March 12th Confirmation Circle Group Guide
Students will 1) understand that active church membership is a joy and a privilege, as well as a commitment; 2) associate specific Fourth activities with types of church membership activities described by the Book of Order (G-1.0304); 3) identify for themselves ways in which they are and want to be involved in Christ’s Church.
Please note the names of students present in the box below
Take a few moments to reconnect. This is the first time in a month (outside the retreat) that Circle Groups have met. Selective admission school letters were mailed in that time, and the students in CPS who applied to those schools may be happy with their letters or not. Leave some space for them to share that, but with sensitivity.
Remind (or inform) your students that there is NO CONFIRMATION next Sunday, March 19th, because of the pancake breakfast. Tell that that, if they haven’t already, they need to sign up for a volunteer slot at that event by going to bit.ly/pancakes17.
Two weeks from today we will be visiting a mosque together.
Hand out copies of the Faith Statement activity to those who didn’t go on the retreat and so don’t have it. Point out that it is due to me by April 23rd and they should call me if they need to discuss it.
Finally, remind them that the Jr. High youth group meets after Confirmation (there are bagels) in room 4G.
Hook The No Rules Game
The basic idea is to create rules within your group that you know will be broken. Begin with the person with the most recent birthday, then move clockwise, with each person adding more rules. Each person creates a rule, and a consequence for breaking the rule. Make the rule something you think will be broken. An example could be: In our group, your feet can never touch the ground, and if they do, you have to stand up on your chair and cluck like a chicken. Or: in our group, you cannot use the word “and,” but if you do, you have to run up to someone in another group and give them a hug. Your group should be self-monitoring–you enforce your own rules. If someone's gone from your group carrying out a consequence, continue creating rules. It doesn't matter if they don't know the new rules–they still have to live by them. Play for approx 5 minutes, or until the room begins to get loud and a bit chaotic.
Processing suggestions: do you find it easy or challenging to follow rules? What makes for an effective rule? What is something you participate in that has a lot of rules? A little? Does church need more or fewer rules than other places, like school or home? What would you say are some of the rules of church membership?
Remind students that Confirmation is an invitation for them to become an Active Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church by making a profession of faith. Church membership is a joy and a privilege, but it is also a commitment to do certain things, like going to worship and serving others. There is a difference between something you do because it’s a rule and something you do because you’re making a voluntary commitment to do it.
Book The Ministry of Members
Fourth Presbyterian Church is part of a denomination, which means a national group of churches. That denomination is called the Presbyterian Church (USA)--Or PC(USA). It has a constitution made up of two parts. One is the Book of Confessions you’ve heard about all year (the Brief Statement of Faith is in there). The other is the Book of Order, which is kiiiiind of like a rule book for things like church structure, worship, and discipline.
Our understanding of church membership comes from the Book of Order. In a section called “The Ministry of Members,” it describes the kinds of things church members do [distribute the handout here]. These aren’t strict requirements. If you don’t do these things, nobody is going to kick you out of the church. Rather, these are things church members choose to do. And the best part is: there is no one way that a church member has to do these things.
Processing suggestion: what is your immediate reaction to this grid of church membership activities? Does it seem like a lot to you? Not enough? Are there things on it you don’t understand? Are you doing some of these activities already?
Circle Leaders: take a moment here to describe some of your church activities with reference to this handout. Your Confirmation leadership certainly falls in the “Supporting the ministry of the church . . . “ box. Are you on committees? What about your worship participation? Talk about the things you choose to do as a church member and how they fit into these activities.
Look Where Does It Fit?
Read the items off the list below and ask students to place each one into one of the boxes on the Ministry of Members handout grid. You might want to go around the circle one at a time to get everyone involved. If you’re really keen to get them up and moving around, you could make your whole room the grid. Place the handout on the markerboard marker ledge and assign parts of the room to be the different boxes in the grid. Then, when you read one of the activities, ask students to move to the box they think it belongs in (feel free to add your own items!)
Donate items to a food drive for the hungry
Put $5 in the offering plate during worship
Visit a church member in the hospital
Attend a class on the gospels
Join a protest for immigrants’ rights
Go on a mission trip to Cuba
Serve as an Elder or Deacon
Attend family camp
Standing up for someone who is being bullied at school
Welcoming a stranger into worship and sitting with them
Telling the story about Jesus to someone who doesn’t know it.
Voting at a congregational meeting to call a new Pastor or Associate Pastor
Are there other things that people at Fourth do that could be put in one of these boxes?
Took What Will You Do?
Hand out pens and give students several minutes to write some things on the handout. They should identify boxes that contain the activities they are most interested in. Ask them to write down one or two things they can actually see themselves doing for those boxes. For example, participating in youth group or going to worship or coming on a mission trip. Urge them to be creative; they can write down things they aren’t presently doing, or even things they don’t see anyone doing but think someone at the church should be doing.
Leave enough time to have each student share at least one of their items with the circle.
When you’re done, dismiss everyone with a blessing.