I’m a big believer in Confirmation. Theologically, it is vital to any denomination that embraces Infant Baptism, and I certainly do. Practically, it is a time when youth and their parents can really begin to take hold of the concepts of discipleship.
That’s why I met with my new church’s most recent batch of confirmands today. I missed out on the biggest class the church has ever seen by a few weeks, so I felt it a priority to get with them and find out what they had learned and how I can be the best pastor they can get.
The topics ranged from “practices of discipleship” to “favorite games on the confirmation retreat.” Spinbat is the top vote-getter, hands down.
But what really surprised me was the answers I got to the following question:
What would you choose if I asked you to pick something to do that would deepen your discipleship?
It boiled down to this: The guys are going to invent, design, and implement a game for kids, youth, and adults. They plan to charge a nominal fee and donate all proceeds to RIFA. Wow. I was flabbergasted. One minute, we’re talking about spinning in circles with your forehead on a bat, and the next, we’re feeding hungry folks here in the Jackson area — and inventing new recreational activities at the same time.
The girls, never ones to be left out, decided that the church might benefit from a bookstore. Like a Christian bookstore, here in the building. There would be a markup, and the “profit” would be divided equally between reinvestment in the store (more books and things) and the rest donated to the Heifer Project.
What can we learn from this Conversation with the Confirmed? Here’s what I got out of it; some new, some reminders.
1) Kids are smart. They will rise to nearly every challenge you toss in front of them. Provide the resources and accountability, and there’s nothing they can’t do.
2) Kids naturally divide themselves into teams. And we didn’t even have to do the one-potato-two-potato thing.
3) Experience is not required to be a good disciple now. Gotta start somewhere. And these kids are ready.
4) You don’t have to know everything to ‘start being a disciple.’ Otherwise, most of us would still be in the starter’s blocks as well as all the brand-new disciples.
5) Confirmed kids are ready to be disciples NOW. Waiting until kids are 18 to let them lead is a bad idea. Making one of them the Finance Chair at the ripe old age of 13 is probably also bad (though I can’t be sure since I’ve never done it). But if you keep it real and keep them honest, teens can show us adults a thing or two about serving Christ in our daily lives.
What other stories of Youth in Action do you know? How can we turn teens loose to be Kingdom Building Disciples TODAY?
- 5 Keys to Biblical Leadership, Key 3: Go, Make Disciples (mattclyde.com)
- Church as Spectator Sport, or, How to State Old Obvious News as if it’s Newsworthy (theparish.typepad.com)
- “How Does This Help Us Make Disciples?” (ijoey.org)
- John Meunier: Coming to terms with discipleship (methoblog.com)
- Coming to terms with discipleship (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
Author Bio: Joey Reed
Joey is an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church serving at Grace UMC. He is still figuring it all out with the help of his wife Laurinda and children Jack and Rebecca. They live in Jackson, Tennessee and enjoy a nice popsicle from time to time.