Building a relationship with God
Faith stories are the culmination of confirmation at St. Paul every fall. Ninth-graders share brief presentations describing how they see God at work in the world and in their lives.
“I can’t think of exactly when my faith story started. My first memories of going to church were Sunday learning and Vacation Bible School. At that time, I didn’t have a concept of who God was. All I knew about the Bible was that it was a big book with confusing words that sounded like they were from Star Wars.
However, what I did know was that my Sunday school teacher could give those words a less complicated meaning and then turn that meaning into fun songs with actions that I still remember today.
During VBS, I remember wearing a bright orange shirt, playing with friends, and singing. However, young me did not understand the real meaning of why I was there. I was there to build a strong relationship with God while I was young, so I could trust God throughout the rest of my life. Little did I know that I would really need God on days when I felt sad or lost.
Fast forward to a few years later, I now know more of those “confusing words in the big book,” known as the Bible. I understand the real meaning of those catchy songs with the dance moves. God loves me and God is there even when I don’t think God is.
My first year of middle school was a big change for me. All new teachers, students, and a whole new building. This was one of the first times I ever truly felt lost. I had to make new friends and a
djust to myself changing too. But I knew I had God by my side every time I walked into that building and, eventually, I didn’t feel so alone or nervous.” – Zach Carney
You know that big building you go to every Sunday? At first, you won’t pay attention or know what’s happening, but it is going to play a big role in your life.
Your first real experience with church will be your baptism. Your family will come and celebrate but you won’t remember it. However, you will talk about it a lot in the future. It’s important because it is when you became a part of the church.
As you get older you will start to go to Sunday school. You will get to know Jesus through stories in the Bible. Your favorite will be David and Goliath because it shows a great lesson on standing up for and believing in yourself.
In fourth grade, you will have your first communion. When you can take communion, you will feel like you are a part of the church community. You will also start listening to everything, not just the children’s message. You will learn lessons that stick with you.
In sixth grade, you will start confirmation. You won’t want to go because you don’t think it will be fun. But your mom will make you. She plays a big part in your faith story by helping you understand and taking you to church events.
Just when you start getting comfortable COVID hits. It will be a setback. But don’t worry, your church will go out of its way to make you feel connected. You won’t meet in person for confirmation, but you will connect on Zoom. Eventually, you will start meeting in person outside. Make sure to bring a sweatshirt because it gets cold and middle schoolers are too cool for coats.
Before you know it, you’re an 8th grader. Confirmation will be some of the best experiences you have at church. As a 9th grader, you will be asked to share your faith story. You will be nervous. But all the things you’ve done through church will help you share your story. And I have one last thing to say. Make sure to thank your parents. Respect and appreciate all the people that have helped you become the person you are today.”