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Updated: Apr 4, 2019

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What is Confirmation? If you’re anything like me you can predict this overused response, “It’s when you become an adult in the church, and now you can actually do things with grown people.” There couldn’t be a better youth-repelling response. However, catechist, ministry leaders, and parents, alike, are convinced that this is the best possible explanation provided by scripture and the church.

For so many youth, confirmation is sadly an exit door. It’s an exit from the church, an exit from Sunday morning obligations, and an exit from that awful ride to church with your parents. Well…that’s what it was for me, and about 90% of the other kids in my youth program. In fact, it seems that we could effectively re-brand Confirmation as the “Great Escape.” As soon as confirmation is over and we’ve done our retreat, memorized a bit of Catholic Trivia, and had a little oil smeared on our forehead you can hear the collective gasp for our “Freedom.”

Now that I am older, much older, I have a new appreciation for the process of Confirmation. Instead of considering it the great exit, Confirmation is the time that we become a part of the great movement. Confirmation is the moment when we graduate from spectators of our faith, and become participators in our Faith. Now let’s look at this from a biblical view-point.

It is in the book of Acts that we get our scriptural basis for Confirmation. This is the account of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descends upon the remaining disciples following the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descends in the upper room, and radically transforms the lives of Peter, John, James, and the others. From that moment, through the end of Acts, we literally witness the “Acts of the Apostles” and the formation of the “Jesus movement.” The Apostles then begin preaching in the streets, and performing “Christ-like” miracles that propel the church into the Roman Empire.

The main Apostle to take center stage after Pentecost is Peter, and he begins preaching in Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. Wait a minute…Peter? Is this the same Peter who denied Jesus three times, to avoid suffering a similar fate? Is this the same Peter who abandoned Jesus during his march to the cross? Is this the same Peter who wasn’t with Jesus in his final moments? Yep, it’s the same Peter. So, after all of that betrayal, Peter is now fearlessly proclaiming the Gospel? Preaching the good news in Jerusalem? He is now welcoming the persecution of Christ, walking boldly, despite the threats of death to simply proclaim the Gospel?

What happened to Peter? Well…Confirmation happened to Peter. 

You see…Confirmation is more than memorizing Catholic trivia, picking your saint name, and finishing your confirmation project to be placed in some old dusty display case at your church. Confirmation is when you graduate from being a spectator of Christ to a participator with Christ. Confirmation is when you step away from the sidelines of your faith, and you get in the game!!! You put on your Jesus jersey, and you find your position on the field of Christ, and you play your part to the best of your abilities.

Peter was transformed at Pentecost from a scared, timid, and ashamed follower of Christ into a strong, convinced, and fearless captain of team Jesus. Peter and the disciples would go on to transform the world as they knew it, and that is what Confirmation is all about. The Holy Spirit has been sent to empower you, so that you can impact your world for Christ with conviction, fearlessness, and most of all…Love. At Confirmation time, step away from the sidelines, put on your Jesus jersey and get in the game. Jesus needs you to win!!!!

(In part two we’ll discuss some practical ways in which you can “Get in the Game.”)

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