Confirmation is an old and traditional way for believers to be connected with the past’s saints. It is not graduation from the church (the confirmands never to be seen again), but rather a way to take another step toward being mature believers in Christ. Confirmation is part of a constant journey toward God and life in Christ. This journey begins at baptism, when God gives us our Christian name to grow into, and goes on until we go to be with God. Part of our confirmation celebration embraces a worship service where the confirmands obtain a blessing and the openly confirm the baptismal vows made for them by their parents or sponsors at their baptism.
Confirmation is also a way for new believers to connect with the current believers of the congregation. From the point of view of the church we see our new confirmands as adults. Thereby they are now eligible to participate in the church’s functional work, mission outreach, and make a financial pledge to the life of the church. This activity is all part of our vow to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. We make this pledge in front of family, friends, and God!
Finally confirmation aims believers in a direction to grow in grace and to seek the sanctification for which John Wesley made Methodists famous. In fact sanctification frequently appears in Wesleyan theology. John Wesley clearly believed that God saved people in an instant by declaring them justified by faith.
However, Wesley also believed that that is not where the Christian life ended. A saved person could still “go on to perfection” by “growing in grace in this life.” What Wesley offered believers was a way to continue their journey with God to the end of their lives. Thus, the journey toward God is never complete. We can always grow in grace and for Paul and John Wesley and our Grandma this meant that God could always offer even the most devout believer “entire sanctification.”
Confirmation is the beginning of a journey and we here at church welcome our confirmands along for a glorious trip with us toward God!