First Light UMC confirmation experience

Proposed and reported by Nancy Pauls,
First Light UMC, Gardner, Kansas

Project Summary

Did the project go as expected?
The confirmation experience went beyond what I expected. We were able to do so much experiential learning with the group because of the grant. Art, field trips, a retreat, new prayer practices each week, mission work, games, United Methodist faith study, and a meal together.  All of the parents/guardians participated as I ask of them, which also was above my expectations. Also, with the grant, I was able to give tokens of appreciation to the adult mentors for the student.

How were people impacted through the project?
The students learned so much about the life of faith and the United Methodist way.  This is evidenced by the original creed that they wrote together on the confirmation retreat, in which there was no adult input:
Confirmation Creed 2018
I believe God is amazing, surely alive with us, and loves us no matter what.
I believe Jesus is my savior. He died on the cross and is alive again. He forgives our sins, the bad things we all have done wrong. He helps us love others and shows us there is life after death.
I believe the Holy Spirit is real and is God and Jesus who is within us and in all creation.
I believe the Bible is inspired by God and helps people know right from wrong.
I believe the church is created by God and made of people who pray for the world and help each other.  Amen
The adult mentors were impacted by deepening their faith as they guided the students. As they worked with the students, I held mentoring conversations with them, reflecting upon how their work as mentors might relate to a call to ministry.
During Lent, adults were invited to take part in a class based upon the Apostles Creed, paralleling much of what the students learned in confirmation.  An adult profession of faith and Baptism resulted from this class as well as a couple joining the church and having their baby baptized there.

Which of the 5 earmarks of Culture of Call did this project address?  How?
Discernment took place in the form of reflection upon faith lessons, conversations with mentors and reflection upon confirmation experiential events.
Personal exploration between youth and adults was carried out through guided conversations designed to explore the gifts, passions, Wesleyan means of grace, Bible study, prayer, worship, sharing one’s faith, retreat and interfaith opportunities.
Intergenerational mentoring was built into the confirmation experience through guided lessons, discussion prayer and accountability.  These activities unified youth and adults, and strengthened the culture of call in our church.
Community expression took place through a specifically crafted sermon series reflecting the weekly confirmation lessons, confirmation worship service, two mission events, weekly food and fellowship, retreat and faith sharing.

What could you share about this project with others?
I would share what a blessing it is that the conference provides Culture of Call grants for which we could apply. Our church had no money set aside for confirmation, nor did the budget have any flexibility or reserves. I imagine other churches in the conference find themselves in the same boat. The grant provided everything we needed to have an amazing confirmation experience that the students will remember their whole lives including professions of faith by all of the students and two baptisms.

Final Report Survey

Which of the 5 Culture of Call earmarks did you project include?
Personal exploration
Community expression of supporting individual calls

How did you use the funds?
We used the funds to create an awesome confirmation experience for the youth in the church.

Will the project that you undertook be continued?  How?
No, the church closed.

How did this project cultivate a culture of call in your church or district?
Primarily, providing the youth with a theologically sound, fun, experiential, Wesleyan semester of formation, Christian education, and fellowship, resulting in professions of faith and baptisms.  Secondarily, the church heard confirmation updates from the pulpit. Not just what we were doing, but what we were learning and experiencing and why.  During Lent, there was an Adult class based on the tenets of the Apostles Creed, so that they learned the same basic Christian principals that the students were learning.  This class also resulted in 3 adult professions of faith an adult baptism, and a baby baptism.  Throughout the semester we talked about the ways and different areas of ministry in which God calls us to. 

Who was the primary audience of your project?

Is there anything else you would like for us to know about your project?
Youth and Pastor  from Springhill UMC joined us for this confirmation experience, thus the grant helped with the Culture of Call for two churches.

You can contact Nancy via e-mail: