It Doesn’t End at Confirmation

    I thought I learned a lot in confirmation. Partly because I took two classes at once—one at my home church and one at the Lutheran school I attended—and partly because there is such a big ceremony at the end. They wouldn’t confirm us if we didn’t know all we needed to, right?

    It didn’t take me long to realize that I hadn’t really learned as much as I thought I had.

    I remember the day of my confirmation vividly. There weren’t very many of us in my class—only nine. Before the service, we all gathered at the front of the sanctuary to take the confirmation picture. One of my classmates turned to me and said excitedly, “We finally did it! We’re done!” My pastor, who happened to be walking by and heard this exclamation, turned to the young man. “No, you’re not. This is just the beginning. You are never done.”

    At the time, I laughed; maybe I thought my pastor was kidding or it just seemed like a funny moment. But the realization didn’t hit me until I was a little older. Confirmation doesn’t—and isn’t supposed to—end the day we become official members of the church. Not only should we keep learning about our faith, but we should use confirmation as a stepping stone to help others learn too.

    It starts at Baptism.

    In the last chapter of Matthew, Christ says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Some of us are only babies at the time, and others are old enough to remember our Baptism. The Small Catechism says that the church encourages the use of sponsors at Baptism to pray for the one being baptized and to help with children in their Christian upbringing. So, from the very beginning, we are supposed to help bring children up in the faith, helping them learn. By the time those children reach confirmation, they should have a basic understanding of the faith—from going to church on Sundays, attending Sunday School, and learning at home from parents or sponsors.

    Then at confirmation, we are given a slightly more in-depth study of the Bible. We go through the Small Catechism and hopefully memorize the Six Chief Parts and Bible verses. By the time we finish the one- or two-year study, many of us think, “I’m done.” Unfortunately, after my confirmation, five out of the nine confirmands in my class didn’t come back and attend our church regularly or at all. There is a growing mentality that after confirmation, we don’t have to come back to church—we’ve learned what we need to know. This isn’t the case! Confirmation is a tool to help us grow and learn more, but it’s impossible to know everything.

    Keep learning and growing. Don’t finish confirmation and then stop coming to church, attending Bible study or Sunday School, or reading the Bible at home. Crave the knowledge that the Bible holds; dive into God’s Word every day. We’re never done learning—we won’t ever be able to say, “I know it all.” We can’t—we’re imperfect—and that’s why we shouldn’t stop. We should use the knowledge that we do have in our lives, and help others know and understand it as well.

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