April 2, 2012

Pastor Will Not Offer Confirmation

Had a disturbing conversation this morning. It seems that the pastor of my friend's church has decided not to hold confirmation class for the children of this church. I was beyond shocked. Here's the background. The church is a small-membership church and has about 8 children in all. Of these, however, 5-6 are confirmation age--6th grade and up. While the pastor has promised to offer confirmation, he has not done so and has made no effort to see that these children receive instruction for church membership, despite being specifically asked.

I don't know about you, but to me this should be a chargeable offense for clergy. Statistics tell us that if children are not confirmed, the chance of them ever becoming active church members is great diminished. In other words, this pastor is actually pushing these children away from the church.

Not only that, but this little church really wants to grow in ministry and in numbers. It wants to pay 100% of its apportionment's--and does. It wants to be a station church again, but none of these things will ever happen if the pastor and leadership don't act.

There is just so much more that good preaching that goes into being a pastor. Care for the congregation--visiting, equipping, educating--also play a major role. We wonder why small churches struggle. Could this a reason? Where is the DS? How does the bishops' Call to Action address this?



  1. Good questions! Is this pastor really a Methodist or from another denomination? I agree with your reasons for having confirmation. Many small churches still think that "being saved" has to come from a revival when confirmation can be just as meaningful, heartfelt, and life changing if carefully taught. Not all enlightening moments are on the mountaintop.

  2. Who says the pastor is the only one who can teach a confirmation class? Cokesbury offers material that would help outline what can be shared. The confirmation class helps form the basis for life long friendship in the church. Since the minister will probably be leaving soon, perhaps it is best a lay person from the church assume the privlege of working with the youth.

    1. Yes, agreed and there is a layperson who can had agreed to teach. But several of the kids would have to be baptized and the pastor is unwilling to do meet with those families as well.

  3. That's a whole different matter....is there an explanation why the pastor is unwilling? This seems like a matter to be brought before the Staff-Parish Committee. Frankly, if I were a parent and I had heard the pastor was unwilling to meet with me about baptism, I'd be looking for another church.

  4. The Oklahoma AC has instructed every pastor and church to hold a confirmation class every year, regardless of the number of children. They have also instructed every church to hold an adult "confirmation" class regardless of number of participants. The adult class will work on advancing discipleship. Seems to me this pastor needs a little motivation from the SPRC or DS.