What we desire for all our students:
- For students to freely enter formal confirmation instruction when they are ready, not a predetermined age, or grade.
- For confirmation instruction to be seen as the next step, not the final step.
- Students to grow in their relationship with Christ.
- Students to always be asking questions and seeking understanding, life-long learning.
- Parents or mentors to have an active and integral part in their student’s faith formation.
- To experience the joy, love, and support of a Christian community.
- Talk about faith and life experiences with peers in a safe environment.
- To be able to name, claim and defend their faith.
So first, what is confirmation: Confirmation is when an individual, without any coercion or outside pressure, affirms promises made on his or her behalf, by his or her parents at Baptism.
We don’t we have “traditional” confirmation classes (3 years of instruction with students being confirmed at the end of their 9th grade year) at Saron for several reasons.
- How confirmation has been traditionally done is not working anymore, and has not been for decades. Typically, after students are put through the traditional format of confirmation that pulls them in at a certain age, confirms them at a set point, and then sends them out into this world, hoping, yet knowing that statistically they won’t return to the church as adults. However, research shows that for most adolescents in most churches, aged based classes send the wrong signal about Christian faith formation. Instead of a lifelong growth in following Christ, we inevitably signal that confirmation is about jumping hoops and “graduating.” For that reason our Confirmation program is designed for students to enter into at any age during their middle school and high school years. Adolescents are different from one another in many ways, including their spiritual development. Grouping them by age and then educating them to supposedly own, and express their faith according to a set schedule ignores their individual faith development. Some are ready earlier, some later. Not tying the public act of confirmation to a specific age or school grade respects the integrity of individual faith development.
- We want students to have a space in which they can ask questions, talk about their experiences, and their faith, making confirmation a life-giving part of their lives in which they can find rest and try to make sense of the world and find their place in it. But, the reality is that most of the lives of families in our community are so hectic and crazy that “church” can easily slide into the “check it off the list pile” in which Confirmation is seen as the completion of their faith journey. For this reason we developed our program by asking how we could best serve the youth and their families in this crazy busy world (because that simply will not change).
- There is no compelling biblical or theological reason to continue the three year program tradition, both historically and theologically speaking.
- We often find that the push for confirmation is more about what is felt needs to be done than actually helping kids grow in their faith.
So what does Conformation at Saron Lutheran look like?
We Believe In:
Educating without assumptions, encouraging questions, and seeking understanding together.
We encourage questions in confirmation and trust that conversations will continue at home as they help students (and adults). We hope that students will see how God is active in their lives and our world despite how it can appear and feel. Without these rich and vibrant conversations combined with examples/modeling, the broader culture’s story and ways prevail.
So how will you know if your student is ready for this step: We HIGHLY suggest that your student has been in youth ministry for at least one year to get accustomed to how things work and make new connections before entering confirmation instruction. For this process to have real integrity and effectiveness, this needs to be something that the student truly desires. The timing is expansive, ranging anywhere from early adolescence to approaching young adulthood. If parents are driving things thinking “It’s about time you get confirmed!” then it undercuts the whole experience. Youth, of course, need to know about the opportunity and need encouragement, but any sort of coercion is bound to be counterproductive in the long run. Those wishing to be confirmed must commit, along with their parents, to attending classes and events September through May at which point they will be confirmed, beginning at 5:30 each Wednesday evening. There are additional requirements, including attending Youth Ministry each evening after their class is done. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday evenings September through May we gather at 7:00 pm for youth ministry for grades 6-12, no matter if they are confirmed or not, it is open to everyone. This ministry is being transformed to best serve the families and students in our community, giving them some respite as well as a safe place to process their daily lives with peers and caring adults, and talk about where they see, and want God in their lives.
We sincerely believe that both Confirmation and Youth Ministry at Saron is a privilege and an experience that will change your son or daughters life. Therefore, we expect that each participating student will attend with an attitude of cooperation and enthusiasm. Smoking or any form of drugs will never be allowed anytime, anywhere. Language will be expected to be consistent with that of a follower of Jesus Christ. Any student disrupting a class or event will immediately be asked to leave and phone a parent for an immediate student/parent conference with our staff. These will be taken very seriously. We have so much to accomplish in this short time that we will never sacrifice the good of the majority for the irresponsibility of a few. Again, at any time we reserve the right to dismiss a student from a class or event. At that point it will become the parent’s responsibility to either provide transportation or reimburse Saron for any incurred travel expenses.
Because we know many have hectic schedules and other commitments we do offer an inexpensive Wednesday meal option. Each Wednesday we will have Pizza and water available for purchase for $1 per item.
Youth retreats are opportunities for youth to grow in their relationship with each other, their leaders and most importantly, God. As one student leader posted to Facebook,
“This weekend I got to experience growing closer to God, one of the best weekends I've had my whole life not only because I personally grew closer with the Lord, but being a student leader I got to witness the students also growing closer with the Lord! I highly recommend taking a trip to Camp Shamineau!”
Retreats take place at Camp Shamineau in Motley were students and leaders worship together with hundreds of other students, study the Bible, participate in team building activities, team sports, horseback riding, laser tag, rock climbing, zip-lining, high ropes courses and much more! Students cost is $70 per student, for their first retreat, if they would like to go on both they certainly can, but they will need to pay the full retreat amount of $109 rather than the $70 for the second retreat. Scholarships are available if needed, please contact email@example.com.
- Group outings for things such as tubing at Power Ridge, valleyfair or whirly ball.
- Paint and water wars.
- Summer camp
Kickball is one outdoor activity that every kid has played, but what happens when you combine a slip-n-slide with kickball? The answer is pure epicness!
Slip-n-slide kickball is exactly what it sounds like. You play a kickball game like you are used to, but you use slip-n-slides as your baselines and slide into kiddie pools as your bases. Slip-n-slide kickball sounds awesome, but playing it is even more awesome and will be an epic game to play! We can’t wait! All are welcome, all are welcome, bring your friends and be ready to have a blast!
Swimsuits are okay to wear as long as they are one piece, but most prefer to play in shorts and a t-shirt! See you soon!