Here at University, we dedicate a special Sunday to celebrate our students’ saying “yes!” Yes to being in community with us, yes to following God’s call for their lives, and yes to using the tools they have been blessed with in order to help the world look like God intended.
God’s hand is at work in everything our Student Ministry is doing, and nowhere is it more evident than in conversations with the confirmands. These students are the ones who are choosing to say yes, and this is a decision that they are making. Confirmation is a process, beginning with a retreat and continuing with weekly gatherings of students, their parents and leaders, with the hope of helping them understand what they believe, learning what God wants this world to look like and then taking the next step to commit themselves to saying yes to spreading the Good News they have learned.
These affirmations have not come in haste. This confirmation class has been together in small communities of their own since September, and they have built circles of trust. One student described this small group as being a safe place to ask the hard questions, to not always have answers, and to mature in the understanding that that’s okay. These students have grown in their ability to gauge their soul, practice spiritual disciplines, look for God’s presence in the everyday and pray prayers of intercession for one another. As they continued these practices week after week, they grew, but their leaders grew even more. Taylor Mooney and Hayden Gee are just two leaders that were impacted by the insight and dedication of these students. Hayden was “surprised by how much these kids knew and how much they wanted to know.” The way they said yes to the challenges placed before them was a blessing to their leaders and others around them who witnessed and walked with them throughout these last few months.
Each Sunday evening, confirmands and their parents gathered in large group for discussions, games, and lessons, and then they split into the small groups to discuss the lesson further and grow in community. They said yes to giving up thirteen Sunday evenings in addition to other time devoted to growing in their faith. One student insisted, “it was even fun!” Unlike school, this is more of a family gathering for these students: “a place to let go of things from the week, so they don’t have to be carried on.”
In the final small group discussion, a student shared that he could actually tell he was changing for the better. Pastor Ben describes this conviction to be better as sanctifying grace. These confirmands have felt the power of God and the urgency to say yes to the race set out before them.
On this special Sunday dedicated to celebrating these students as they say yes, may we understand the impact of their decision and the growth that has taken place already. One student who said yes and “gained a small family” within the walls of her small group, explained that she feels like today she is saying yes to gaining a family at University. Let us welcome her and the other confirmands to our University family with open arms, saying, yes!