A Snapshot of Today’s Confirmation Class
(Note: These are not necessarily considered best practices and could serve as a means to review what your current practices are and how you might “up your game.”)
- Control and standards are decentralized – Confirmation programs have very little overall denominational control or standards. In the Episcopal Church, some (very few) have diocesan guidelines. Each congregation offers confirmation preparation their “own way.”
- Programs are clergy-centered – Clergy members almost always directly supervise and participate in their congregation’s confirmation programs (97% of all programs). In 25% of all programs, clergy members lead with no other adult involvement. (Our note: Are safe church practices being followed?)
- Settings resemble a school classroom model – There are regularly scheduled classes (45 minutes – 2 hours) that follow a planned curriculum. It coincides with the school calendar (entire year/s, or just fall or spring semester). Programs with alternative approaches are outliers.
- Classes are discussion-based – 96% of programs use the methodology of small group discussion. These may follow a lecture, include Bible study, follow a multimedia presentation, be inquiry-led, or may revolve around a game or other hands-on learning.
- Programs are contextual – Programs are structured around the unique needs of individuals, congregations, communities, and / or students. Class meetings (day, time, program duration is based on the needs of students and families. Programs with the same number of classroom hours may look very different from one another.
- There’s no standard for the number of classroom hours – There is lots of variability due to each congregation’s contextual reality, the decentralized nature of confirmation ministry, and the necessity of a ministry leader to coordinate the program
- There’s no standard for out-of-classroom activity – Some programs have not extra requirements (not even worship attendance) while some require volunteering, retreat/camp attendance, homework, etc.
- There’s inconsistency on enforcement of requirements – For example, some programs have fairly strict standards and requirements to fulfill prior to the confirmation rite. The majority are much less strict or have fairly low standards.