessons. Can you recommend a lesson book for me? My boys are in 3rd and 4th grades. thank you!

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