Monday, October 1, 2012

What Jr. Highers Teach Me About Faith

One of my duties as youth minister is to teach confirmation. I co-teach our first year class (6th graders mostly) along with our lay-minister. The thing that stinks about is is that all year I get attached to a class, and then I rarely see them the next year. I hear from the pastors how the 2nd year class is going, but I wish I could be in there with them and seeing how they grow.

At the end of the 2nd year confirmation class, they have to write an essay called "What my Faith in Jesus Means to Me." They read it the Friday before they get confirmed in front of their families, friends, the church elders, and other congregation members who wish to attend. It's a pretty cool night. Those little 6th graders who don't know which way they are going suddenly are teenagers (or almost teenagers), all dressed up, looking almost adult-like, sharing these deep and intense thoughts about God, faith, and life.

I get to read their rough drafts. I love it. What's cool is that a lot of times not even their parents have heard these before they read them in front of everyone. I get to have a sneak peek into their thoughts before everyone else.

What's even better - is that they teach me about faith.



Here are some of the lessons this group of Jr. High kids have taught me:

"My faith is what keeps me going when I want to quit, it's what keeps me alive in Jesus, without it I'm dead. It is a deep, sincere love for God and his ways, but most important, it's my believe in Jesus Christ, my savior who have his life so I could live." - 7th grade boy

"My faith in Jesus means that I don't have to be afraid of anything because he will be there with me every step of the way. If I'm having bad days or if I"m having good days Jesus will be right there with me." - 7th grade boy

"Trusting community around you is important. But having faith in Jesus is different. When people believe in him, there is a sense of protection. Jesus cares for us, whether he be in earth or heaven." - 7th grade girl

"I loved to see all of the Bible stories fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle." - 7th grade boy

"My faith makes me sure of what I cannot see." - 7th grade girl

"Being a Christian is all about the Lord - but it is also about you." - 7th grade boy

"Jesus didn't die for himself but for us. He forgives all sins no matter who the person or what the condition is,  through thick or thin. Just thinking about it strengthens my faith." - 7th grade boy

"God is my whole entire past, present, and future." - 8th grade girl

"Even though it is not easy I know that Jesus is with me and helping me, but when I do mess up I know that he forgives me." - 7th grade girl

"That is why I am so proud to know that with Jesus I have a savior, a friend, and someone that can help anyone, young or old, change the world." - 7th grade girl

"Me being a Christian is like putting peanut butter with jelly... it just goes together." - 7th grade boy

"Before I started confirmation last fall, I wasn't connected with Jesus at all. Now, after two years of confirmation, I can proudly say that my faith in Jesus means everything to me." - 7th grade girl

Huh... so maybe they were listening after all? ;)

7 comments:

  1. I like the peanut butter and jelly one lol. How cute!

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    1. Right? That was one of my favorites too!

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  2. What is confirmation love? Love seeing people young getting rooted in the faith of the gospel of Christ...!!!

    ♥CheChe

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    1. Sorry, I should have explained! I sometimes forget that not all denominations do confirmation. In the Lutheran church we typically baptize infants. Confirmation is usually for youth in jr. high (some do it earlier or later, depending on the family and person) and they take classes. In our church you have 2 years of classes. After the first year you receive your first communion, after your second year you get confirmed. Confirmation is basically learning about the faith, history, and making it your own. Then at the end you declare to the church that you believe (or "confirm") that you believe that the Holy Spirit entered into your heart at your baptism and you are in fact a Christian. It is also usually the moment when the church recognizes you as an adult in the congregation. Ideally it is about owning your faith and it's not just something that your parents made you do as a kid. It's truly taking those steps to say that "yes, this is the life God wants me to live and I'm going to do it."

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  3. Sounds a little like our Confirmation, only 7th-8th grade. Seventh graders just recite a "building block" on Confirmation Sunday, but eighth graders get confirmed and read their testimonies in front of the church on Confirmation Sunday. Last year (year before?) you could tell with at least one of the kids that parents had helped write their testimonies. Slightly disappointing, because they sounded not quite like themselves, but I guess it worked. Sometimes the testimonies make us laugh, and some of them make us cry. It's always interesting to see what kids say after two years of class!
    I started mine off apologizing if I went long, because I liked writing. LOL.
    One of my favorites was my best friend's in ninth grade. She started Confirmation a year later than the rest of us, so she went 8th-9th grade, and she tied in I think Prom (her boyfriend was a couple of years older) that had been that weekend and was wearing her dress and everything. It was pretty memorable. :)

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    1. It's really fun (I guess as a church-worker nerd) to compare different churches confirmation traditions. At the church I grew up at I had my "confirmation class" during school because it was a Lutheran elementary school and got confirmed in 8th grade. I kinda like doing it earlier or later than that though because then it's not tied in with 8th grade graduation.

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  4. Very cool posting! Thank you for sharing the thoughts of your Jr. High kids.

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