In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
These words of Jesus are often referred to as the Great Commission but include two distinct, albeit, connected commands. The first is to baptize. As Lutherans we believe baptism to be God’s gift of salvation for all people regardless of age and intellectual acuity. We joyfully and faithfully baptize all people from infant to adult trusting in the promise of God Word through the means of grace. The second command is to teach. Here again, as Lutheran’s we believe that baptism and teaching are to go hand in hand. This is especially true as it relates to the faith journey of children begun at baptism. As they grow and mature it is the job of both parents and the church to help them grow in their faith and learn to treasure the gifts which God gave to them in their baptism. Catechesis, or confirmation, has long played a key roll in fulfilling the command “to teach.”
At King of Glory we view the years of confirmation as a partnership between parents and the church. We hold firmly to the belief that parents are the key faith teachers in their children lives as they live, discuss and model a lifestyle consistent with what it means to be a disciples of Jesus Christ. While confirmation does involve the teaching of church doctrine it’s primary focus is not simply the dissemination of information. Our goal is always discipleship and the formation of the heart. Knowledge is important but translating that knowledge and applying to everyday life circumstances is best done around the dinner table or in the everyday conversations that happen between parents and children.
For a typical student, the first step towards confirmation happens in 5th grade with an opportunity for early communion. During the season of Lent of their 5th grade year a Lord’s Supper class is offered in which the student and one parent attend 3-4 evening classes focusing exclusively on Holy Communion. After successful completion of the class, first communion is celebrated on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week.
Actual confirmation classes are held on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8pm typically beginning the Wednesday after Labor Day and concluding with Easter. Classes are not held during Advent and Lent, rather, in their place students will help out with the midweek services performing such activities as readers, ushers and acolytes. The curriculum is a 3 year rolling cycle which allows for all students in 6th – 8th grade to meet as a single class. Over the course of three years every student will have covered all the necessary information to be confirmed. Confirmation Sunday takes place each year on Reformation Sunday of the students freshman year of high school. For those students coming to King of Glory from other churches or confirmation programs, discussion with the pastor will determine the best course of action to keep them on track towards confirmation.