Confirmation


Confirmation refers to the decision a person makes to respond to God's grace with intentional commitment, publicly reaffirming his or her baptismal vows before the congregation.


At St. John’s a confirmation preparation class is offered each year for youth in 8th grade. The class begins in January and ends in May with confirmation. The class meets each week after church on Sunday for 2 hours. It is led by Pastor Katie Gholson, our Pastor of Discipleship. During confirmation class, confirmands learn about the meaning of Christian faith; the history and teachings of the United Methodist Church; and an explanation of the baptismal and membership vows they will be professing.


Being confirmed is not the same as becoming a member of the church, baptism has already celebrated that! Confirmation is a person's first public affirmation of the faith of the church as being his or her own faith. In being confirmed, the confirmand is taking responsibility for living as a member of the body of Christ and for fulfilling God's purposes.


If you have more questions about confirmation and beliefs of the United Methodist Church, please contact Pastor Katie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the confirmation overview information on the UMC.org website.


Confirmation Blog 2017:

Week 1 : Creation

God, the creator of all things, thought about what the world needed, and carefully created all things to fulfill this purpose.  Out of nothing, God molded earth, sea and sky.  God created the sun, the moon, and the stars.  God desired caretakers for the earth, and created man and woman in the image of Himself.  Even today, God is carefully molding and shaping life in His image. God has a story for all creation.  He has a reason for creating all things. Questions... How does it feel to know that God created you?   How can you better live into your purpose of caring for creation?

Week 2: Jesus Christ: Sin and Redemption
We all sin! But, God calls us to be on our guard so that sin does not become too prevalent in our lives that it completely separates us from God.  Sin creates a chasm between humanity and God, but offers a bridge between this separation in the gift of Jesus.  Jesus conquered sin and redeems us to our Creator, allowing us to freely know of God’s love.  What are you tempted by? How is sin destructive in our world? Does knowing about Jesus’ redemptive love change your outlook on the world?

As followers of Christ we are called to bring the Good News to the world.  We are the church, and we are united in our belief of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. What is the difference in going to church and being the church?
The Holy Spirit is a powerful presence of God near us, so near that it dwells within us. It is another gift God has given to humankind. How is the Holy Spirit our comforter and advocate?
Sin creates a chasm between humanity and God, but God offers a bridge between this separation in the gift of Jesus.  A question... How is sin destructive in our world?
It was a big week for the confirmands. Last Sunday on their retreat they talked about Sin and Jesus as the Redeemer / Holy Spirit / Church.

Week 3 : Transformation & Spiritual Renewal
Last Sunday our confirmands talked about transformation and being spiritually renewed. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we have been liberated from our sin as we talked about a few weeks ago, given the gift of the Holy Spirit, or the sustainer, and offered a NEW LIFE, one that mimics the life of Jesus and knows the love and grace of God. We discussed the transformation of Saul to Paul and how Christ gave him a new purpose for living. Read Acts 9:1-19 Who was changed? Why did they need to be changed? What changed them? & what happened next?


The Way of Discipleship, Wesleyan Quadrilateral and Holy Life

Week 4 : The Way of Discipleship

There are four areas of discipleship that help us follow God's way for our lives.  They are personal devotion, corporate worship, acts of compassion, and working for justice.  These areas help us to live our lives according to God's will. Jesus' life teaches us how to live in the way of discipleship.  How can you practice personal devotion to God? Which parts of corporate worship bring you the most joy and help you to feel close to God? How can you show compassion to your neighbors? How can you uphold justice in your community and school?
The Way of Discipleship, Wesleyan Quadrilateral and Holy Life

Week 5 : Wesleyan Quadrilateral
This model of decision-making was created in order to assist Christians while they make choices and decisions about faith and life.  The four parts: scripture, tradition, experience, and reason all help us stay on the path of holy living.  Scripture helps us to discern questions of faith through the inspiration of God. Tradition is the reliance we put on wisdom from Christians who have come before us. Our own personal sense of faith that helps us know and love God is our experience, and as we ask questions and discern answers about our faith, we use reason to help us make decisions.  Consider how each part of the quadrilateral can help you make a simple decision... how about a difficult decision? Which part helps define your faith in the best way?

Week 6 : Salvation
John Wesley described God's Grace as a free gift that comes to all people and it is not dependent on our good deeds or good intentions, but comes because of Gods unconditional love for us.  He explained grace in three movements: prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying. We can experience God's grace in many ways, such as prayer, Bible study, etc., but we know we can always experience it through the sacraments of baptism and communion.  Where are you in the house of salvation: on the porch, at the door, or inside the house? Do you have a conversion story? Read Acts 9 and ask your parents and mentors about their conversion to Christianity.  Ask them about their baptisms and what they experience in communionSalvation and Sacraments


Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is another gift God has given to humankind.  It is the presence of God near us, so near us that it dwells within us though God sometimes feels far away.  Although the Holy Spirit can be hard to comprehend, we can trust that it is the Holy Spirit that helps us in our weakness and is a constant presence for all of our life.  Here are some questions to ponder. Describe how the Holy Spirit is like wind, water and fire. What does it mean to you to have God live within you in the form of the Holy Spirit? How is the Holy Spirit our comforter and advocate?

