Rev. Charles R. Blaisdell, Former Regional Minister
Christian Church of Northern California-Nevada

A Service for the Consecration and Installation of
Congregational Leaders

Regional Minister: Did you hear that line in the passage from Acts that was read earlier (Acts 1:21-26), where the Apostles are called "the witnesses to the resurrection," and then they call forth from their midst another to lead and serve Christ’s first church?

We hear echoes of those lines today, too, as we call forth those who would be our Elders and Deacons and leaders. Friends, your congregation, guided by the Spirit of Christ, has indeed called you forth to be a witness to the marvelous grace of God which empowers this place and this people, and which goes forth from this place to witness to the world.

Today we have come to consecrate you to these opportunities for ministry and witness, to pray God’s spirit upon your lives and service, and to respond in trust and faithfulness and prayer to the work which God has given us.

From the earliest days of the Hebrew people wandering on the plains of Sinai, God called forth Elders to share in leading and teaching and caring for the congregation, and to assure that every household would know the care of a gracious God. In its earliest days, the church also called forth our brother Timothy and our sister Priscilla, to help care for the flock of God, to teach, to guide, and indeed to witness to the resurrection in truth and in a whole way of life.

And so I ask the Elders among you who stand here this morning, by God’s grace will you accept the privilege and task you are entrusted with; will you teach God’s grace by your very lives and will you seek to help care for God’s people in this place? If so, please say "With God’s help, we will."

Elders: "With God’s help, we will."

Regional Minister: Our Disciple forebear, Alexander Campbell, called deacons "the first public servants of the church." And so also does scripture witness to that understanding: with our sister Phoebe, you have been called to serve at the Lord’s Table and beyond, seeking to make known the hands of God at work in this place and in every household. And so I ask the deacons among you this morning, will you seek to serve God’s church with your heart, mind and soul; will you seek by your actions to demonstrate that, following the lead of Christ, servanthood is a noble and blessed ministry? If so, please say, "With God’s help, we will."

Deacons: "With God’s help, we will."

Regional Minister: At every time and in every age, God’s people have also called forth other leaders to equip themselves for the tasks of being the Body of Christ. St. Paul said that there are various gifts of leadership -- among them administration, teaching, and service. And so I ask those of you who are conveners or officers, will you lead and plan and serve with humility, always seeking to follow the vision of Christ who willed that His church be a place of love and grace, of service and fellowship. If so, please say, "With God’s help, we will."

Leaders: "With God’s help, we will."

Regional Minister: _________ [name of pastor], sister/brother in Christ and servant of the Gospel, you have been ordained and called to this place to be the pastor for and with this congregation. Will you support these leaders with your prayers, will you seek their counsel as you seek to guide and pastor the flock entrusted to you. If so, please say, "With God’s help, I will."

Pastor: "With God’s help, I will."

Regional Minister: I now invite all the congregation to stand, and to move forward. The ones in front will please lay a hand on the shoulders of one of those we are consecrating this day; the others of you lay a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you.

And now I would ask the whole congregation, Will you support with prayers and your best thoughts and actions these ones who have been called forth to lead you, will you support them always seeking the glory of God in this place and into the whole world? If so, please say, "With God’s help, we will."

Congregation: "With God’s help, we will."

Regional Minister: Shall we pray:

Gracious God, from the earliest days of your people, you have bid us to call forth leaders, to lay hands upon them, and to pray the grace of your spirit. And so we pray in trust this day that your Spirit will guide these ones whom you have called forth to serve You in this place. Bless them, guide them, nurture them, that they may grow in wisdom and in strength. In the name of God, and Christ, and Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.