**Do you promise, according to the grace given to you, to keep God’s holy will and commandments and walk in the same all the days of your life as FAITHFUL MEMBERS of Christ’s Holy Church?**

Recognize the question? It’s the one we are going to ask Lizzie Garber and Brandon Strohbehn when they come before the congregation on Confirmation Sunday. Their answer of *yes* means that they are ready to join the church and to *be confirmed in the faith that leads to life eternal.* They will then kneel and hands will be laid upon them as they do join the Christian church and leads to their membership in our Gladbrook United Methodist Church.

Working with youth through Confirmation classes and preparing for their Sunday leaves me with thoughts and emotions that are hard to describe. It’s a joyful day because these youth have demonstrated commitment and a desire to grow in their personal faith. But I feel like I am only beginning to know them and their own special story. Brandon is so quiet in class, but he has a great sense of humor. And there is usually a message behind Lizzie’s dancing eyes that I am curious to discover. All of us have appreciated the other youth, mentors and sometimes parents who have been sitting in with the class too. I sometimes feel they are the best teachers and leaders.

When Confirmation Class began in the fall we had a basic outline of topics, experiences and activities in which we would engage. We watched a few movies too. I hope the class can still remember a few parallels we found between THE LION KING and the life of Christ. Simba led an adventurous life. Although we gleaned a few lessons from worshiping at the Jewish Temple in Des Moines, my hope is that the youth will keep on gleaning lessons from the experience and not be afraid to draw their own conclusions. We worked with the Old and New Testaments a little. We revisited mission and service a few times. I would like to think their hearts are warmer toward people (and critters) who lead lives very different from our own. However we barely touched on the birth and development of the United Methodist Church. So much content. So little time.

Just a few years ago a Confirmation student said something during a 12-hour retreat that made me think differently about how to approach Confirmation class. I do not remember the subject that we were discussing. But I said, “Why do you think your mentors and I were willing to organize this activity for you?” Without hesitation one of the girls replied back, ‘I know. It’s because you love all of us.” That quick response really touched my heart because it was true. And her response changed my planning of Confirmation. Because just like everything else that has to do with the church … and Jesus Christ… what is being offered is an invitation into a relationship. The most important thing is to spend time with the youth and to assure they know that they matter. Because Jesus is extending an invitation to them too. He wants all of us to know his love and to spend time together with him.

During class last Sunday one of the mentors spoke of the church and compared church membership to an extended family. With Christ at the head, that is exactly what we are. So, welcome to the fappy hamily, Lizzie and Brandon. All of us love you, and never forget that God loves you even more.

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