Commissioning Youth to Enter the Mission Field
In just a month or two, many youth programs will be embarking on mission experiences throughout The Episcopal Church.
For each Mission Team, an important element of preparation is commissioning from the wider community. Both for the missionaries and for the sending congregation, it is important to remember that this team is being sent to represent the community. Therefore, they need to be prayerfully and intentionally commissioned by the community to go forth in their name.
Ideally, the commissioning service happens on the Sunday before travel. It can be an entire service devoted to mission or just a prayer or covenant incorporated into a portion of the service. If the entire service is devoted to mission, it could incorporate a sermon from the youth minister or an adult team member focused on the purpose or hopes for the journey.
If this is a diocesan mission experience or pilgrimage, the Team could choose one commissioning service to happen in each community on the Sunday before travel. In addition, the Team can ask the bishop (or another diocesan representative) to participate in the final Team meeting and commission the Team on behalf of the diocese.
To help you get started, several sample commissioning services are included in the Episcopal Youth in Mission Manual.
I am confident, however, that many youth ministry programs have wonderful examples of commissioning services they have utilized. Please consider sharing your service or prayer in the comments. It would be wonderful gift for programs planning a commissioning service for the first time.