Right now a lot of churches are celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation. It’s a season that is filled with joy and there is also a moment of relief that preparation is over, for now.
How you prepare disciples to receive the sacrament of Confirmation is never over. While you might not have active gatherings or classes it’s definitely good to analyze what you do. With that, you’ll see the need to make changes, but before you do make sure you:
SPEND TIME DISCERNING WHY CHANGE IS NECESSARY
Don’t make a change for change sake. Before you make any change discern the why. Are you feeling the push to change because:
Teens are not showing up at the church after the sacrament is over?
If that’s the case then you might need to look at your youth ministry and faith formation. But, maybe you need changes because:
People view it as a graduation or checklist item?
If that is what you are seeing the changes will need to be made in what you communicate. And then the changes could be due to the fact that:
What you teach is not engaging or interesting.
That’s when you need to look at the content and ask, “Why are we teaching what we are teaching?” Don’t make changes for change sake. Make sure you know why and what first.
RELY ON GOD
If there is a need for change it’s because God is calling you in that direction. If you want to make the right moves and get the right people involved spend time in prayer.
He’s not only going to provide you with the right steps but give you the confidence you need to make some hard decisions. The more you lean into Him the more blessed you’ll feel during the process.
KEEP THE END IN MIND
Not only do you need to know why change is necessary, but you need to know why preparation for the sacrament is important. To help you figure that out the answer the question, “What is the ideal outcome for someone that goes through the preparation?”
In other words, if someone fully engages in preparation what habits, characteristics and attitudes should they adopt? While you want to have the perfect outcome it will give you insight on:
- How to build your program.
- What resources to provide each candidate.
- How to train your volunteers.
Get a group of people together to discuss the ultimate outcome. Spend time talking about your own experience and what things helped you take that next step in your relationship with Christ.
BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM
You can’t create change on your own. If you are going to get parents, teenagers and the rest of the congregation on board you need people who are going to advocate and listen on your behalf.
If you are the only one talking about changing preparation for the sacrament people are going to question your motives. Having a team allows you to reach more people and build more buy-in.
Look for people who are relational and excellent communicators. Find people who connection to resources that will help you make the necessary changes. Not only will you feel more relief but you’ll be able to make those changes quicker.
CAREFULLY SET REALISTIC GOALS
Change can be daunting, especially when it comes to a paradigm shift like Confirmation preparation. You will have to communicate over and over again the change that is needed. If you don’t set goals creating this kind of change can get exhausting.
Sit down with your team and talk about the signs that things are moving in the right direction. Put dates on when you hope to see those changes and if it doesn’t happen look at why.
When you do hit a goal celebrate it with your team. Use these goals to help you move forward and stay focused on that ideal outcome.
If you know change is necessary to trust in God and what He surrounds you with. Change is a difficult journey but when you have faith that it’s where God is calling you the blessings are powerful.
Question: What are some of the changes you’d like to see in your Confirmation preparation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
For more on growing a stronger Confirmation preparation check out my latest book Rebuilding Confirmation (Ave Maria Press 2017): HERE