What Disciples Do - Issue #121
What Disciples Do.
For the past ten years, the seventh and eighth graders at Bellbrook United Methodist Church in Bellbrook, Ohio, have used a Covenant Discipleship process during confirmation. This model is designed to help youth make a commitment to living as Christians, as well as claiming Christian beliefs as their own.
The Rev. Terry Heck, pastor of Bellbrook UMC, helps each confirmation class develop a covenant around worship, devotion, compassion, and justice. At the first session, she provides concrete examples of how the young people can uphold the covenant during the week. For example, she suggests that confirmands read the Bible at least three times each week, participate in worship, recycle, and speak up for people who are in trouble. The seventh and eighth graders can revise the covenant if desired. In the rest of the sessions, the group begins by reviewing the covenant and sharing how they have upheld it in the past week.
The Rev. Heck holds confirmation class on Sunday mornings for eight weeks. Each class lasts about 45 minutes. Confirmation is offered at various times of the year, depending on the participants' schedules. The Rev. Heck uses United Methodist confirmation materials during the sessions, but the bulk of the sessions involve conversation about how the group is learning to practice their faith.
In addition to weekly classes, the confirmands participate in excursions related to justice, education, and mission. During their confirmation experience, the young people write their own statement of faith, which is shared with the congregation on the Sunday they are confirmed.
Some Questions for Discussion
- What does your congregation emphasize during its confirmation classes?
- How are you helping people of all ages learn about spiritual disciplines and practice those disciplines in an accountable way?
- How do you encourage and support youth as they seek to live out their faith in daily life?