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When we first went to Candidate Seminar with Baptist Mid-Missions in 2018, we learned we’d need to have a commissioning service when we approached full-support.
It seemed so far away at the time that we didn’t think much of it. So we tucked it away on our “someday” list and got busy with deputation.
At times we felt we’d be on the road forever. But, God had other plans. And this past Sunday, our sending church held a special service. It was our commissioning service.
We all got dressed up for the occasion. Here are a few of the kids:
The day was a very special one. With lots of tears. You can watch the service here if you’d like.
But what exactly is a commissioning service and what does it mean? Let’s look at what this special occasion signifies.
What Is a Missionary Commissioning Service?
When you think of the word commissioning, what comes to mind?
Since Bryan was in the Navy way back when, we tend to think of a ship getting commissioned.
The act of placing a ship in commission marks her entry into active Navy service. At the moment when the commissioning pennant is broken at the masthead, a ship becomes a Navy command in her own right, and takes her place alongside the other active ships of the fleet.
This means a ship is commissioned right before it begins active service.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines commission this way:
With both of these pieces of information, we can begin to piece together exactly what a missionary commissioning service is.
It is a time when the church gives a charge to a missionary, for them to serve God on their field. And, it’s a time when a charge is given to the church to come alongside the missionary.
Like a ship is commissioned before it sets sail, a missionary commissioning service happens right before a missionary prepares to leave for the field and begin active service for God there.
Our Commissioning Service
As we quickly approach 100% support — (we’re getting so close – if you’d like to help you can learn more here) — we are preparing to move to our field, Missionary Acres.
So, our sending church, Chewelah Baptist, voted to have a commissioning service for us in May, prior to our July move.
Here’s a brief order of events from that service, so you can see what happens at a missionary commissioning service.
The service opened with a hymn, I Want to Be Faithful.
Then after prayer and announcements, we both gave our testimony and call to action. Needless to say this was an emotional time and tears were shed.
It was wonderful to look back and see how God had been preparing us for service even before we knew it. Then, our church Minister of Records read the minutes from the business meetings when they originally voted to commission us to service, voted to license Bryan into the gospel ministry, and voted to hold a commissioning service.
After another hymn, a representative from our mission board (Baptist Mid-Missions) gave a charge to the church and to us as missionaries.
Then, Pastor, a deacon from the church, and the man from BMM prayed over us during a commissioning prayer.
What Is a Charge to the Church?
During the service, a charge to the church was given. We are so thankful that our sending church is already doing most of the things mentioned during this time.
Our sending church has been our home church for about 14 years, and we’ve really grown spiritually while attending. Once we felt like God was calling us into service, they‘ve been very supportive.
In fact, we wouldn’t be preparing to head to the field if it weren’t for the prayer and support of these dear saints. We will truly miss them when we move to Missionary Acres.
What Is a Charge to Missionaries?
The church wasn’t the only one to receive a charge during our commissioning service. We did as well.
We were reminded that we are serving God, and that it won’t always be easy. There will be times when we want to quit. But, with God’s strength and power we can do this.
After the charges were given, the two of us were called back up to the front of the church. Three men prayed over us, and for our family.
It was a special time of prayer, thanking God for all He had done so far and giving him the glory. It was a prayer for safety on the roads as we move and over us on the field.
Tears were shed again. It was a very emotional day.
After Our Commissioning Service
Now that our commissioning service is over, we are looking forward to heading to our field. We will miss the church in Chewelah, and our families back home dearly. But, God has put a burden in our hearts for the heroes of the faith down in Missouri, and we are longing to get there, get our house ready so we can settle in and get to work.