If you need more reasons to pray for your church, I have some more for you.
How about 25, 7th-9th grade students on an adventure of sharing space, life and confirmation class?
Sunday evening was our third night of shared confirmation classes using the new re:form curriculum. It's amazing to see the youth from four local Lutheran churches coming together and gelling as a group.
The lesson this week was an overview of the ten commandments and a compare/contrast on the Old Testament vs. the New Testament.
Each student was counted off into a smaller group where they would decide what Bible story was the most historically important one, but they were not permitted to use any Jesus stories. Three groups out of five choose the 'Creation' story because without God getting things started - why have the rest of the story, another choose 'Revelation' because it ends with good winning over evil and the other choose 'Noah's Ark' because it expresses God keeping promises.
From what I've heard from most people who went through confirmation in a mainline church in the past 30 years or so, it was something that they simply "endured" or "put up with till I get confirmed". I did not grow up in this tradition, so it makes me feel sad that something like learning and growing spiritually and becoming an adult member of a church would be something so non-engaging.
It is my hope, that my students will grasp how amazing, exciting, and life fulfilling being in relationship with God can be, so beyond seeing a problem and saying, "How sad." and stopping there. It's my goal and the goal of the leaders in this partnership to encourage the students to ask questions, wrestle with the things they don't understand and fall deeper in love with the God that cares so much for each one of them - and all of us!
It seems that our churches need to be reformed more than helping being a part of confirmation classes in a more engaging way - the parents and grandparents of these children need to also find a way to become re-connected and engage with their creator in an authentic and sincere manner. On that topic, I'm still thinking.
However, as you look at these pictures of the 25 students in our class; may you be reminded that they represent so many youth and families all around the world who are searching for a place where love is always offered. You may only see a few faces here, but the big number God sees is always growing! For all our churches and fellowships, this is the kind of reformation is a means of re-creating an environment where all are welcome (young, elderly and in-between) to experience to love and forgiveness of Christ.
Please take some time and pray for your church/members/and people that God would desire you to invite into that community.