A blog post by Carole Joyce
What is on your top ten list of things to cover in confirmation? Go ahead and make that list: God’s grace, baptismal identity, relationships, discipleship, Bible, prayer…
November’s theme for the First Third reflection is stewardship, so be honest; did stewardship make your list?
As Jonathan Davis concluded his blog post: “Don’t talk to me about stewardship as if it is this thing that I do. Talk to me about how I am a steward. How it is about who I am, and who God calls me to be.” The heart of ministry with youth is helping them explore who they are and who God calls them to be. So whether or not stewardship shows up on the top ten list, it undergirds what we do as confirmation leaders and mentors.
What might it look like to raise stewards? Here are some things we are trying in my congregation.
God lovingly created each student. “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully & wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works that I know very well.” (Psalm 139:13)
We gave our students a multiple intelligence quiz to find out their areas of strength — music, logic, words, nature, people, picture, or self. Each is a kind of intelligence, but unfortunately in our culture some are recognized more than others. I asked the students if they had been put down or called “dumb” recently. Every single student raised their hand. It happens every single day — multiple times. The first step in raising stewards: know you are loved by God, exactly as you are.
Explore Students’ Sparks
Young people need to discover their unique call to serve. “Let your light so shine before others…” (Matthew 5:16)
Peter Benson describes Sparks as those passions, talents, and dreams which come from within. When nurtured, they inspire youth to make a difference in the world. Students light up when they talk about their passions. We made a simple and silly video of the kids naming their sparks. The second step in raising stewards: recognize the gifts you have to share.
Bring Families Together
Life is all about relationships. Youth need a team of caring adults to nurture and champion their life as stewards. Meanwhile, adults need the exuberant, idealistic creativity of youth.
In my context, if you call it confirmation they will come. So we invited parents to join the students and mentors for confirmation. Together we did the following:
- shared strengths and passions
- watched the students’ sparks video
- affirmed each other with blessing rocks
- committed to serving together by completing time and talent forms
- blessed each other at the baptismal font
The third step in raising stewards: build community to support and nurture.
Trust Youth to Make an Impact
Cheryl asked if she could give each confirmation student an envelope with $5.00. Like the story of the talents in Matthew 25:14, she wants them to use the money to touch someone’s life. Cheryl’s son was a police officer killed in the line of duty. Shawn lived a life of love and service for others — a faithful steward. Now Cheryl is helping to raise more stewards. I can’t wait to see what the youth do with their gifts! The final step: create opportunities for youth to use their gifts.
I may never add stewardship to my top 10 list for Confirmation. But I look forward to raising stewards — watching what the Holy Spirit does in and through these unique and wonderfully created young people.
Carole Joyce is crazy about kids and chocolate. She is blessed to combine her two passions, telling about God’s amazing love and working with people of all ages (especially children, youth, and families). In her free time, you’ll find her running, reading, quilting, or eating chocolate.
Post first published on FirstThird.org on Nov. 13, 2013.