Church Confirmation for One (or More)! Cross Generational, Mentor- and Story-Based

Narratology – God's Story. Faithful Friends.™ Clergy Stuff Confirmation Brand Image

How an Affirmation of Baptism Program Doesn't Have to Suck – Special Needs Confirmation Too

by Daniel D. Maurer & Dr. Kace Leetch, Clergy Stuff

Narratology Small Icon for Affirmation of Baptism Clergy Stuff Program

1 Kid, 2 Kids, 3? Raise the Faith & Explore the Stories.

Clergy Stuff™ is extremely excited to announce a NEW PRODUCT we will be offering in 2017 and on. It's for congregations looking for the best way to "do" confirmation in congregations with only one, or just a few students.

But first, let me tell you a story . . .

We're kinda like that here—we like stories.

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Small Churches, Big Hearts

Dr. Kace Leetch has noticed for some time now that churches with only a few students feel left behind. The classroom-based, "programatic" (cookie-cutter) style doesn't work in these places. She wanted a way to offer a real solution for smaller congregations (and larger ones too with one or two kids) who want to let the stories of faithful adults help shape the faith lives of kids - and let the kids' stories shape theirs, too!

So she set out to provide a resource that starts with the stories as told in the Bible, and then guides mentors and students to discover just how relevant faith formation can be.

Why confirmation? To teach? To grow in faith? To encourage kids’ involvement? As we move away from classroom-based curriculum toward story-sharing and relationship building, we can do all these and so much more!
— Dr. Kace Leetch
Teen CC0 photo (pexels)

The fact of the matter is that cross-cultural immersion, learning nonviolent communication, building authentic relationships to discover a Force More Powerful than yourself (GOD) becomes a way to model the faith through the story—God's Story.

"Faith formation of youth"—as a program—is killing the church by either:

  1. Ushering them out with a confOrmation/graduation approach (see: "church exit strategy"), or
  2. Entertaining them.

Instead, we can connect them with adult mentors who want to influence the faith lives of emerging generations.

What's more, we believe firmly at Clergy Stuff that God's story is *THE* most important story ever told.

Teen girl cc0 photo

Then . . . why don't we focus on letting God's story (and ours) shape our faith lives?

Why not build on the relationships that often develop organically in congregations with active, involved, faithful adults and kids?

In a time when congregations are struggling to navigate their way through our fast moving culture, we can lean on the community of faith to help shape the faith lives of young adults. Mentors and leaders will reap the benefits, too.

At Clergy Stuff, we try to listen to what congregations are telling us they need as a valuable asset to help pass along faith. But don't take our word for it. Here are some of the voices we hear:

For me if we start with a *program* for confirmation we are doing our kids a disservice because we are trying to make them fit into a preconceived notion of faith and where we expect them to be. I have found that bringing them to the Bible and the Bible to them we can “dance” with them through the Word.
— Rev. Matt Muters, ECLA Pastor
I like having materials to work with for affirmation of baptism. Still, it seems to me that there’s just nothing out there for congregations that only have one or two kids. So you know what I end up doing? Writing it myself! That’s fine, but I sure wish I could have something to start with.
— Rev. Jill G., UMC Pastor

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Special Needs Section

Another reason why Narratology™ is completely different than the cookie cutter, programatic method to teaching faith is that Clergy Stuff knows that resources for special needs kids are severely lacking for congregations.

Another story . . .

If you haven't read the new blog we've set up, An Exceptional People, you need to check it out. Dan Maurer's son, Josh, is one of those exceptional people. From experience, we know that clergy, pastors, ministers, and volunteers of all flavors and colors need and want such resources to reach kids with special needs.

Wait . . . that's not right. It's how special needs kids can reach us.

Adult with teen mentor cc0 photo

That's why, with Narratology, we've added material for background how best to share God's story in and between kids and mentors. Our special needs writer has the background (and the degree—she has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology) to offer a flexible approach to sharing the story.

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God's Story. Faithful Friends. Adaptable to YOUR Needs.

Why "Narratology?" From a dictionary definition, it means that the story is the stuff that matters

Plus, the word is just really, really cool.

• Narr-a-tol-o-gy: the branch of knowledge or literary criticism that deals with the structure and function of narrative and its themes, conventions, and symbols.
— Source: Google

So this is where you come in.

The story is the story. How you tell it matters.

We've done the heavy lifting to making the transition to pass along the story in creatively engaging ways (cartoons, videos, activities, and more!) so that you can be free to actively empower mentors and allies to share God's BIG story among friends. We believe Affirmation of Baptism should not be a one-and-done event, but an ongoing narrative.

Here's just a brief sampling of the stuff we're doing. More to come. Promise!!

Narratology Confirmation Logo – Clergy Stuff (May not be copied.)

Click on the image to expand in a lightbox.

Unit videos will be produced by kids for kids.


Daniel D. Maurer

Daniel D. Maurer was a former ELCA minister who served in Underwood and Williston North Dakota. He now is a freelance writer and thrice-published author and speaker on the topics of resilience, change, transformation, and long-term recovery from addiction and depression.