This liturgy is based on “Commissioning to Ministry within a Congregation” in the Book of Occasional Services, a supplement to the Book of Common Worship. The full text of the service may be found on pages 123–127 of that resource.
Commissioning should follow the sermon and precede the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The minister and those to be commissioned gather at the baptismal font, which is filled with water.
SENTENCES OF SCRIPTURE
CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP
We are called by God to be the church of
a sign in the world today of what God intends
for all humankind.
(Congregation recites the Great Ends of the Church, from the Book of Order, F-1.0304.)
The call of Christ is to willing, dedicated discipleship.
Our discipleship is a manifestation of the new life we enter through baptism.
Discipleship is both a gift and a commitment, an offering and a responsibility.
The minister or other person shall relate the form of service to which teachers are being commissioned. Teachers may express their hope in accepting the call and commission. The minister then addresses the teachers:
[N. and N.], the grace bestowed on you in baptism is sufficient for your calling because it is God’s grace. By God’s grace we are saved, and enabled to grow in faith and to commit our lives in ways that serve Christ. God has called you to particular service. Show your purpose by answering these questions:
Who is your Lord and Savior?
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.
Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple, obeying his Word and showing his love?
I will, with God’s help.
Do you welcome the responsibility of this service because you are determined to follow the Lord Jesus, to love neighbors, and to work for the reconciling of the world?
Will you serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love, relying on God’s mercy and rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit?
I will, with God’s help.
(Questions to the congregation confirming the call of the teachers and promising to support them in their ministry.)
Faithful God, in baptism you claimed us; and by your Holy Spirit you are working in our lives, empowering us to live a life worthy of our calling. We thank you for leading [N. and N.] to this time and place. Establish them in your truth, and guide them by your Holy Spirit, that in your service they may grow in faith, hope, and love, and be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever.
Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you called disciples and, by the Holy Spirit, made them one church to serve you. Let your Spirit rule your church, so that we may be joined in love and service to Jesus Christ, who, having gone before us, is coming to meet us in the promise of your kingdom. Amen.
CHARGE: Colossians 3:17
BLESSING: 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Reprinted by permission from the Book of Occasional Services © 1999 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Corporation, for Congregational Ministries Division, Office of Theology and Worship. ISBN 0-664-50098-6