Author Topic: Youth Catechesis Question  (Read 3350 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Youth Catechesis Question
« on: September 15, 2020, 10:22:02 AM »
I am considering whether to have youth catechism classes online. I have been exploring available videos on YouTube and found some good content. However, much of it seems oriented to older users. Does anyone know whether a congregation has created video content for Exploring Luther's Small Catechism: A Workbook for Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation, prepared by Robert C. Sauer, edited by Rodney L. Rathmann?

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions. Any news about how you are handling these matters in your congregations would be welcome. God bless.
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Rob Morris

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 10:48:59 AM »
Our 2020 Confirmation class will be resuming to finish up and prep for the young people's postponed-until-now Confirmation. We will meet in person following the same precautions our school system is following: 6 feet of distance... outdoors if possible. The one difference from the school is that once students are settled 6 feet apart, masks will be optional.

I waited to do their Confirmation until all the Confirmation families were comfortable with an in-person Confirmation service, as I didn't want our young people (or our congregation) to miss out on that. God willing, no executive orders will change between now and October 11th, or planning will get more complicated!

James

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 11:56:58 AM »
Our 2020 Confirmation class will be resuming to finish up and prep for the young people's postponed-until-now Confirmation. We will meet in person following the same precautions our school system is following: 6 feet of distance... outdoors if possible. The one difference from the school is that once students are settled 6 feet apart, masks will be optional.

I waited to do their Confirmation until all the Confirmation families were comfortable with an in-person Confirmation service, as I didn't want our young people (or our congregation) to miss out on that. God willing, no executive orders will change between now and October 11th, or planning will get more complicated!
In person confirmation .. so the young people (or our congregation) ... will the examination be included in the October 11 service as well?

Tragically in many congregations the examination has been removed from the service in which confirmation takes place ... sometimes replaced with a mid week examination primarily attended by family only .... often replaced with some sort of personal statement.

In the congregation I was confirmed in, the examination was included in the Sunday service of confirmation ... yes the service ran a bit long. 

Each year the pastor explained that the purpose of the examination was not for his benefit ... he already was well aware of the strengths and weakness of each confirmand ... but rather it was for the benefit and review of the congregation in the pews ... do they remember the answers to the questions from their confirmation and study of the catechism and Bible?

By the way ... the questions were all off the cuff ... no prepared list of questions .. yes many of the questions were probably catechism questions ... the public examination was truly a blessing to the entire congregation.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 12:10:18 PM »
I vividly remember my confirmation examination, and - then and now - it had almost nothing to do with my faith. I was very good at memorizing things and it was easy to commit the Catechism to memory, the same way I memorized poems for English class, speeches for a speech class, and dates and names for history classes.
The confirmation exam was just another pre-teen hoop I had to jump through on my way to the greater fun of being 15, 16 and 17. Getting a "learner's permit" from the Department of Motor Vehicles meant more to me at the time.
That I later came to a deeper, meaningful, sustaining and more personal faith had little to do with that Confirmation exercise. 
Your experiences may vary.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Missing NY/NJ and trips to Europe. I despise Daylight Savings Time which serves no purpose, disrupts my quotidian body clock and (I am reliably told) severely troubles cows and other huggable farm animals.

James

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 12:22:17 PM »
I vividly remember my confirmation examination, and - then and now - it had almost nothing to do with my faith. I was very good at memorizing things and it was easy to commit the Catechism to memory, the same way I memorized poems for English class, speeches for a speech class, and dates and names for history classes.
The confirmation exam was just another pre-teen hoop I had to jump through on my way to the greater fun of being 15, 16 and 17. Getting a "learner's permit" from the Department of Motor Vehicles meant more to me at the time.
That I later came to a deeper, meaningful, sustaining and more personal faith had little to do with that Confirmation exercise. 
Your experiences may vary.
But then you no longer believe much learned during your confirmation days ... the killing babies was unheard of and a violation of the fifth commandment then ... the little heard of gay lifestyle was forbidden by the sixth commandment then ... and the biggest thing you often brag about ... during confirmation women clergy was off the table ... now you feign enlightenment to the contrary.


But carry on ... the truths taught me in confirmation remain truths today ... I learned of a changeless Christ in a changing world.
If necessary, there will be a peaceful transfer of power on Jan 20, 2021.

In the event election fraud is proven in the courts of our country, there will be an inauguration ceremony ... no transfer of power necessary.

