Do you have Confirmation in the 8th grade? Do the students in your program want to attend class each week or do you see that they are less than excited? Last year we began a new program that we entitled S&L (Spirit & Life). We promoted it as a Confirmation experience for all 8th graders – both our School of Religion students and our Catholic School students.
Here what we did: Our School of Religion/Religious Ed. office have teamed up with the youth ministers to create an out of the classroom experience. It is more of a group gathering model. We knew if we could help teens grow in their faith in a way that was not the traditional classroom model we would have a better chance of engaging them in their faith and fostering in them a desire to stay involved long after the 8th grade year.
Our Format on a given Sunday goes more or less like this:
~ Gather in the Gym where many adult mentors are around greeting them, talking with them and playing basketball, frisbee, & hacky sack.
~ We begin usually with an icebreaker/activity.
~ We move into the Youth Room and either show a video, have some kind of skit/role-play and intro to the topic of the night.
~ Usually one of our youth ministers shares something about the topic and gives some thoughts about it.
~ Then we break everyone up into small groups to explore further the topic of the night.
~ Finally, we gather in the Youth Room to de-brief and encourage them to live their faith. We often have something that we give them to remind them of the night – a bookmark, a sticker that they put on their shoe (I will follow Christ), etc…
The feedback we received last year and so far this year is very positive. Almost all the students prefer this format to the classroom model. This year we asked all the parents and students to attend on the first night where we gave everyone a glimpse of what we do and what our vision was. That too was well received and really helped give parents an insight to it all.
What are you doing in your program that is helping your Confirmation candidates want to stay involved even after Confirmation?