The way confirmation should be

Confirmation 2014

As is the case every year in my congregation, Confirmation Sunday was also Reformation Sunday (the day we remember and honor Martin Luther and the beginning of the Protestant reformation). To commemorate this special occasion, Reformation Sunday typically includes a brass choir.

I always appreciate the brass choir. This year, one of the things that I most appreciated about it was that it included one of my ninth graders.

This young teen is a talented musician who willingly used his gifts to honor and serve God throughout all of our worship services. He did so alongside much older adults, never once doubting his place in leading worship that morning.

An hour after he finished playing the final worship service of the morning, this teen returned to church to be confirmed.

During his confirmation, this teen affirmed for himself the promises his parents made at his baptism. Among other things, he promised to continue to live among God's faithful people and to serve, following the example of Christ.

To me, these promises - when taken seriously – beautifully and concretely illustrate what it means to follow Jesus.

The problem is so often teens (and adults!) don't take them seriously.

Perhaps that's why on this particular confirmation morning, I was so struck by the example of our young trumpet player.

He tangibly lived out these promises – even before he made them.

Maybe that's the way confirmation should be: Not a reflection of some extraordinary thing we're asking teens to do after but instead, a reflection of a lifestyle of faithfulness they've already begun to cultivate in their daily lives.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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