Charles Austin

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 12:32:38 PM »
Actually, James, we had heard of the "gay lifestyle" in Iowa in the 1950s, we just didn't know much about it or try to comprehend it, except to make fun of it.
In my Luther League circles - 1956-1961 - statewide and nationally, we were indeed discussing ordination for women, usually on the negative side, but not always. It was on the table.
"A changeless Christ in a changing world" is not a bad slogan. I like it.
P.S. Has everyone purchased Moderator Richard's fine book "Changing World: Changeless Christ"? If you haven't, you are freeloading on the ALPB by participating in this forum. You should subscribe to the magazine and newsletter too.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Missing NY/NJ and trips to Europe. I despise Daylight Savings Time which serves no purpose, disrupts my quotidian body clock and (I am reliably told) severely troubles cows and other huggable farm animals.

Pr. Terry Culler

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2020, 12:39:46 PM »
When I was confirmed we weren't questioned in front of the congregation.  There about a dozen people in my class and we were in the church conference room.  Pr. Klinefelter went down the hall and called us in one by one.  Then we left by a back door to the church so those still in the conference room never saw them leave.  It was a little nerve wracking, although probably not as much as it would have been in the front of the congregation on Sunday morning.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2020, 01:02:19 PM »
When I was confirmed we weren't questioned in front of the congregation.  There about a dozen people in my class and we were in the church conference room.  Pr. Klinefelter went down the hall and called us in one by one.  Then we left by a back door to the church so those still in the conference room never saw them leave.  It was a little nerve wracking, although probably not as much as it would have been in the front of the congregation on Sunday morning.
When I did youth confirmation, questioning was not in front of the congregation but in front of their families, the Elders, and anyone who wanted to come. I prepared a 100 question short answer test. The confirmands were given the test several weeks before the questioning. At the questioning they could not use notes. I would start asking the questions and students would raise their hands to answer. Each student needed to answer 6 questions. But they needed to prepare more questions to answer since they did not know if I would ask the questions that they prepared, or call on a different student. If I made it through all 100 questions before they answered their 6, they failed. Never really happened. The questioning was to allow them to show off that they had learned. The real value was in their review to prepare for the test.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2020, 01:23:14 PM »
Since 1992, I've had parents participate in their children's confirmation classes. The Small Catechism was written for parents to teach it to their children, not the pastor. Studies show that the parent's involvement in church is the most significant key in the children remaining involved. It is the parents and sponsors who promise to teach their children at baptisms. Turning it over to the church is neglecting their promises.


Anyway, at our first meeting I would ask the parents about their confirmation experiences. How was it structured? What did they learn? What do they remember? A parent who enjoyed the experience and remembered it positively was the exception. Most remembered little or nothing. They found it a negative experience - especially those who had to stand before the congregation and answer questions.


One of the interesting findings of the 1970 Lutheran Joint Study Commission on Confirmation Ministry was that we had not definition of confirmation! As I recall, they noted five traditions that had been carried on by different segments of Lutheranism in the U.S., such as the examination before the congregation; or assigning or choosing a confirmation Bible verse. While there were different traditions, there wasn't a clear reason for why we we doing these things. The commission offered this goal of confirmation ministry: "to identify more deeply with the Christian community and participate more fully in its mission."


Where did confirmation come from? The earliest records show that first communion, confirmation (laying on of hands), and baptism all happened at the same time.


As near as anyone has figured out, confirmation began during the period of "heretics." It was a way for the bishop to ascertain that a baptism by a heretical priest was valid. It was an affirmation of the baptism by the bishop.


When I went through confirmation, it was basically to teach students enough so that they would worthily receive Holy Communion. That was sort of our reward for successfully getting through the classes. That practice undermined our theology of salvation by grace. A study in 1968 recommended separating first communion from confirmation. When I started seminary in 1972, Wartburg Seminary was communing children as young as 2 years old. However, they still held on to the old model of knowledge. It was thought that such a child understood the ideas of sin (making mistakes) and forgiveness so that they would receive worthily.


Why confirm? It's not a sacrament for Lutherans. It doesn't add anything to the baptismal grace from God.


One answer is that nearly all cultures have a ritual to denote a child has become an adult. Jews have bar and bat mitzvahs. That's part of the confirmation ritual.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2020, 01:24:25 PM »
Actually, James, we had heard of the "gay lifestyle" in Iowa in the 1950s, we just didn't know much about it or try to comprehend it, except to make fun of it.
In my Luther League circles - 1956-1961 - statewide and nationally, we were indeed discussing ordination for women, usually on the negative side, but not always. It was on the table.
"A changeless Christ in a changing world" is not a bad slogan. I like it.
P.S. Has everyone purchased Moderator Richard's fine book "Changing World: Changeless Christ"? If you haven't, you are freeloading on the ALPB by participating in this forum. You should subscribe to the magazine and newsletter too.

Oh, Iowa in the 1950's!  Don't get me started on THAT.  Made Las Vegas and New Orleans, San Francisco and even Sodom and Gormorrah look tame and straight-laced. 

