Affirmation vs. Confirmation- A Personal Perspective

posted May 31, 2016, 4:11 PM by Sue Fried
by Melissa Navratil

When I think of Confirmation I think of it as taking classes, completing assigned tasks and graduating with more knowledge than when I started.  The word Affirmation has a much different meaning.  I see it as lifting someone up and supporting them on their journey.  

If you look up both of these words in the dictionary you initially find very similar meanings -- the action of declaring, pledge, and endorsement, but it is in the 2nd and 3rd definitions that you see t
hat to “affirm” someone is to offer support or encouragement.  Peace has replaced Confirmation classes with Affirmation.  Stories of the Bible are still discussed. Jesus is still the one who proclaims God’s love is for everyone, but the delivery is very different.  The Affirm path develops a community, a safe place to question and explore rather than lecture and assign tasks to complete.  

While completing a continuing education class titled Education for the 21st Century, I learned that to best serve students, schools need to change their focus. It claimed schools should focus on teaching students how to learn vs. what to learn.  With advancements in technology, information is EVERYWHERE and easy to find with the right techniques.  It is these techniques that will serve our younger generations more than memorizing formulas or facts.  I believe this same kind of evolution is happening in the church.  More and more youth will no longer blindly believe text that does not make sense.  To get this generation in church, I believe creating this safe, affirming space for everyone to explore their faith is paramount.  I’m happy to say I believe Peace is on the cutting edge, but with that said we still have some work to do.

When I was young and had questions about the Bible and faith in general, I was afraid and almost ashamed.  I would have never shared my doubts with someone else. I am not only grateful Pastor Gary is supporting our youth on their own faith journey, I am humbled the Peace Community of Faith is there to support and encourage my children in exploring their faith.