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The goal of this project is to explore the practice of confirmation as a means of substantive faith transmission and ecclesial revitalization within a United Methodist context informed by the apostle Paul’s adoption metaphor. Chap Clark has proposed a hermeneutic of adoption as a framework for congregations to conceive and engage their role in fostering spiritual identity formation in adolescents. Intentional intergenerational ministry is foundational for developing the mutuality necessary for a thriving congregation. Practice learning is a critical component in nurturing, equipping and empowering young people within the household of God. In an adoptive context, mature members build bridges to young people to share consequential faith. As adults create catechetical community, they also experience spiritual growth and the congregation thrives as its vitality is renewed by the continuous energy and creativity of emerging generations.

Confirmation has functionally become an end point of Christian education and spiritual formation leaving people suspended in an early adolescent state of Christian identity. Many congregations cling to confirmation with hope that it will ignite a journey of substantive discipleship for early adolescents but do not implement the ministry to bring about the desired end. Congregations caught in systemically siloed ministry structures fall short of living into their baptismal and confirmation vows. Introducing adoptive theology and ministry practices through confirmation can lead to substantive faith transmission for early adolescents and revitalized ecclesiology for the congregation.

The confirmation ministry design for this project was implemented at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Highland, MD.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Coates-Smith, Mindy

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Confirmation, Adoptive Theology, Ecclesial Renewal, Faith Transmission, Mt. Zion United Methodist Church


Religious Education


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