This past Sunday our parish began a new 8th grade Confirmation Program.  Our goal was to get our students out of the traditional classroom model of religious education and find a way to more fully engage them as well as involve the whole parish (public school and Catholic school students).  We want to foster a Confirmation program that is bringing all or our Confirmation candidates together in an environment that engages them and inspires them in their Catholic Faith. 

Here’s what we did on our first night:

We gathered 200 kids in our Gym for a few icebreakers which they seemed to really enjoy.  Then we moved into our youth room where we did a random skit.  We kept the kids laughing at the beginning of this night.  We really wanted to set the mood for this year and start things off right.  Then we introduced our theme for the night: “Come Follow Me”.  Jesus Christ is at the heart of our ministry to these young teens and we don’t just want to teach them about Jesus but we desire to lead them closer to Jesus and in a relationship with Him.  We showed video clips from 4 different movies that focused on making a decision to go forward, to do something that was challenging but significant.  After each video clip a 30 second to one minute commentary was given.  We wrapped this part up by reading from Matthew 4 where Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be fishers of Men. 

Next we had students gather in small groups (they will be in these small groups all year) and take some time to get to know one another as well as have the catechist/small group leader shared how they have followed Jesus in their lives and what difference that has made in it. 

We concluded the night by gathering back in the youth room and challenging them to follow Jesus and walk in His footsteps.  We had them put a sticker on the bottom of their shoes that said: Come Follow Me.  

It was a great night!  We are very excited about our new format which we hope really draws these students closer to Christ in a way that they will enjoy.  May the Holy Spirit continue to lead and guide us. 

What are you doing in your ministry to engage students?