Called to Serve: Readings and prayers for commissioning church school leaders
Commissioning is appropriately conducted in the response section of worship, before the prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. Leadership could well be shared by pastor, elder, or other congregational representatives.
The leader addresses the congregation:
Christian friends, as Jesus called men and women to service, so God has called us to participate in the redemption of all creation. Each of us has been given a unique expression of God's Spirit. We are to develop, refine, and use what has been given to us for the common good.
The persons being commissioned will rise and remain standing The leader says:
At the celebration of baptism, we pledge ourselves to nurture one another in the faith. You, as teachers, leaders, and assistants, carry a particular joy and responsibility.
You were chosen from among us to teach us and our children. You are charged to represent the gospel of God with gentleness and insight as the Spirit guides you in your words and in your witness with us.
Through your ministry our faith will be nurtured and deepened. We look to you to equip us to live the truth of Jesus Christ in community, family, workplace, and world.
The leader continues:
Do you promise, by the grace of God, to give yourselves to this calling with diligence, energy, and love, and to be guided by the Spirit and the Word of God?
The teachers, leaders, and assistants respond:
We do, by the grace of God.
The leader says:
Christians, let us acknowledge the gift(s) and calling(s) of your sister(s) and brofher(s).
The congregation responds in unison:
We receive you as servants of Christ;
we pledge to support you in your service.
We encourage you with works and prayers.
We consider ourselves coworkers with you in the service of Christ.
The leader says:
Servants of Christ, accept the service with which you have been entrusted. Do not neglect the gift that is in you. Present yourselves to God as approved workers, ever faithful to the Spirit of God.
Remember always that Jesus called you friends as well as servants. Attend to prayer, for without God you can do nothing.
Let us pray:
The congregation prays in unison:
Spirit of the living God, in every age you have appointed teachers to tell your power, justice, and love. We thank you for brothers and sisters in faith committed to teaching us your ways and your words. We give thanks for the evidences of your Holy Spirit that we and our children experience in the community of learning. We commend ourselves and our sisters and brothers to your constant love and guidance. Fill them with grace and grant them the strength and peace of your Spirit. In the name of Christ, our Master, Servant, and Friend. Amen.
A hymn of thanksgiving and praise, or a hymn that sings of the churchs ministry and mission, could be sung as an appropriate conclusion to the commissioning. Some suggestions follow:
"All Creatures of Our God and King"
"Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation"
"Lift High the Cross"
"O Zion Haste"
"Jesus Shall Reign"
"God Is Working His Purpose"
This commissioning service is adapted from "Commissioning of Christians to Ministries of the Church," approved by the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America, June 1990.