I’m developing content for our confirmation class. Here’s a draft of the syllabus. Any opinions?
Confirmation Class Syllabus
Purpose of the Class: Students will learn the basic content of the Christian faith and our Methodist tradition, learn how to practice common Christian disciplines, and have an opportunity to make an informed commitment to Christ and the Church. Students will learn how to discern and take the next step in their relationship with Jesus.
Structure of the Class: Our work will take place primarily in three places:
- In dedicated meetings of the group where we will learn about the Bible, study the Catechism, develop basic skills in Christian disciplines, and talk about work done outside of class.
- Sunday morning in worship. We will not only attend worship, pay attention to what’s happening, and be involved, but we will also reflect on what happens. We’ll look for the work of God in our lives in that context.
- In conversations and study through the week. Students will read the Bible, and converse with parents and mentors.
- Bible: Each student should have a Bible of their own. As to which translation, the best thing is a translation they understand better than others.
- Handouts: These will be provided in class. They include reading material and worksheets.
- Hymnal: We will use hymnals onsite at church.
- Learn to read the Bible by reading the Gospel of John. There will be an observation & interaction form for each chapter. This is a great activity to do with parents or the family as a whole.
- Interviews with Church Members. Each student will have the opportunity to interview a few members of the church about their experience with Christ, the church, and their practice of the faith. Interview forms will be included in course materials, but students will profit by letting their conversations go beyond the suggested questions.
- Meetings with Mentors: Each student will have at least one mentor. One of the things the mentor will do is work with the students as they complete their worship observation reports.
- The Catechism: The Catechism of the Global Methodist Church will provide the main content of what we cover in class meetings. It is an overview of the basic doctrine and beliefs of the church. The Catechism is based on scripture and approached through the lenses of the Nicene Creed, the Articles of Religion, and the Confession of Faith.
The Role of Parents:
- Most of the confirmation students will not be able to make it to class or even to church if their parents do not bring them. Your commitment to facilitate their involvement is necessary.
- You are the most important influence on the life of your student. The way you practice your faith and live out your commitment to Christ and the Church will likely be the most powerful force attracting them to Christ and the Church.
- Encourage your student. Let them know that you’re praying for them to experience God through the process. Take time to pray with them as well. Let them become a part of your own prayer life so they can see what prayer looks like in the life of a believer.
- Offer to help them with their work, especially the Bible reading. Help them, but don’t do their work for them. As you read scripture together, let your student see you engaging with the text and taking it seriously for your own life.
- Look beyond your immediate family. If you have extended family in the church, draw them into your conversations. Let them bear part of the burden of witnessing what love for Jesus looks like. Partner also with friends in the church – other parents with students in the confirmation class might be a first choice.
- We don’t expect students to know or understand everything after this course. The pastor not only has over 35 years of ministry experience, but also a PhD in theology – and he’s still learning and seeking to grow in Christ. The students’ growth in knowledge, understanding, and skill will be real, but not exhaustive. Life in Christ is a huge adventure, and they’re just starting out.
- We’re praying for a powerful move of God in the lives of each person involved in the course. If all we do is have classes, do work, and then by means of a ritual in church have students’ names added to the membership roll, we will be falling short. Jesus called his disciples saying, “Come, follow me!” As disciples we seek to become apprentices of Jesus and his way of living.