Photo: Paul Atkinson
Service of Commissioning and Ordination
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
By Jon Wilterdink, pastor at Mentor UMC
The service of commissioning and ordination represents a culmination and continuation of Jesus calling people to serve. The evening of worship encapsulates years of study, writing, meetings, interviews, reflection, and experiences that have affirmed God's calling. Many elements within the service; the procession of those awaiting commissioning and ordination, the inspired gospel music, reaffirming the gathered church's beliefs in the apostles creed, as well as the hands laid upon each individual all draw the body together to affirm these callings. Tonight is a culmination, an experience of God's fruitful abundance.
At the same time this evening is a continuation, a calling upon the Holy Spirit to anoint those called to ministry to continue living with personal and social holiness. Within this service each candidate took vows establishing a covenant to love and serve people like Christ loved and served every person. This covenant took on new life following the reflection on the ordination vows provided by the Rev. Dr. Allen Bevere. Through this covenant the candidates commit to allowing Christ to engrain the character of their life so that others can see, hear, and experience Christ through them. Likewise the body of Christ made a covenant to uphold and support these commissioned and ordained individuals in their ministry.
Bishop Robert Fannin beautifully and humorously summarized this experience using Romans 10:11-15. With storytelling, honesty and humor Fannin pointed out the challenges ahead in ministry. Equally, he encouraged all present to be a believing, witnessing, and relevant church. In true Wesleyan heritage each of us are called to preach through our word and deed promoting a personal and social gospel of power and hope.
Commissioned, ordained, called, or curious, elder, deacon, local pastor, or laity, each are to be sent out and meet the world where it is, build relationships, and then reveal the power of Jesus. How beautiful are the feet of those who go into the world to share the good news. So what kind of footprints are you leaving?