Confirmation was a rite of passage from baptized child to adult member of the church, and Catechism class was the path that Lutheran youth had to take to get there. At that time, only confirmed adult members of the congregation were permitted to receive Holy Communion. The practical result was that confirmation became viewed as a requirement of God to receive God's gift of Holy Communion. About 40 years ago we Lutherans took a closer look at Scripture and tradition and realized how incongruent this practice had become with the principles and values of our Church.
Now, all the baptized are welcome to Holy Communion, and children are valued for their contribution to the Church simply as children, not adults in waiting. Confirmation is now understood as an Affirmation of Baptism at a very important time in the development of faith in a young person. It has been said that puberty is God's way of encouraging children to reach beyond themselves, embrace their true identities, and explore independence--all God's gifts. While their bodies, minds and worlds are rapidly changing, it is a formative time for the maturation of faith. Catechism students learn from the bible and Lutheran theology how to think critically about principles and values of faith. At the end, with a rite of Confirmation, they get to publicly claim for themselves that they will live out the promises made for them by their parents and sponsors in their baptism. The time spent in confirmation classes are intended to continue, more intentionally, the exploration of faith, life, and the church so that students can make that affirmation of baptism a public declaration of their hope and trust that God will continue to lead and guide them in all the aspects of their lives now and in the future.