Back to Posts
Mar 16, 2022

Are You Tired of Disengaged Confirmation Candidates? Here Is How to Turn It Around

The Ascension Confirmation Team

Get teens excited about the faith.

Would you like to see the candidates coming through your Confirmation prep program develop a deep and loving relationship with Christ?

Do you want them to commit to living out their Catholic faith joyfully?

In this post, we’re going to show you exactly where to start. If you overlook this or try to skip this step, you’ll find yourself frustrated. 

Spark their curiosity.

When you do what we’ll share with you, you’ll find that your candidates will become more deeply engaged in your program.

Their interest in the faith will be sparked, and they’ll begin asking you more questions about who Jesus is and what we believe as Catholics.

Make your job as the leader easier.

This is going to make your job as the leader of the Confirmation prep program so much easier. 

With the candidates themselves driving your sessions forward with their enthusiasm, you can simply guide the ship (instead of rowing).

If you’re like most Confirmation prep leaders, we bet that sounds pretty good, because what you’re experiencing now is often far short of this.

Teens aren’t enthusiastic about their faith.

What we hear from parishes every day is that it’s difficult to even get their Confirmation candidates to show up.

If they do show up, it almost seems like expecting them to pay attention and engage is asking for the moon.

They don’t take ownership of their faith.

An underlying issue is that the teens themselves often don’t take ownership of their faith.

They’re going through Confirmation prep to satisfy their parents. 

But it’s mostly something to endure, not something that they would ever find interesting or valuable.

You feel like you’re dragging them through each session.

As a result, all the energy to carry them through the program has to come from you, the leader.

You need to push your candidates forward through the program through sheer force of will.

And that can be incredibly exhausting. 

To try to get teens to engage, Confirmation prep leaders try all sorts of things.

Looking for an easy and effective way to excite your Confirmation candidates about the faith?

Chosen: Your Journey to Confirmation offers a proven approach that we’ve just refreshed and updated.

Sign up for a free preview!

We offer them “Catholic-lite.”

If teens won’t engage with Catholic teachings, the obvious temptation is to water down the faith to make it seem more appealing.

Talk to any parish leader and they’ll tell you that this just doesn’t work.

The problem isn’t that Catholicism itself is boring. 

(There isn’t anything boring about the Creator of the universe knowing and loving you and longing so deeply for a close personal relationship with you that he sends his only Son to die for you.)

So it isn’t the content that’s the issue. It’s our enthusiasm.

We don’t want to weird them out.

There is a stereotype that presents adults who want to teach teens about the faith as these glassy-eyed, happy-clappy weirdos.

(And hey, let’s be honest, some of us are a lot like that.)

But what this stereotype does is make us feel defensive about being enthusiastic about the Gospel at all.

It can make us try to be “cool” about it. The problem with being cool is that it doesn’t seem like you’re very excited about what you’re talking about.

How do you find the balance between enthusiasm and over-the-top? 

Authenticity. Just don’t force it. Let your love for God and the Church shine through, and most of the time you’ll be OK. 

If that makes sense to you, now is the time to make that change, because we all need to act.

We’re losing this generation.

We don’t need to remind you about the numbers.

Fewer children and young adults are remaining Catholic as they grow into adulthood.

Some become the “nones” (who don’t hold any specific religious belief).

Some go to other Christian denominations.

But either way, we’re losing them. And despite this, how often do we talk about the changes that we are making to address it?

How much do we care that we’re losing these young people?

Religion is dismissed more and more.

Because it is only going to be harder to bring them back to the faith in the future.

Kicking this can down the road isn’t going to make it easier later on … it will only be harder.

The world grows more skeptical of religion by the day, it seems.

Our culture is becoming more convinced that religion doesn’t make sense.

So why are we waiting? Why are we choosing to make things harder by putting off changes that need to come? 

Here is what we can do and do immediately.

Start with Why.

More than 10 years ago, Simon Sinek gave a now-famous talk entitled “Start with Why.”

In his talk, he discusses why some people or companies are able to achieve incredible things while others fail.

The difference? Successful people start by identifying their why. 

Their why is the purpose that is driving them forward. 

For us, if we seek to bring young people back to the Catholic faith, we need to get clear on our why.

To help you do that (and to help you help your team to get clear as well), here are three whys to consider.

  1. Love for God

The first and most important “why” we can have driving us to help young people fall in love with their faith is our own love for God.

If we don’t love God to begin with, how can we help others love him?

At the Easter vigil, the priest shares the flame from the Easter candle and that flame is shared, one person to the next until the entire congregation is ablaze.

This is how the faith spreads. In order to share that flame of faith, we must first allow ourselves to be lit.

So why do we want young people to discover God? Because we ourselves are radically in love with God.

This naturally brings us to our second why.

  1. Love for our candidates

Since we love God, we know what it’s like to have our hearts transformed by him.

We want to bring that healing and joy to our Confirmation candidates.

All of us have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only Christ can fill.

So we want to share the Gospel with our candidates simply so that they can discover the perfect fulfillment of their heart’s deepest longing.

Reflecting on our love for our candidates will root this second why firmly in your heart.

  1. Love for the Church

Developing a relationship with Jesus will transform your candidates’ lives as individuals, sure.

But they are also members of the body of Christ. The head and the body are one. 

So the third why we encourage you to consider is love for the Church.

When Catholics fail to embrace the faith and fall away, the body of Christ is injured.

Every day we’re losing hands and feet and arms and ears. Members of the Church are falling away and we all suffer the effects of that.

Our love for the Church is the third why for us to consider as we seek to ignite a love for Christ in the hearts of our Confirmation candidates.

Don’t Stop at Why.

We can’t stop at simply finding our whys.

They must drive us forward and set us in motion. We hope these three whys will strengthen your resolve and encourage you to continue in the important work you are doing.

If you’d like more help in your Confirmation prep, check out Chosen: Your Journey to Confirmation

It keeps your candidates engaged and excites them about their faith while helping make your job as the leader simpler and easier.

For a free preview of the newly updated Chosen, sign up here.

Looking for an easy and effective way to excite your Confirmation candidates about the faith?

Chosen: Your Journey to Confirmation offers a proven approach that we’ve just refreshed and updated.

Sign up for a free preview!

Has Ascension's free media strengthened your faith?
You can now offer ongoing support for this content with a recurring gift.
Support Ascension

Get your favorite Ascension content sent right to your email!