Presbyterians Today

FEB-MAR 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 35 of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world?" Psalm 105 and Hebrews 11 are reviewed to learn about biblical ancestors who trusted God. Youth are asked to interview mentors about their own experiences of God's faithfulness, bringing the words of Scripture closer to home. The local congregation's worship bulletins are studied to determine how the church speaks and acts based in God's trustworthiness. Finally, a DVD, which is part of the curriculum, is played. For Lesson 2, youth hear from a young African- American woman in Philadelphia who confesses her trust in God's leading, especially through the hard- ships of her life. The DVD includes 12 Christians in different contexts, from an urban setting to a rural one, showing youth the diversity of the church. Every lesson includes: • a group-building activity to help the students and leaders get to know one another and to intro- duce the theme of the session; • the study of Scripture passages that reveal stories of God's trust- worthiness and human broken- ness and redemption in Christ; • exploration of the larger church to broaden the students' per- spective of what it means to be faithful to God in Christ; • activities to broaden the students' view of the local congregation. The curriculum guides the students to connect experiences of Scripture, faith and community. The coordinator of the curriculum project, Mark D. Hinds, said, "This curriculum reflects the best of what it means to be a Presbyterian — biblically informed, theologically diverse, socially active and congre- gationally grounded — and calls our young people to claim their place in the tradition." The learning doesn't end there. Students are given My Big Journal, which offers them writing prompts to reflect on what was learned, a self-check-in and preparations for the next session. Parents and mentors are also involved, having their own guide, which includes an outline for each session, keeping them up to date and offering discus- sion questions. The inclusion of adult voices is one of the things that makes this different from other confirmation curricula, Kirkpatrick said. "Youth are keen to notice when we are asking them to believe some- thing or act in a certain way that is in opposition to the faith and actions they see modeled in their congre- gation. The very best way to build discipleship in youth is to provide helpful and diverse models of dis- cipleship in the adults and leaders around them," she said. In each lesson of Big God, Big Questions, there is an opportunity for teachers and pastors to help students understand the life of faith as it relates to their own church and how they can become active members of their congregation, Kirkpatrick added. Malinda Spencer is an associate for cur- ricula training and promotion for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Big God, Big Questions: Confirmation for a Growing Faith will be available in June at Each component of the curriculum will be available for purchase separately or in a bundle. Also available at is Embraced and Embracing: Exploring Foundations of Confirmation by Ron Byars and Eva Stimson. This is the perfect companion volume to the curriculum. Want to know more about the Confirmation Project that led to this new curricu- lum? Visit

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