Confirmation (or catechism) while common in certain denominations is completely foreign to many. If you know all about confirmation, than this post is less for you and more for those of you who aren't quite so familiar with the tradition. Confirmation is a large part of my role as a Middle School Minister so as I share about my role in confirmation, I want to help provide some context for that. Confirmation is a tradition of the church, primarily practiced in denominations that also practice infant baptism. In these denominations baptism is clearly not about the infant publicly declaring their faith, confirmation is often seen as the time where students or adults make a public profession of their faith. You cannot find the command for confirmation throughout the scriptures, it is simply a practice that developed in the church and throughout history has become an important part of spiritual development for many churchgoers.
Confirmation very simply is a public confirmation of the faith that someone has. Typically around 8th grade, although it can happen at any age, churches will spend a significant amount of time training students in the core doctrine of their church. Confirmation is a time for students to take ownership of their faith, not as something that they are told to believe but that they really believe.
For many people who do not come from a confirmation background this may be hard to understand. The best thing I can liken it to is a new member program. Many churches of all different denominations and backgrounds have membership classes. Whatever this process may look like, most likely there is some aspect of talking about what they believe, why they believe it, and what being a part of that congregation looks like. Over the course of the confirmation process, students learn these things and at the end, if they want, they stand up in front of the church and publicly make a statement of their faith as they commit to the Church and their local congregation.
Although certain denominations may not practice confirmation, I do think there is some value in the process and the tradition of learning what your church believes. Even if a church comes from a baptist or non-denominational bent, where middle school students are making a decision to be baptized, there is incredible value in asking the question how do we train these students in what we believe as a church and help them become a part of the life of this church?
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