Commissioning Service for Ministry Student – Barb Wilkins-Crowder

Note: Choose one or more church leaders (blend of ordained and laity) to participate as per your congregation’s custom or tradition.  Number the ‘Leader’ sections to match the number of leaders involved.



Today we celebrate, bless and commission [Student’s name].
We lift up their journey and commitment declaring ourselves to be their supporting congregation.
[Student] is pursuing [degree/certificate/programme of study] at [name of seminary, Bible college or school of theology ].

Include explanation of studies undertaken, perhaps by the Student.


We want to empower you, [Student], for your seminary career.
Do you, [Student], accept the support and partnership of this congregation as you learn and discern your path of ministry?

Student : I do.

Empowering by Calling

We remind you of the Great Commission we all share — to support the journey of discipleship in ourselves and in others.  In your supportive ministry, [Student], may you learn how to be kind in the face of grumbly-ness/grumpiness, gentle in the waves of resistance, steady in the crush of needs and loving always.


May you be a mentor for those who are searching, a fellow learner with those who question and ever patient with those who need to move around, challenge and push back on their faith.
[Student], do you hear the call to support others in their paths of discipleship?

Student : I do

Empowering by Honouring & Letting Go

Ministry, whether in pastoral work, community organising or social justice advocacy, is a marathon not a sprint.  We remind you of the Beatitudes, for you will have days when you are poor in spirit, days when you will mourn, seasons when you will feel meek and years when you will hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Be empowered this day and every day with a marathon runner’s conviction that the journey will be your real ministry.


Along the way you will require refreshment and solace.  Remember to accept the gifts of God as they are lived through the people of God.  So that you may feel the mercy you will be shown, feel like a child of God, be comforted, and be refreshed by light, love, water, bread, companionship and grace every day.  Sense the kin-dom of God near and see the face of God inside and beside you.


[Student], do you hear the call to the journey?

Student: I do

Leader (ordained):

Do you know you are free to make this life of ministry your own, free of any expectations from us who have made the journey before you?  Do you know you are free to be fed and sustained by the work of your hands, heart and life?

Student: I do

Empowering by Joining

The student kneels, sits or remains standing. Participating Leaders encircle the student laying hands on them. Parents/Partner/Family and others, as designated, are invited to join the circle.  The entire congregation may be invited to participate in increasing rings of the circle.  


The Apostle Paul called and commended Timothy and Phoebe as apprentices in ministry.  In that tradition, this congregation wants to join with you, [Student], on your journey. Whether or not you choose to pursue ordination, you are on a path to minister to the world as one of us.  We will support you in prayer, encouragement, reminders and solace when you need it.


There are many gifts, many ways of serving God, many paths of ministry.  As you search out your path, we commit to remain faithful to our path right here.  For it is in sharing our stories of learning, stories of discovery, stories of reconciliation and stories of grace that we best support one another.


Members and Friends of this congregation, do you commit to support [Student] in prayer, encouragement, reminders and solace whenever and however possible?

Congregation:  We do.


Members and Friends of this congregation, do you commit to remain faithful to our shared ministry right here? Collecting our stories of redemption, reconciliation and grace along the way?

Congregation: We do.


Everyone is invited to share in this final laying on of hands by holding hands where you are.  Together we pray:
With a deep yearning for your kin-dom, O God, we celebrate [Student]’s path of ministry studies.


With a deep hope for the power of love and artfully expressed stories, O God, we celebrate their dreams of touching lives and bringing change to this world.


With a deep belief in redemptive justice, O God, we celebrate their commitment to their studies.

Leader: May [Student] feel empowered in this naming of their call.

Leader: May [Student] feel empowered in this honouring of their call.


May [Student] feel empowered in the commitment of this gathered congregation to support them and uphold them in their learning and discernment.  Together, we pray:

Unison (congregation and leaders):

Loving Spirit, may we all, at least every now and then, feel your kin-dom near and see your face.  Support us as we do our work.  Empower us as we share the journey.  Amen and Amen.

Adapted from a service written by Barb Wilkins-Crowder, an ordained minister serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) USA, and member of Cairn Christian Church in Colorado.

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