Church and Worship
Before Jesus left the disciples, he encouraged them to be of one mind and to unite together to bring the Good News to the world. This united group is called the CHURCH. The universal Christian church is united by the fact that we all believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Of course, because the church is made of humans, we have found a way to separate ourselves from each other and sometimes from the world. What is the difference between going to church and being the church? Why do Christians separate themselves? What unites us? Think about the history of the church. Research one of the various branches of Christianity that is different from the United Methodist Church?

New Creation
God promises to renew all of creation through Jesus Christ, but sin keeps us from being all that God desires us to be.  When we choose to live into God's new life, we turn away from sin and turn towards God's path of love and righteousness.  The Holy Spirit can bring about transformation and change in our world and in each one of us.  Think about the story of the woman at the well (John 4).  What did Jesus offer her? What can God offer us that the world cannot offer?  How can we "tune" into the work of the Holy Spirit?

Living a Holy Life: Being a disciple of Jesus is more than just worshipping on Sunday. To be a disciple, our whole life should be modeled after the ways of Christ. Of course, none of us are flawless, but as we practice living a spiritual life, we become more like Jesus. What gets in the way of following Jesus? What can you do to practice a better life?

Renounce, Reject, Repent
Renounce, Reject, Repent The next few lessons will reflect on the vows that the youth will take to be confirmed. They will examine each part of the vow, so they better understand what is meant when they recite them.  The first two vows are, "Do you RENOUNCE the spiritual forces of wickedness, REJECT the evil powers of this world, and REPENT of your sin?" What spiritual practices help you resist the temptations of the world? How does God give us the power to resist sin?

Accept
God has granted us not only the opportunity to reject wickedness and sin, but we have also been granted the power to resist evil by accepting things that will help us to live into holiness. These things that we get to accept are practices that help us follow the way of Christ.  We are invited to be in prayer. We are invited to follow God’s commandments to love God and love neighbor. We are invited to know the word of God and live it. We are invited to worship God. We are invited to remember our baptism, to remember Jesus through Holy Communion. What spiritual practices have you chosen to accept into your daily routines? When have these practices helped you resist some form of evil, injustice or oppression?

Confess
"Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?"  In building confirmed, you are making a commitment to live your life as a reflection of Jesus' to live your life as a reflection of Jesus' life and to let your beliefs guide your decisions and actions.  How would you describe your Christian beliefs to someone who has never heard of God?

I Believe
We have covered over the last ten weeks. Some of it is easy to believe and other parts are more difficult.  The apostles knew this too, and as they formed the first church, they expressed their beliefs through creeds, hymns, and writings.  John Wesley also knew the importance of affirming his belief and encouraged the Methodists to write their confession of faith, in which we call the Articles of Religion. This week we will learn about affirmations of faith from the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and the UMC Articles of Religion. Being clear on what you believe about God is one of the most important parts of the journey.  In what ways do your beliefs about something guide your actions? What do you believe about God, the Maker of heaven and earth? What do you believe about Jesus, the Son of God. What do you believe about the Holy Spirit?

Prayers, Presence, Gifts Service and Witness
God is faithful and constantly relates to us.  We are moved to be faithful by God’s faithfulness to us. We are not motivated by a need to pay God back; we move toward faithfulness because that is how God’s love is revealed in our hearts. We love and serve because we are inspired by God’s love and service. As members of The United Methodist Church, we commit to be faithful to the Body of Christ with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.  This simple statement is critical to discipleship. Describe your prayer life. How do you communicate best with God?  How can you be more present to your congregation?

Prayers, Presence, Gifts Service and Witness- Continued
It is one thing to understand the ways in which we show our faithfulness, it is another to know what gifts we have within us to share.  Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. What spiritual gift do you think has been given to you? How can you offer it to the Church? What is one new way you can witness to your faith?

Mission and Service 
We are called to put our faith into action through service. Confirmands will “be the church” as they leave the building to be the hands and feet of Christ.  How is your "personal faith" making an impact on others?

Going Forth
However you go forth on this journey, consider Wesley’s simple last words: “The best of all is God is with us.” God goes with us the entire way- from the day we were knit in our mother’s womb to the day we draw our final breath. Jesus will never leave us orphaned and is ready to draw up closer to God. The Holy Spirit moves within us, empowering us to reject sin and say yes to Christ every day. God is with us. Consider your entire confirmation experience. What words or phrases stand out to you most? What do they mean to you?