The Growth and Christian Ed board has been engaged in some deep discussions about Confirmation, especially around the topics of the role and scope of the program. In other words, ‘why’ we do a program of Confirmation and ‘what’ it should cover. It’s also important that we consider ‘when’ we as a community expect our folks to engage in this course of study. Our answer to that for many years has been, with a few exceptions, in 8th Grade, which makes it similar to the rites of passage of other faiths, including Judaism and Islam.
While there is merit in observing and recognizing our young peoples’ growing sense of self-determination and the commensurate responsibilities for various aspects of their lives (including their faith journeys), it is also clear that Eighth Graders are far from being wholly mature, independent thinkers. Brain research has proven what insurance companies have long suspected: our brains don’t fully mature until we’re around 25 years old, which is why most companies won’t rent you a car until you’re that old.
This isn’t to say that we’re planning to delay Confirmation until a person reaches the age of 25, but more to ask you when was the last time you engaged in a course of structured learning about the basic tenets of the Christian faith? For many, if not most, of our folks in worship it was in Confirmation Class. If that’s the case for you, let me pose this question to you: In what other areas of your life would you be satisfied with an Eighth-Grade level of education? Probably not many. I’ve been hearing about increasing interest and desire for an ‘Adult Confirmation Class’ for people who would like to delve deeper into their faith journeys, so I’m planning to try an experiment and I invite your participation.
Beginning on Wednesday, October 30th, I’m going to start a new program of Adult Education based on Martin Copenhaver’s To Begin at the Beginning: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Because few of us these days are willing or able to make any more long-standing commitments, I plan to break these offerings into manageable chunks. The class will be just 90 minutes (6:30-8:00pm) for four Wednesday nights and will cover the first unit of the book: The God We Worship and Serve.
Here’s an excerpt from the book’s introduction: “Let me describe the kind of person for whom this book is intended. I assume that you are someone who is looking for a basic introduction to Christian faith and practice. As a child, you may have gone through all the levels of church school and even collected a few perfect-attendance awards along the way, but at this point in your life you want to start from the beginning and get a background in the basics. You now want to explore what you may have learned once. The material may be the same, but you are different now.”
If this sounds interesting to you, and I hope it does, mark the Wednesdays from October 30th through November 20th on your calendar now. A Signup Genius will be going out soon with details about registration.