An Invitation to Commissioning

by Anne O'Connor, Stephen Ministry

On May 5 our congregation will commission new Stephen Ministers: Lissa Anderson, Anne Curti, Dick Dodson, Pam Martin and Carrie Smart. Throughout history, when God has called people to special ministry, members of their community have commissioned them for the important new work they are taking on. Now we invite you to help carry on that biblical tradition by being a part of commissioning those who have responded to God's call.

Our Stephen Ministers have already completed substantial training to equip them for their task. We now lay hands on them, pray for them, and send them out to minister, asking for God's blessing and the Spirit's wisdom and power.

This commissioning service offers an opportunity to show our support for this ministry. Our Stephen Ministers will be depending on our support in the time ahead as they assume the duties of their ministry. How can we help?

First of all, we can pray for our Stephen Ministers and their care receivers. This ministry calls for both time and effort. At times they may feel tired, discouraged, or convinced that they are not accomplishing anything. The assurance of our prayers and appreciation will help them keep moving forward.

We can also affirm and show our appreciation for this valuable ministry. We can tell them how much their hard work means to us, tell others how much we value our Stephen Ministry and focus attention on our Stephen Ministers to bless and affirm them in special ways-as we do with our commissioning services.

We can become involved in this ministry in many ways. Some of us may recognize a call to use our special gifts in this ministry and may apply to be a Stephen Minister. Others may accept the care of a Stephen Minister. We can be ministers of referral, watching for people in need and suggesting a Stephen Minister's care. We all can give our enthusiastic support by keeping Stephen Ministry always before us and by praying for and affirming those who have answered God's call to serve in this way.

As we commission our newly trained Stephen Ministers, let us thank God for all that they will bring to this congregation in providing care to others, and let us promise them our daily prayer and support as we send them out to minister among us.