Sunday, September 13, 2015

RALLY SUNDAY: Commissioning the Whole Congregation

I mentioned Rally Sunday being the perfect day to commission the whole congregation and a DCE friend asked me what I imagined that would look like. What do you commission them for? We commission leaders in the church and teachers but we rarely commission the whole congregation as if now that there are other people doing those jobs that it's all covered. They can relax. Hmmm... no so quick there, Sparky. We commission people because we want to empower them to service and affirm their commitment. Why would we not want the entire congregation to know they are also commissioned into service whether it's a formal leadership and/or education position or not?

What would that look like? There are commissioning services available online, in hymnals, and in the Lutheran Service Book but personally, I would do something simple. First I would commission the board members or formal leaders, then the teachers, and finally the congregation. Start with an appropriate Bible verse for leaders/teachers and a few statements about what they are being called to do with "I will with the help of God" replies, and a brief prayer of thankfulness and encouragement. Many commissioning services are not this simple but I don't believe in making an entire worship service about focusing on one group of people. We worship God, not our volunteers.

The congregation is being commissioned for any and/or all of the following:

  • participating in the community that is the congregation. 
  • living in the light of Christ in their neighborhoods.
  • encouraging and participating in Christian education for themselves and their families.
  • living as an example to people living in a non-Christian society.
  • making disciples as they go about their everyday lives.

After this there is the prayer for all commissioned to live and share the truth of the Gospel, asking God to strengthen and preserve them, etc. Seriously, every pastor is better at writing these things than I am but that's how I see it in my mind... simple, straightforward, encouraging, and empowering.

Why not remind everyone that we are all an extension of our Lord and the church this Rally Sunday?

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