The Great Plains Conference hosted three confirmation rallies across Nebraska and Kansas this spring. Several of the groups that attended were comprised of nearly as many adults as students — many of these adults were serving as mentors to the confirmation students. At one of the rallies a group of senior adults walked into the church looking for the restrooms about an hour before the event was scheduled to begin. I thought they were there for another church function. I was pleased to learn they were there to participate in the rally along with their mentees. (Photo below was taken at the Lincoln, Neb., rally held at Nebraska Wesleyan University.)
I followed up with several of these churches to learn more about their use of confirmation mentors and what role the mentors had in the discipleship of young people in our churches. The role of the mentors varies slightly in each of the churches we talked to, but in all cases the mentors are expected to pray with and for their mentee, and to participate in some or all of the confirmation classes and activities.
The ministry leaders I talked with identified their confirmation mentors as mature adults with a strong faith in Christ who come alongside students as they are exploring what it means to be a Christ follower. In addition to meeting with mentees to discuss what they are learning in confirmation class, mentors often participate in confirmation class activities such as field trips and retreats. Many of these mentors take the time to attend extra curricular activities at their mentees’ schools. Several pastors and youth leaders talked about mentors who stayed connected to their mentees after the confirmation class was over — through serving with the church’s youth ministry, attending high school graduation parties and meeting with the students after they start college. One youth minister mentioned that some of the students in her church’s confirmation class began serving alongside their mentors in various church leadership roles.