Note: I asked our youth to write down any questions that they had about faith, the church, or life in general. This is a part of that series.
To make sure that we get started on the same page, let’s begin by talking about what Confirmation is, and then we can talk more about when it happens. If your parents were a part of the church when you were born, the chances are good that you were baptized when you were a baby. But just because you were baptized, doesn’t mean that you became a full member of the church, and obviously, you didn’t know anything about what it means to be a Christian. Confirmation is a time when we can talk about the church, what it means to believe in Jesus, what it means to be a Christian, and also spend some time talking about the beliefs, structure and organization of the United Methodist Church. Afterward, comes a time when you can choose for yourself whether or not you want to be a follower of Jesus Christ, be baptized and join the church.
Typically, confirmation classes are held whenever we have young people (or their parents) who are interested in having them. This can happen whenever they are old enough to understand and mature enough to decide for themselves whether or not they want to become a Christian, be baptized, and join the church. If you weren’t baptized as an infant, that’s okay, you can still take the classes. Honestly, not everyone takes the time to do it when they are in junior high so sometimes high school kids take confirmation classes too. But sometimes older youth are too embarrassed to take a class with a bunch of little kids, or maybe their church didn’t have a class because there weren’t enough kids to do it. In either case, most churches occasionally offer “new member” classes that cover a lot of the same stuff. We had a class like that last year at Trinity and we had people from high school age as well as people in their eighties and everything in between.
I always want to make sure that everyone understands that taking a class, whether that is a confirmation class or a new member class, doesn’t mean that you have to join the church, or be baptized, or anything else. Taking the class is simply a chance to learn what being a Christian is all about, learn how our church works, and ask whatever questions you have, along with other people who are asking some of the same questions. After the class is over, you can be baptized (if you haven’t been already), you can join the church, or you can do neither one. It’s always up to you to decide. You should never join the church or be baptized just because your parents or somebody else said that you should. Naturally, we hope that you will, but it’s always up to you.