Confirmation Manual of Grace Lutheran Church (Aug 2012 revision)
We use the Lutheran Catechesis Series published by the Concordia Catechetical Academy. This three-year curriculum begins with 32 Old Testament narratives, drawing on their connection to Christ, the Sacraments, and the liturgical life of the Church. The second year considers the age of the church through the book of acts and the life and ministry of Jesus with an emphasis on the cross and resurrection. The final year is an intensive study of the Catechism, again through the lens of the Biblical narratives.
The path of confirmation at Grace Lutheran Church is a three year catechesis program which should begin no later than fifth grade but which may begin at any earlier age based on the child’s maturity and the parents’ judgment. It is expected that the parents have already taught the chief parts of the Small Catechism to their children. Memorization during the busy academic year for middle school students is challenging both in regards to time and learning style. A great way to teach the catechism is to follow the weekly prayer guide available on the media table in the Narthex or online.
The rationale for our catechesis and confirmation program is simple. It is Bible-based, not only in content, but also in format. It recognizes the Biblical truth that passing down to our children the teachings of Scripture is most properly the parents’ task. The Church’s task is to support the parents. The following Bible passages are most appropriate here:
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” Deuteronomy 11:18-21
“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.” Psalms 78:4-6
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
From these passages it is clear that the religious education and training of each child rests with that child’s parents, particularly the father. The Church stands ready to assist parents in this great task, but would never presume to rob parents of either the responsibility or the joy of teaching their own children.
This confirmation program may be very different from what most parents remember about their own confirmation experiences, in that direct parental involvement is expected. It has been necessary to rethink confirmation instruction. The diversity of children (abilities, attitudes, and needs) has changed over the years. The attitude of many parents has also changed. We have gotten away from our Biblical roots, where the family was the real classroom for a child’s religious education. Some parents have given away the responsibility and the joy of teaching their children. In doing so, parents have lost the closeness that comes from spending time (especially spiritual time) with their children. Children don’t know the joy of learning from their parents, and parents don’t know the joy of learning for themselves as they prepare to teach their children. We believe that involving parents more fully points to a much better and more Biblical way. We hope and pray that you feel the same way too.