Becoming disciples through confirmation
August 14, 2018 / By Heidi Gran, Director of Christian Education, First United Methodist Church of East Greenbush
Editor's Note: The following article was published in the summer 2018 issue of the Advocate. This issue focused on ways in which churches and individuals are boldly living their call. Living boldly into a call can start as early as confirmation. In this article, Heidi Gran describes how successful their confirmation model has been in growing the faith of youth at First United Methodist Church of East Greenbush.
Our church has tried several different models for our confirmation class. About three years ago, we tried the model that we are currently using, and it has been growing and expanding. We have classes during Sunday school time, using a United Methodist confirmation curriculum. The classes are taught by five different members of the congregation all varying in age and church experience. This year we had ten students in the confirmation class.
The students also have class requirements to meet. The idea is to immerse the youth into the church life through music, service participation, youth events, and mission projects. It is our hope that in doing this, the students will not only learn about their church life, but also, will find a "place" in the church after confirmation. They may want to be in the church choir, or help with missions, or become more involved in youth group or in the services. It is a way to discover more about the life of our church.
This year, along with confirmation classes each Sunday, the students had several service participation and mission requirements. They each served communion, made dinner at Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, participated in a service at Riverside Nursing Home, attended youth events, and participated in a Christmas and an Easter service. They attended a service at Berith Shalom Temple in April, participated in Change the World Sunday in May, and traveled to to New York City to visit John Street United Methodist Church, the oldest Methodist congregation in the country. The class was joyously confirmed on June 3.
Here are just a few thoughts from the students.
Good things about being a church member:
- “You get closer to God.”
- “You feel welcomed and it gives you a sense of community.”
- “It is a place where you share the same beliefs and you feel that you belong somewhere.”
- “You can ask questions and be open with others who share the same thoughts.”
Good things about First United Methodist Church of East Greenbush:
- “Sunday School teachers are very interactive, people support the Sunday School, even if they don’t have kids in the Sunday School.”
- “Our church is child-focused - we have special/fun days that are kid-friendly.”
- “Everyone is friendly and kind. The Church is close, like a family.”
Highlights of the confirmation class:
- “Singing Christmas Carols to the Riverside Nursing Home residents.”
- “The relay race in class.”
- “The NYC trip.”
- “Making dinner for the homeless shelter.”
- “Interacting with each other in class.”
On growing closer to God:
- “I have seen myself grow in my understanding of God.”
- “My relationship with God is strong.”
- “My relationship with God is stronger now”
- “I am closer to God in the sense that I can communicate with God and understand what He does for me.”