I am delighted to announce officially today that I am working with SPCK Publishing on a new resource based on two years of writing about the basic information students should grasp about the Bible and the church BEFORE they start their time of preparation to be Confirmed as adult members of the church.
Confirmation is a rite of passage in which students take the identity and knowledge that has been shaped in them for (in most cases) thirteen years of their life and do intentional work to transform that into a growing adult faith and an identity as an adult member of the faith community.
In many cases, Confirmation has instead become a chance to teach all of the foundational biblical and theological material that students have not previously been exposed to or intentionally taught.
The goal of these posts, and even more so my upcoming book, is first to help parents and educators think specifically and definitively about some of the very basic information that can serve as the foundation for a transformative Confirmation experience. Second is to give concrete examples for each item of ways to to engage children in conversation and exploration. Most of these ideas come from my own experiences as a parent and as a teacher in Sunday School and Confirmation classrooms.
For each item in the list (the content of which will be adapted slightly, as I have spent two years submerged within it) there will be the following sections:
A brief description of the “Item”
For each item on the list (much like I did on the blog) I explain the basics of the story, concept or practice, including the biblical reference when applicable. Often, what keeps parents from engaging children in biblical or theological conversations is that they think they don’t know enough. There are two things to remember: one, you only need to know more than the children do, and two, it is okay to show your children that you are learning about these things together.
Conversations with Children
I will give at least one “talking point” for parents to use to start a conversation with children about this story or idea. Every story has multiple interpretations and angles. I will just give one that I think will be the most helpful to engage their interest, but conversations should not stop with just the ideas that I share. Sometimes this section will also give suggestions for particular moments in your family life together that lend themselves to these conversations. Every so often I will mention a particularly difficult aspect of this item and how to best help children understand it at different ages.
Community ActivitiesThis section will include ideas targeted directly at educators or volunteers who are teaching these stories or concepts at church. Sometimes they will be about how we structure classroom environments in our churches or how we provide a variety of resources to children when they study the Bible. For some, I give an alternative way to teach a particular story or idea in the classroom to help supplement curriculum that you are already using. Sometimes they will be about including children in the larger life of the congregation, teaching them how we live out the lessons from scripture in our community life.
Finally I will then take these ideas one step further to show how this foundational information can be a springboard for further conversation, exploration and questions in the Confirmation classroom. These reflections will be a resource for Confirmation teachers as well as parents of youth who want to find ways to continue to engage their children in conversations and to help them keep asking questions beyond Confirmation.
Over the next several months, I will continue to share here on topics related to Confirmation and how it fits in the life of the community and the growing faith of both children and parents. I am also pretty sure as I trim down the book for publication that I will share things here that are too broad or even too narrow to fit within its pages.
To receive those posts and other updates about the book be sure to subscribe to Bread not Stones in the following ways :
I have reentered the twittersphere, so please feel encouraged to click on the link at the top of the page to start receiving my weekly posts in your twitter feed.
If you haven't already done so, click on the link above to "like" the Bread not Stones Facebook page.
And of course you can always subscribe to the blog above via an RSS feed or have an email delivered to you when a new post is online.