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 01:27:31 PM »
I vividly remember my confirmation examination, and - then and now - it had almost nothing to do with my faith. I was very good at memorizing things and it was easy to commit the Catechism to memory, the same way I memorized poems for English class, speeches for a speech class, and dates and names for history classes.
The confirmation exam was just another pre-teen hoop I had to jump through on my way to the greater fun of being 15, 16 and 17. Getting a "learner's permit" from the Department of Motor Vehicles meant more to me at the time.
That I later came to a deeper, meaningful, sustaining and more personal faith had little to do with that Confirmation exercise. 
Your experiences may vary.
But then you no longer believe much learned during your confirmation days ... the killing babies was unheard of and a violation of the fifth commandment then ... the little heard of gay lifestyle was forbidden by the sixth commandment then ... and the biggest thing you often brag about ... during confirmation women clergy was off the table ... now you feign enlightenment to the contrary.


But carry on ... the truths taught me in confirmation remain truths today ... I learned of a changeless Christ in a changing world.

James, I am glad you passed your confirmation examination.  But now?  Does your pastor know what you are writing here?  Does he approve?  Did he train you to emphasize what you are against rather than what (or who) you are for?  More importantly, do you believe you are honoring the Christian faith by what you write here?
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Dave Likeness

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 01:56:04 PM »
To be honest confirmation instruction for 7th and 8th graders in the 1950's
for LCMS students was all about the ability to memorize.  Luther's Six Chief
Parts of his Small Catechism, Schwann's questions and answers which explained
the Small Catechism, and selected Bible passages.

There was not much of an attempt to apply our faith in Jesus Christ to our daily
life. Instead the pastor lectured the class on his interpretation of Schwann's
explanation of the Small Catechism.  Students who had difficulty with memorizing
felt left out and were shamed.  The Herr Pastor was  legalistic.  Hopefully, others
in the 1950's had a better experience.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2020, 01:56:46 PM »
I vividly remember my confirmation examination, and - then and now - it had almost nothing to do with my faith. I was very good at memorizing things and it was easy to commit the Catechism to memory, the same way I memorized poems for English class, speeches for a speech class, and dates and names for history classes.
The confirmation exam was just another pre-teen hoop I had to jump through on my way to the greater fun of being 15, 16 and 17. Getting a "learner's permit" from the Department of Motor Vehicles meant more to me at the time.
That I later came to a deeper, meaningful, sustaining and more personal faith had little to do with that Confirmation exercise. 
Your experiences may vary.
But then you no longer believe much learned during your confirmation days ... the killing babies was unheard of and a violation of the fifth commandment then ... the little heard of gay lifestyle was forbidden by the sixth commandment then ... and the biggest thing you often brag about ... during confirmation women clergy was off the table ... now you feign enlightenment to the contrary.


But carry on ... the truths taught me in confirmation remain truths today ... I learned of a changeless Christ in a changing world.

James, I am glad you passed your confirmation examination.  But now?  Does your pastor know what you are writing here?  Does he approve?  Did he train you to emphasize what you are against rather than what (or who) you are for?  More importantly, do you believe you are honoring the Christian faith by what you write here?

Good questions.  Now, let me ask them of you (substituting your confirmation pastor instead of your current pastor).

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 01:58:33 PM »
To be honest confirmation instruction for 7th and 8th graders in the 1950's
for LCMS students was all about the ability to memorize.  Luther's Six Chief
Parts of his Small Catechism, Schwann's questions and answers which explained
the Small Catechism, and selected Bible passages.

There was not much of an attempt to apply our faith in Jesus Christ to our daily
life. Instead the pastor lectured the class on his interpretation of Schwann's
explanation of the Small Catechism.  Students who had difficulty with memorizing
felt left out and were shamed.  The Herr Pastor was  legalistic.  Hopefully, others
in the 1950's had a better experience.

As to your last sentence, I am sure that many did. 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 01:59:59 PM »
To be honest confirmation instruction for 7th and 8th graders in the 1950's
for LCMS students was all about the ability to memorize.  Luther's Six Chief
Parts of his Small Catechism, Schwann's questions and answers which explained
the Small Catechism, and selected Bible passages.

There was not much of an attempt to apply our faith in Jesus Christ to our daily
life. Instead the pastor lectured the class on his interpretation of Schwann's
explanation of the Small Catechism.  Students who had difficulty with memorizing
felt left out and were shamed.  The Herr Pastor was  legalistic.  Hopefully, others
in the 1950's had a better experience.


Many of the adults who came to class thought that Schwann's (or some other writer's) book of explanation was The Small Catechism. They were surprised when I handed out the small pamphlet that was just Luther's Small Catechism.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]