Confirmation preparation isn’t always a process people want to embrace. While it’s an important part of the Catholic (and other denominations) faith formation it’s often filled with consumeristic demands and requirements that can make it a logistical nightmare for both parents, teens and parish employees.
The solution? Is to change your perspective as the leader. Instead of hesitating and going into the program reluctantly you need to embrace it and make sure you aren’t just going through the motions. To build a dynamic Confirmation preparation it’s not just about the content, it’s also about:
HAVING A VISION THAT EXPLAINS THE WHY
You need to know WHY Confirmation is important. Yes, it’s a sacrament, but why does that matter to the next generation? Just like anything you are doing in your parish Confirmation Preparation needs to have a compelling vision.
To answer the question of WHY you need to spend time looking at what it means to be a disciple. Help the next generation (and their parents) see how this is a choice that leads to a better life. When they have the WHY then you’ll see a stronger commitment from participants.
RECRUITING RELATIONSHIP FOCUSED ADULTS
The reason teenagers connect to sports, and clubs at school is because of the relationships they form with the individuals involved. The relationships they form with the adults can sometimes be more powerful than the ones they form with their peers.
While you want adults who are competent in their faith you also want to make sure they love the next generation for who they are. Build a team of adults who:
- Listen despite the drama.
- Love even if it leads to disappointment.
- Challenge because they see the potential in the next generation.
- Patient with results.
When teens see that the adults are for them they’ll build trust. When trust is formed so is the willingness to grow.
ELIMINATING THE HOOPS AND CLARIFYING EXPECTATIONS
It’s easy to create requirements and rules for a program. It allows us to track and measure; however, it can also create an unfair burden for our teens. Instead of creating rules express your expectations.
Let teenagers know what you expect of them. If those expectations aren’t being met make sure you share with them your disappointment or concern. If you emphasize expectations over requirements teenagers will begin to see that they get to do this and it’s an opportunity worth taking.
ALLOWING TIME FOR REFLECTION AND REVIEW
Through the process you want to make sure teenagers are given the opportunity to process where they are and what they’ve accomplished. We do this through a essay when they apply and a letter when they are wrapping up the process.
This gives them perspective of the journey they have taken and allows us to know the impact we’ve had. Encourage teens to record their journey and it will increase their awareness to what God is doing.
Confirmation preparation should not be a burden for you and it should not be a burden for your next generation. Create a program where the WHY is clear and remind the teenagers they GET TO DO THIS.
Question: What are you doing to battle the consumeristic or check list mentality of sacramental preparation in your church? You can leave a comment by clicking here.