Confirmation, Camp Style
Lakeview Conference Center was the backdrop for students of FUMC Nacogdoches to explore the final steps of Confirmation training.
Dr. Jeff McDonald describes Confirmation as an opportunity for students to “say yes to God.” He shares that the Confirmation program at FUMC Nacogdoches is a nine-month program where students learn to recognize and respond to the Holy Spirit working in their lives. “They are given an opportunity to confirm, or make firm, their personal commitment to our baptismal faith,” adds Jeff.
It is a focused time for students to learn about United Methodism and what it means to claim the name United Methodist: To be loyal to The United Methodist Church, doing all in their power to strengthen its ministries, by their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness.
Notes Jeff, “Churches all over the conference do Confirmation in different ways, but we have found this to be a good model.” Through the course of the school year student lessons focused on the doctrines of faith including baptism, sin, repentance, salvation, discipleship, and ministry. Additionally, students and leaders shared a worship experience with Rabbi Neal Katz at Congregation Beth El, a talk with Anwar Khalifa, leader of the Islamic community in Tyler, and did mission work at Nacogdoches HOPE as well as assembling cleaning buckets for UMCOR. “As the finale, we had a wrap-up retreat at Lakeview, reviewing some of the topics we had covered all year and having a great time on the Challenge Course,” he adds.
Student, Michelle Coffee said, "My favorite thing about confirmation is being able to see all of my friends all the time and being able to learn about God with them."
Additionally, Confirmands met with a Faith Friend to share faith stories and discuss the meaning of being Christian in today’s world. Jeff shares that, “These intergenerational relationships grow into treasured friendships that last a lifetime.”
Bill Teague says "Being invited to be a “Faith Friend” to a Confirmand is a blessing & honor! I suspect I get more out of it than my ‘Faith Friend’ although each of my ‘Faith Friends’ has profusely thanked me and we are still good friends. It’s rewarding to see my “Faith Friend” ‘grow’ in their spiritual life during the process and if you are blessed with opportunity, don’t turn it down."
FUMC Nacogdoches confirmed 12 students on May 1, thanks to the combined efforts of Dr. Jeff and Lenee McDonald, Rev. Trent and Katie Oliver, Director of Children’s Ministries Elsa Jordan and Director of Youth Ministries Jeff Campbell.