“The Path” is a six session confirmation series for youth and young adults prepared by Adrian ‘Age’ Greenwood, Youth Adults Discipleship Educator with the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
It’s available here for $25.
The strategy has three components – Mentoring, Education and Celebration. The Education stream consists of six sessions exploring the Gospel of Mark in relation to discipleship.
The sessions use a “Reflect, Think, Act” approach. “Reflect” uses quotes from famous Christians – Dorothy Day, Brian McLaren, Bonhoeffer, etc. Each week people are required to read a few chapters from Mark, and there’s a one page for each week’s readings that outlines “Interesting Ideas” in the chapters.
“Think” invites people to make connections between Mark’s Gospel and the issues of today, using the same questions each time:
What is your initial response to this section?
What stood out (key words, ideas etc)
Who is the hero or villain in this text? What is the plot?
What social, political, economic or cultural issues are touched on?
(Compare to issues of today)
“Act” askes the same two questions for each session: What is the challenge of the text? What are we challenged by and what will we do about it? Week 6 includes looking at Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds.
The Mentoring stream adapts four sessions from The Belonging Kit, the baptism and confirmation resource produced by the UCA in 1998. These focus on:
- Belonging to God’s People
- Believing in God
- Believing in Jesus
- Growth in the Spirit
The Celebration aspect is the confirmation service itself. No resources are provided for this apart from a song “The Path” by Jason Mann, a Melbourne musician who has written songs for the last couple of NCYCs.
The group sessions themselves have a fairly basic structure, so their success will rely on participants having read the assigned sections of Mark and having thought about the “Interesting Ideas”, which in themselves give the group leader something to work with. In fact, they cover a lot of territory, from basic biblical background (history, culture and customs) to theological questions (What is the unforgivable sin?) to contemporary application (Can you think of people or situations that are like soils?). The structure of the sessions really allows the group to focus on what they wish to from the texts, rather than trying to cover particular issues. Not surprising (knowing Age), there is a political thread running through the Gospel commentary, affirming that discipleship is about God’s call to live for God’s Kingdom and to contend with the principalities and powers of today.
The Mentoring sessions invite a mutual sharing of beliefs and attitudes, rather than putting the mentor in the role of teacher. In that sense they don’t necessarily ‘cover’ the church’s teachings but rather invite conversation about what faith means for the participants.
The series is consistent with the approach that confirmation isn’t where the church makes sure that the basics are all covered so you can graduate to becoming a proper Christian. Rather it is about affirming the faith that you hold now, and choosing to be part of the ongoing journey of the people of God, through which your faith and discipleship will grow and change over time.
[Confirmation is NOT us confirming our faith, it is the church (including us) affirming or giving testimony to the evidence of grace in our lives, the grace celebrated in baptism.]
Personally, I think I’d want to add some quotes from the Basis of Union, just so at a few points people learn what our church does ‘believe’, so to speak.
And there are a whole bunch of typos that I will ask the author to fix up…
Well worth looking at.