Seven Mt Zion youth were confirmed during the service on Reformation Day. They also shared their faith stories with their family, friends and the congregation between services in Fellowship Hall. See excerpts in article below. More photos at bottom of page.
Confirmation is a chance for teens who were baptized as infants or young children to affirm before the community of believers that they accept the grace and blessings God conferred on them in baptism and that they plan to continue living into the covenant God made with them in baptism.
As part of confirmation, the youth are invited to share what their faith means to them in their own words. Each of us as beautiful and unique experiences of faith, and it is always wonderful to hear and celebrate the faith experiences of our youth. The following are some brief excerpts from the faith statements of this year’s confirmands.
“I believe God will always love me and forgive all my mistakes. The church is where we gather to hear about God’s love. The church isn’t just a building; it’s a home.” ~Kylee
As we begin in faith, sometimes simple statements like these are the most important. I know who God is and the place where I learn about God feels like home. That’s powerful.
“God is my protector in life. I know God will guide me toward a positive outlook on life. If I get into any bad situation, God will be there to guide me.” ~Mason
Especially for youth entering high school and beginning to take the first steps toward independence, it is huge for them to have a sense of security and safety in God’s presence.
“God has shown up a lot in my life. One example of God helping me was when my grandpa died. It all happened so randomly, and the thing he introduced me to was music. Before this happened, I was never really into music. I feel like getting into music really helped me with my grandpa’s passing and got me hooked on something I enjoy. I know that God is the one I can count on all the time.” ~Jack
One of the themes that regularly shows up in faith statements is a feeling that God helped them with something difficult and guided them toward something good. Sometimes we call these surprise blessings “Holy Spirit moments!”. When he needed it the most, the Holy Spirit activated a new passion.
“I believe that Jesus is really big in my life because he has shown that all things can be done with love, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and gentleness. Jesus made my life brighter by showing me that it is good to help others, like when I helped people at Mr. Bobs Under the Bridge. Without having Jesus in my life, it would be harder to show love.” ~Ethan
Sometimes what we need is to be able to rely on God. Other times, what we need is God inspiring us and pushing us to be better people. Jesus isn’t just someone we rely on for grace; Jesus is someone who motivates us to be gracious.
“My covenant to God is that I will serve and help my community as much as I can. When I was 11 years old, my family and I went to New York. I was excited to be in the city, but when I stepped off the subway, the first think I saw was an unkempt man with a long beard sleeping against the wall next to an empty guitar case. I was shocked and wondered how someone could end up like that. Through Tosa Cares and Appalachia Service Project, I’ve had the opportunity to help make a direct impact on families who are less fortunate. Because of these opportunities that God put in front of me, I have been able to do great things not only for nearby communities but for communities around the country. God is walking with us, and I am able to feel his presence when serving the community. I believe that God keeps that vision of the man I saw in New York alive and present to keep me motivated and to remind me that I can make a difference.” ~Troy
Another Holy Spirit moment! This time not one of inspiration to help with a hard time, but of motivation for how to make a difference in this world. Our passion for justice and caring comes from our faith in Jesus, and it’s scenes like this in real life and Scripture that show us how God can use our hands to care for the world.
“Faith encourages and inspires me to be the best version of myself and pushes me to help others. Helping in my community is one of the things I believe God placed us on earth to do. Through Tosa Cares and Allies for Teens in Foster Care, I help my community and make it the place I want to be. My favorite Bible quote is, ‘Forever everything there is a season; a time to mourn and a time to dance.’ Dance pushes me to be my best self, similar to my faith. When I dance, my worries flow away and all I feel is joy; that’s how I feel with God.” ~Abby
Every faith life needs times of prayer; this doesn’t simply mean words, but time we feel close and connected to God. It is wonderful to hear a youth has found an activity that connects their spirit to the divine.
“My faith goal is to keep helping people out and doing it more often. A real example is when my mom was sick and I did the dishes for her without her asking me. I see God as an eyeball that watches over us and sees that good things we do. No matter what I do, I’m going to try my best.” ~Griffin
It may sound small, but it’s huge: A teenager jumping to do a chore of their own accord, not to earn a reward but simply because they want to show love, is a miracle! One of the greatest journeys of childhood is learning how to love and care for others instead of only being concerned about one’s self.
Every year, it is an honor to hear the youth speak their faith and name what it means for them to be a Christian. God bless these youth, and keep them growing in faith every day.