If you've been around this little slice of the internets for more then 2.5 seconds you know that I work at a church and that I am the director of youth and family ministry. This title means that I do a lot of different things. One of those things is helping with confirmation. I say "help" because I don't really get to teach anything. I make copies, send out letters to parents, keep track of sermon notes that the kids have turned in, and try to keep up with the acolyte schedule.
Well, this past Sunday (May 6th) was Confirmation Sunday around here. I don't really like that we call it Confirmation Sunday becuase we're really not confirming anything. We're asking these young people to affirm their faith and the promises that their parents and sponsors made for them at their baptisms. I also don't like that we tell them when in life they need to do this. I really wish that we left that decision up to the parents. But that is a tangent for another day.
We had a banquet and a time for rehearsal for our Confirmands on Saturday evening. The people that were hired to make dinner thought we were eating at 5:30. The letter that went out to the parents said we were eating at 6. The newsletter and the weekly bulletin said we weren't eating til 6:30. Ugh. Our fellowship hall (where the dinner was) has 16 tables that seat 9-10 people each. We had 18 Confirmands, some of whom brought 12-13 guests to dinner. Ugh. I made cupcakes, just incase the sheet cake wasn't big enough. I like to put the frostin in a baggie and pipe it onto the cupcakes to make them look pretty. Someone else frosted my cupcakes while they were cooling and I was at home getting ready. And they didn't look pretty. Ugh.
That was all before dinner.
After dinner we headed up to the sanctuary. Well the parents and families did. I took the confirmands out into the narthex to get them in line so that they could practice for Sunday morning. Then the kids have to sit up front and share their faith statements one at a time. So nervewracking for them. I almost feel bad. Then we practice coming up front, what the Pastors will say, what the Confirmands have to say, etc. Then we did a lottery drawing to see where families would get to sit on Sunday morning. You see, sometimes parents can be a little crazy and fight over who gets to sit where and who is up front, and then you have people that want to get here at like 6:30 in the morning to save spots. So we do a lottery drawing- kids draw numbers & pews are numbered. So then after they all left I had to put names on each pew, reserved for the family of so and so.
While I was putting these reserved signs on each pew I lost it. I sat in the sanctuary and cried. I wanted to do this job to make a difference in their faith journeys. I wanted to share that with them and be influential. You know what? Less then 1/2 of them thanked me or even recognized me in their faith statements. Most of them thanked the Pastors. They thanked the Pastors that have a hard time remembering their names. They thanked the Pastors that show up to teach confirmation on Wednesday nights and seem to b more worried about who did the homework and getting through their lesson then they are in the kids lives and where the kids are at in their faith journey. I don't want to down play our Pastors, they are both great men but neither of them really have the heart for youth ministry. And I don't want to sound like I need public recognition. That's not why I do my job. But it would be nice to know if I made a difference. If I mean anything to them or if I have impacted their journey at all.
So I sat 1/2 way back on the south side of our sanctuary and cried. I asked God if this is what I'm suppose to be doing. I questioned all of my decisions up to this point.
Then I went back to putting names on pews and finishing up what needed to be done.
Sunday morning came, all 18 Confirmands showed up and affirmed their baptisms.
I got invited to one Confirmation party, one mom thanked me for all of the work I did, and no one asked to take their picture with me.
I knew coming in that ministry was a thankless job but this is brutal...