Today a dear friend of mine made a recommendation for our confirmation interview process. Interview the parents on how they are going to continue to nurture faith development in their children after Confirmation.
It is pretty amazing sometimes that the number of students who come through the halls of WLC and get to a point where they choose to stand up and say “I believe in Jesus…that He is who He says He is, that He died on a cross to clear my name, and rose again…and I want to follow Him.” Some of them have parents who force them to go to church for Confirmation or Sunday school but never go themselves. Some of these students come to youth group with a friend and have parents who mock them at home. Many of them have been wounded by people in leadership at church or by friends who have claimed Christianity as their defense for judgmental behavior. Many still don’t have someone who approaches them by name when they come and spend the time here wondering if anyone sees them. It is pretty clear that God is working in them because in my estimation many of these students should never get to where they are because of us.
This same dear friend of mine shared about the fine line between believing we have to know all the right things to be a good witness and being prepared to have an answer but let God be the guide…because we always want to be God in the situation…to be the one who knows all…who is in charge.
Since the confirmation situation last week I have really been struggling with the confirmation process…parents, inadequacies, the vast holes in my understanding of how best love people. I am beginning to think the same thing is true about confirmation…there is a fine line between being the person consumed with “are we doing this the right way” (so much so that we’re paralyzed…angry…self injuring-ly cynical) and being a person who has thought it through and acknowledges that God works through broken stuff all the time thus demonstrating His God-ness and His much larger plan for all of us broken pieces in this process. It is just so easy to want to get better…do it “right”…fix it…and in doing so I immediately cross the line into “I can be God and make this process/program/ministry/relationship/you name it into something that is life changing…if I just figure out what isn’t right” I rarely move into “improvement mode” without attempting to replace myself as God in the situation.
So back to parents. I need to apologize tonight as a non-parent for judging. I know the job is vastly harder than I can imagine. I acknowledge that life rarely goes as planned. What I do long for though, is that all parents would understand that their children need them to be models…not judgmental, preachy, “do this cause it makes us look good” models…but “i say I’m sorry”, faith living, “still in the journey” models…so that your children can see what it looks like to grow up in faith. I so wish parents understood that much of what they are doing is shaping how their children make the decisions they are making and are going to make…even though the student may rarely take their advice…the parents’ patterns are passed down. So maybe we do need to have parent interviews…if for nothing else than to pray with them and remind them that this journey is far from over, that their role increases in these next few years, and that they are loved by the Creator of the Universe and Savior of the World…even in their brokenness…and He still wants to use them to shape their children.