Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., calls profession of faith “Affirmation of Baptism” in recognition of the fact that many of their younger members have already professed their faith before participating in the Lord’s Supper. They offer a three-session class each spring for 7th and 8th graders. This practice has significantly increased the number of people publicly affirming their baptism. They invite a council member or two to share their own faith stories. Then they divide into small groups and write a faith statement.
Cornerstone CRC in Chilliwack, B.C., offers an eight-week profession of faith class organized around the abbreviation “CRC”:
Christian (three sessions on the main aspects of the Christian faith)
Reformed (two sessions on Reformed distinctives)
Church (one session on what it means to be part of a church community)
During this class participants also create a personal faith timeline and write their testimony.
Here are a number of resources developed by CRC pastors for use in their own churches. They’ve given us permission to share these resources, but please credit any sources you use.
This outline describes the preparation practices of Long Beach CRC in California. Written by Rev. Brent Wassink.
This four-session class is based on four questions asked of people who are professing their faith. Written by Rev. Joel Vande Werken of Sussex (N.J.) CRC.
This 14-session class explores the teachings of the CRC, examines what it means to live as a Christian in light of those teachings, and encourages participants to articulate their own faith journey and write a personal testimony. Written by Rev. Bob Loerts of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ont.
Brookfield (Wis.) CRC created a four-session class to help teens understand the story of Scripture, what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be the church, and what it means to be Reformed. Written by Rev. Brandon Haan.
Check out SparkHouse’s resources on the Reformed tradition. Every re:form Traditions session follows a three-part sequence: Encounter, Engage, and Respond. In each session, youth gather to watch a humorous animated video, tap their creativity for activities that involve doodling, science experiments, and painting, and then share what they’ve learned.
Visit FaithAliveResources.org for a variety of courses for teens on the Heidelberg Catechism and the Reformed Creeds and confessions.
Consider offering a spiritual gifts inventory like Discover Your Gifts as part of your pre-profession classes. Talk about opportunities to use our gifts in service to God and our neighbor. When people publicly profess their faith, talk about the gifts God has given them.
Preparing Teens—Retreat Model
Georgetown CRC in Hudsonville, Mich., offers a retreat called “Going Public” for young people who are ready to publicly profess their faith. Five group sessions are followed by one-on-one sessions between participants and mentors. The materials, which are edited by Eric De Young and based on I Believe: Getting Ready to Profess My Faith by Jessie Schut, include a participant booklet, an info packet, and a letter to the congregation. You have permission from Georgetown CRC to modify these materials for use in your own church setting.
Preparing Teens—Mentoring Model
NEW! Here's a great blog post from Building Faith on best practices for profession of faith mentoring programs (they call it "confirmation, but the ideas apply to profession of faith as well).
Read the story of how Eastern Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., prepared young people for profession of faith by pairing them with sponsors, a Reformed version of godparents.
Georgetown (Mich.) CRC’s retreat model mentioned above also includes a mentoring component.
Preparing Adults New to the CRC or to the Christian Faith
Brookside CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., uses a mentoring model in addition to a new members class to prepare people who are new to the CRC or to the Christian faith. Consider adapting one of the two mentoring models above in your setting.
At Faith CRC in Sioux Center, Iowa, many new members come from a background that is other than CRC. The church has combined its new member class and profession of faith class into one four-week experience. The first two sessions cover Reformed distinctives. The third focuses on the Faith CRC community. In the fourth session, participants take a spiritual gifts inventory.
Resources that can be used with adults whose background is other than CRC or the Christian church:
Alpha, geared toward seekers, offers sessions exploring the Christian faith.
Preparing People with Intellectual Disabilities
Jesus invites everyone to come to him in faith. Church members with intellectual disabilities should be welcomed into full membership and participation in the sacraments. These helpful resources will prepare you to understand and serve all members of your church better.
Expressing Faith in Jesus. This book and its companion resource kit from Friendship Ministries is designed to help churches prepare people with intellectual disabilities for profession of faith and church membership. Helpful resources include sample questions for the church council interview, tips for communicating with people who are nonverbal, and tips for including people with intellectual disabilities in ministry. Every congregation should have a copy of this book on hand.