Friday, September 24, 2010

Clay Pots - adult confirmation


Image by Kirsten Malcom Berry - the Greek quotes 2 Corinthians.

A dream of mine, to lead an adult confirmation class, is coming true here at Prince of Peace.

Add the doom and gloom about our ELCA denominational numbers to the growth of evangelical churches and momma church basically knows something is wrong in how we form people in faith.

We can't count on the traditional Lutheran pipeline (baptism, Sunday School, confirmation at age 13, become a full member of the church for the rest of your life) for forming our people anymore. We probably never could. In our congregation, people come from a variety of religious backgrounds hungry to develop a relationship with God and other people of faith. One of our responses is to offer an adult confirmation program: Clay Pots.

Last night we had the 2nd session of "Clay Pots." We took the name from 2 Corinthians "for we have this treasure (knowledge of God) in clay pots." (some translations use the word "jars") It's no coincidence that I also liked the name because of its reference to pottery.

14 people are in the class. We're a mix of originally Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, and new to faith altogether. 2 people aren't members of the church. I love that.

I rooted around to find curriculum and help, but only found a couple of churches/highly talented people to help. (Rev. Jessicah Krey Duckworth at Wesley Seminary put us on to the trail of some good churches. She's amazing. Phinney Ridge Lutheran in Seattle and Village Church in Milwaukee WI also shared what they've done).

Basically, I've taken their information and crafted something I thought would work for us.

We'll have a total of 15 1.5 hr sessions plus a weekend retreat between now and the Easter Vigil, when the confirmation will take place.

Now through Advent our focus is Covenant. Christmas and Epiphany we'll focus on Christ. And during Lent we'll focus on Church. Our main texts are the Bible, the Lutheran Handbook (which, I must say is a frustrating resource. Such a good idea, but so cheesy and Minnesotan that it is culturally irrelevant to new Lutherans - but it's the best thing out there and has the Small Catechism in it) and two great little books by a man named Dan Erlander: Manna and Mercy and Water Washed and Spirit Born.

We've had two sessions and have focused mainly on the covenants God made with Abraham and Sarah and with Moses and the Israelites. Covenant sets the stage for understanding baptism, our relationship with God, Jesus as the new covenant. Seemed like a good place to start.

We're in the process of getting our session outlines on the church website so if other churches are interested in doing something similar, they can use as they'd like.

I'm convinced that this kind of opportunity is essential to growing faith - which in turn is essential in growing our churches. We're not doing this in order to grow the church, but to grow in faith. That's important. But I admit I'm excited that we already have 2 people, new to the church, interested in next year's class.

peace all -

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