It took me a long time before I realized the Confirmation process, at least in my experience, was such a sham! Every year mothers dragged their 8th graders into the Confirmation class, kicking and screaming. Then, I, as the priest would speak to them about the Church, God, the Bible – stuff of which they had no interest.
When young people feel seen and heard, their faith readiness becomes apparent. Valued, confirmands become engaged in authentic community where deep examination of belief and practice matter. Such a dynamic climate sustains a confirmation program, strengthens the host congregation, and retains youth after they are confirmed. The data shows that teenagers are already motivated to participate.
Youth confirmation, or whatever we come to call a period of intentional adolescent discipleship, should be about the church equipping young people for lives of faithful purpose as followers of Jesus.