When persons who were baptized as infants are ready to profess their Christian faith, they participate in the service, which United Methodism now calls Confirmation. This occasion is not an entrance into Church membership, for this was accomplished through baptism. It is the first public affirmation of the grace of God in one's baptism and the acknowledgment of one's acceptance of that grace by faith. This moment includes all the elements of conversion — repentance of sin, surrender and death of self, trust in the saving grace of God, new life in Christ, and becoming an instrument of God's purpose in the world. The profession of Christian faith, to be celebrated in the midst of the worshiping congregation, should include the voicing of baptismal vows as a witness to faith and the opportunity to give testimony to personal Christian experience.
Public profession of faith
Although confirmation is not a sacrament in The United Methodist Church, it is an important marker along our spiritual journeys.
At baptism, we are initiated into the new covenant in Jesus Christ and membership in the Church, Christ’s body in the world. For many, this happens when they are very young.
We recognize children are members of their human families, but no one expects them to clean their rooms or empty the dishwasher until much later. In the same way, “baptized infants are members of the Church—the family of faith—but are not yet capable of sharing everything involved in membership,” By Water and the Spirit, The United Methodist Church’s official statement on baptism, teaches.
Confirmation is an opportunity to respond to the grace of God available to us, as acknowledged in baptism, and to promise to live as a person of faith. “What God offers us must be accepted in repentance and faith,” This Is Your Baptismal Liturgy states. “Confirmation and reaffirmation are our responses of commitment, profession of faith, and rededication.”