Are you as Smart as a Confirmand?
Preparing for the confirmation questioning, I was reminded of the game show that went off the air in 2015 “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” On April 2, the Elders met with the confirmation class for this year and quizzed then on what they know. Pastor Bill teaches this material year after year and is well versed in the material. For the rest of us, including some of the confirmation class, we may not know the material as well as we once did. Fortunately for us we had a printed list of questions and answers.
Some of the questions we asked come from Luther’s small catechism. If you look at each section of the catechism it starts with “As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.” The Elders and the Pastor are there to assist the family and their students learn the faith.
My copy of the catechism contains over 300 questions. I have been at churches where we ask the students these questions during the worship service, all 300, and hold each student accountable to answer from the text. At Good Shepherd we ask the questions for general spiritual understanding in a public forum with the Elders and teachers for the class along with their parents. Each student is expected to know all of the answers.
In reflecting and getting ready for the questioning, I found myself not being able to respond as the text would have me respond for each question I am looking at. Okay, I know the “answers,” just not the memorized answer from the text anymore. In the same way, when the students have memorized the text of the catechism and explained the meaning, we can be assured that the students understand what they are saying.
As we think back to our own education on what it means to be a Lutheran Christian, I am convinced that memorization is important to cement the knowledge for the questioning. And, the lifelong practice of being in the church and coming regularly to worship is what brings that head knowledge to our heart. Many times after confirmation is complete our young people (no different from my confirmation in 1973) fall away and do not have the opportunity to put into practice what they memorized or have learned.
My prayer for this confirmation class is that beyond the memorization and the sermonettes, God will touch their hearts and they will become active participants in the life of this church. I am looking forward to the confirmation service on May 7. See you there.
Glen Leavens, Head Elder