Why You Should Remove Requirements From Confirmation

No one ever walks into a Confirmation preparation informational meeting thinking, “I’m really looking forward to knowing what’s required of me?” They are wondering, “What do I HAVE TO DO to get through this?”

Requirements are a part of sacramental prep that most of us abhor, but they are necessary because they demand a certain expectation. Unfortunately, those expectations are given with little to no explanation. We rely too heavily on YOU HAVE TO DO THIS when we should be saying:


In Rebuilding Confirmation I talk about the importance of moving from YOU HAVE TO to YOU GET TO. Explain WHY behind they get to do this and it will create:


When you have buy-in it means you have more commitment and with more commitment comes more enthusiasm. And isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we want more enthusiastic and committed disciples of Jesus Christ?

So before you require anyone to do anything make sure you:


If you look at Confirmation preparation as a requirement then they are too. You need to examine why this sacrament means so much to you and why you are excited to share it with others.

If people sense that you don’t want to be there then they aren’t going to be thrilled about joining you. Confirmation is an opportunity to see and witness life change. If you can’t get on board with that then you are going to have a hard time convincing others to do the same.


The big question people ask when a requirement is thrown at them is, “Why does this matter?” And that’s because requirements demand sacrifice. Requirements demand that you give up time, resources and control.

If you want people to embrace the sacrifice you need to paint a bigger picture. You need to clearly show them what will happen as a result. You can do this by:

  • Sharing your own personal story of how following Christ has changed your life.
  • Pointing out other people who embraced the path and what happened to them.
  • Explaining the Biblical purpose and why Confirmation isn’t just another checklist item in our faith.

Talk to them about how what’s required isn’t a punishment, but an opportunity for something bigger and better.


If you want to build up commitment then you need to build up enthusiasm. There are people in the preparation, regardless of what you do, who are on board and excited.

Find the parents and teenagers who are excited about the process and fuel their enthusiasm further. Celebrate their experiences with those who might be on the fence. Their enthusiasm will be contagious.

As the enthusiasm grows so will people’s willingness to participate. They’ll see preparation as an opportunity to be a part of something people are excited about doing.



Change takes time and change also takes repetitious behavior. This can get frustrating and even feel self-defeating. To avoid losing hope make sure you are:

  • Surrounded by a core team to help you navigate and communicate the change.
  • Spending time in prayer and reflection.
  • Examining the way you are communicating and where changes in your approach need to be made.

You also need to trust the process. Don’t lose heart if you don’t see a change right away, with the right vision it will come.

Question:  How do you create more buy-in in your ministry?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • wayhip

    I’m with you 100%. For many, though, it’s a significant paradigm shift in how we do our catechesis. In many ways (and this is a generalization) we’ve put the cart before the horse. In respect to service requirements, Ximena DeBroeck said we’ve treated requirements as though they sanctify the young people to receive the sacrament, where in fact the sacrament sanctifies them to do the work. We’re shifting our parish way of thinking to the “Belong-Believe-Behave” discipleship model. Slow shift, but we’re confident it will lead to deeper engagement. Maybe the sacramental parallel would be Attract-Initiate-Embrace.

    • I agree it is such a huge paradigm shift and one that won’t happen over night. I like the idea of Attract – Initiate – Embrace. Those of us in faith formation need to make sure we promote that instead of making it complicated. Thanks for your thoughts.