The following was written by AHA Senior Andrew Johnson as a trimester-end project in his Campus Ministry team course.
It is a Wednesday night. At my church and many others, it is faith formation night. We gather with the Confirmation candidates, and we circle up with our Confirmation candidate. Then we begin the night with highs and lows since the last time we met. The room is loud, with people talking or yelling, and music playing. This is the site of the St. Edward’s Confirmation class every Wednesday night from September through April. A group of Confirmed high school students participate in a leadership group, Acts 29, which I am a part of. We help mentor the Confirmation candidates.
Acts 29 is a great service learning opportunity. I joined Acts 29 because when I was a freshman and a confirmation candidate, the Acts 29 leaders made it fun, and I wanted to be a part of that group. By serving with Acts 29, I see two parts of the AHA Way: To Help Others and Ourselves Succeed and To Communicate “You Matter”. By helping others succeed and myself is done through leading the candidates through various activities and questions. It also helps me learn because I get to hear the different views from Confirmation candidates and other mentors throughout the year. Communicating “you matter” is demonstrated in our small groups; we give each kid a chance to make comments on what we have covered, and everyone in the small group listens attentively. Acts 29 is a great group that mentors Confirmation candidates through confirmation.
Acts 29 is a high school group of confirmed students. Our job is to help the current Confirmation Candidates better understand what they are going through. There are two groups: small group leaders and program team. In my three years being in Acts, I have always been a small group leader. The small groups have about three Acts 29 leaders and are made up of five or six Confirmation candidates. We lead them through the topics that are discussed each week. The program team is responsible for making activities that are parallel to the topics that are discussed. The program team also plans everything we will do on our yearly retreat. Everyone is important to Acts whether you’re quiet, loud, a small group leader, or on the program team.
Being in Acts 29 has granted me the opportunity to learn from so many different people. On any given night there can be over 70 people there. The opportunity to hear from others is so great. The stories each individual has are interesting, some positive and some negative. It has helped me to see that my problems are not necessarily that big. I have enjoyed being a member of Acts 29, helping the Confirmation candidates, and learning from all the people whether they are candidates, Acts 29 members, or adult leaders.
There are 28 books in the Book of Acts. We are called Acts 29 based on the tag line, “Where scripture ends, we begin.” This stands out to me, because it simply means that where scripture is ended, I can continue to live and demonstrate the ways of Jesus Christ. Psalm 78:1, says “My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.” In Acts 29, even as a mentor, still listening what others have to say is very important. Listening to others helps provide me with a new perspective that can be very valuable. Acts 29 has been a group that has had an important impact on my life through my years in high school.