New Apostolic Church USA

Faith Arc FAQs - Confirmation

Why are these changes to Confirmation being made?

This decision is rooted in the realization that many have distanced themselves from the church after making their Confirmation vows. This triggered some additional investigation and even a national survey of youth parents a few years ago. Our investigation suggests that confirmands were often not spiritually developed enough to make an informed vow of commitment to God at the time of Confirmation, and so the age has been increased. The flexibility between 10th and 11th grade is intended to accommodate the natural variation from individual to individual that is neither better or worse.

All of these decisions have been made to adapt the organizational process that helps prepare a soul for Christ’s return to be more fitting for the present context.

 

So, what about Confirmation classes? Who teaches and has discussions leading up to confirmation?

Essential Confirmation class content is being included in the new THRIVE youth curriculum. Youth will now receive necessary preparation for Confirmation through the youth curriculum. Facilitators of this curriculum will drive the teaching of Confirmation class content. While the youth leader will be responsible that the material gets taught, teachers of the material could be youth leaders, parents, young adults, or a combination of those.

 

What happens to the Confirmation teachers?

Current Confirmation class teachers may find a new place in facilitating youth group discussions. Here they can continue in their passion for teaching teens these important spiritual lessons, while also having an impact on a wider audience. It is important that the teaching style be a facilitated small group discussion.

 

How do you know if a youth is ready for Confirmation?

A student has the option of pursuing confirmation in the Spring Semester of their 10th or 11th grade. At the beginning of the Fall Semester of a student’s 10th grade year, a youth leader should engage the student, their parents, and the rector in conversation. These four parties should prayerfully discern together to make a Spirit-led decision as to the best fit for this individual.

A decision to get Confirmed in 10th grade is not set in stone until it has already occurred. At any point the confirmation may be rescheduled for 11th grade.

Confirmation in 11th grade is also not a requirement. If a student is still not prepared to make the step of Confirmation in 11th, upon turning 18, the student will assume responsibility for their own faith as an adult in the congregation.

 

If someone decides they want to make their Confirmation vow after graduating high school, could that be done in the sacristy? Can the confirmand decide whether it is during a divine service or not?

The Confirmation vow and blessing are to occur in the context of the divine service liturgy. Once a student turns 18, they assume the responsibility of the vow that the parents made at the child’s baptism and sealing.

 

If someone is already confirmed, would they still attend the youth small group discussions?

Yes. While the THRIVE youth small group discussion curriculum is what prepares a student to be confirmed, it is also intended for those that have already been confirmed. Those that may be repeating the material will be doing so 3 years after they would’ve had it and can either refresh the topic by participating in the discussion again, or facilitate the discussion and share their experience and how their understanding of that discussion topic has changed since they had that discussion previously. The material will also be refreshed semester by semester, so the discussion guides may not be verbatim of what they experienced 3 years prior.

 

If youth is by grade level, what is the incentive to get confirmed? Will there be anything to look forward to?

Confirmation is the confirming of a sacramental covenant and acceptance of adult responsibility for one’s own faith. It is not a rite of passage into the youth group. The new program and teaching for youth is what prepares a student to be confirmed. The incentive is to make a vow to the Triune God and receive His blessing on accepting responsibility for one’s own faith.

 

In this new model, when will Confirmation class begin?

In the new model, there is no separate Confirmation instruction. The THRIVE youth small group discussion curriculum is what prepares a student to be confirmed.

 

In this new model, at what age is the Confirmation vow made and the blessing dispensed?

The Confirmation vow and blessing will no longer be associated with an age, but rather determined by grades. A student can choose to get confirmed when they are in the 10th or 11th grade.

 

Will there still be a Confirmation exam before a student gets confirmed?

In the new model, there will be additional conversations between the student and their minister after they’ve decided to pursue confirmation in the Spring of their 10th or 11th grade year. The idea of a Confirmation review evening is currently being worked on and will be implemented before the first Confirmation in the new model takes place.

 

What if a student decides to not get confirmed?

We are offering for a student to be confirmed in their 10th or 11th grade year. Confirmation is the student making a vow to take responsibility for their spiritual development and then receiving God’s blessing on that vow. If a student does not get confirmed, they assume that responsibility when they turn 18.

 

What happens for a 14-year-old who enters the youth small group curriculum midstream?

The THRIVE curriculum is not a ‘building’ curriculum, but rather a ‘rolling’ curriculum. Some students may enter the group in the “T” semester and some students may enter in the “V” semester. Since it is a rolling curriculum, all students will have an opportunity to participate in all of the discussions prior to their confirmation.

 

If the new model changes when someone gets confirmed to be when they are in the 10th or 11th grade, will there be a gap in years when there will be Confirmation services?

Yes, there will be a gap in normal confirmation services.

 

We can’t get students to participate in small groups now. What makes you think this will change?

Currently, there is no structured youth small group curriculum. Various resources have been made available to be used as the basis for small group discussions. In the new model, the THRIVE youth small group curriculum is what prepares a student to be confirmed, as well as promotes continual learning and development. In addition to a more structured and consistent small group experience, there are concurrent teachings for parents and the congregation to understand and promote the importance and value of participating in the youth small group discussions.

 

How are you engaging confirmands in the church if the youth group doesn’t start until the Fall?

In the new model, when someone is being confirmed, they have already been involved in the youth group for a minimum of 3 years and should be engaged. The designation of ‘confirmand’ could only be applied once the student decides to pursue confirmation as a result of the conversation they had with their support system in the Fall of their 10th or 11th grade year.

 

What will happen with the existing “I also want to” Confirmation material?

This material, along with existing youth discussion material and some new resources, was used to create the THRIVE youth small group curriculum.

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