Confirmation: An Escape
This past weekend (Sunday through Tuesday, actually) our Senior Pastor and I took 5 teens on a Confirmation Retreat. Confirmation, for those not familiar with many mainline church theological practices, is an opportunity for students to learn the basics of their faith, the basics of church membership, and they are given the opportunity to join the church as full members once they have completed their confirmation course. In the past we have run Confirmation as a Sunday School class, and I did not feel that students were getting everything they could out of it. Partly because more than half of them missed half the classes.
This year, as I said, we took the teens to a cabin in Rothrock State Forest. This was great on several levels. For starters, none of us had any cell service out there. There was no way they could be distracted by an intrusion from home (friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.) texting them in the middle of a session. It also allowed us to surround ourselves with a classroom setting unlike any they see anywhere else. We taught about baptism while standing in a lake. We explored the concept of our church’s heritage while on a 3-mile hike on a trail that has a heritage of its own. We discussed Spiritual Gifts and sparking their involvement in the church while sitting around a campfire.
In short, the weekend seems to have been a success. Our students interacted with the material, they encountered God in His Creation, and they all seem genuinely excited to become contributing members of our local church. Really, what more could I ask for out of this retreat?
BONUS: Check out some pictures from the retreat here.