The Holy Spirit and Parent-Student Faith Formation

Over the past few years I have been conducting a live experiment in Confirmation ministry. After years of frustration in teaching young people in peer-age sessions (most of them were nowhere to be seen after Confirmation Sunday), I resolved to put parents and the home at the centre of my approach. I no longer meet with young people by themselves, or together with just one or two other leaders. Instead, I offer a series of parent-student and mentor-student learning events. I also provide at-home materials to support parents and young people to share life and faith together around the topics we are exploring in Confirmation. Put simply, I believe that forming the young person in faith means forming their household in faith.

Which brings me to last Sunday night … The learning topic was the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is best understood and encountered through experience, not cognitive rumination, I set up a series of Reflection Stations exploring different aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives (I found a variety of resources on the internet that proved very helpful). The parents and young people were invited to explore the Reflection Stations one at a time, in any order they wished. It was wonderful to then observe parents and their teenagers talking together, acting together and praying together. Not only were they reflecting on the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit was clearly alive at work in them and between them. They were being grown together in faith as they journeyed together. Yes, I could have given a 10 point lecture on the Holy Spirit. I could have given them worksheets to fill in. However, I don’t believe they would have retained and remembered very much if I did. I am much more confident that through talking and listening, sharing and discussing, doing and practicing, both parents and young people experienced the faith-forming power of the Spirit, individually and together.

Note:  You can download my Station Instruction Sheets here – feel free to use them as you wish.

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