Installation of Leaders of the Church
Pastor: In the night, Samuel heard a voice.
Now the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under Eli. The Lord’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely known. 2 One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room. 3 God’s lamp hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s temple, where God’s chest was.
4 The Lord called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said.
5 Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?”
“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did. (1 Samuel 3:1-5 CEB)
After multiple episodes of God’s voice in the night and the help of his guardian Eli, Samuel finally recognizes God’s calling for his life.
8 A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”
Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been.
10 Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”
11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of all who hear it tingle! (1 Samuel 3:8-11 CEB)
Service in the church is sacred work whether you have an official role or not. It is work guided by the Holy Spirit. Serving God should be work that makes your ears tingle and your eyes water. You have been chosen to do work that God is using to bring about the unfolding of the beloved kin_dom!
Pastor: You have been nominated, elected, and called to be elders of this congregation. Your church family sees gifts in you that they believe are Spirit-endowed. As elders, you serve as spiritual leaders of the congregation. Though you are imperfect human beings, your role as elders is to lovingly shepherd this congregation. You are called to help them to view the many varied challenges of daily life and church life through the lens of Jesus’ teachings and life.
Have you prayerfully discerned that God is calling you to this role?
Elders: We have.
Then, we will now install you as elders of Albany First Christian Church.
In light of your calling, do you publicly reaffirm the promises made at your baptism? Do you affirm that Jesus is your teacher, your model, and the one whose love spurs the unfolding of the kin_dom of extravagant, unending love for every human being?
Elders: We do.
Will you seek to live prayerful lives consistent with the radical teachings of the One who ate with those who were rejected, who pushes out the boundaries of the circles of exclusion humanity draws, and never gives up on any one of us?
Elders: With God’s help, we will.
Do you commit to guiding this congregation and all those you encounter in the ways of love, hope, justice, and peace? Do you commit to fulfilling your calling as elders to the best of your ability?
Elders: We do.
Let us pray,
Divine One, We thank you for the gifts of these elders. We thank you for lifting them up in our midst. Be with them always. Make their ears tingle and fill their hearts. Provide them with the gifts and wisdom they need to be our spiritual leaders. Guide them in ways that build up this church community and the broader community in which we live. Move them and us ever closer to the beloved kin_dom you dreamt of at the genesis. Amen.
Distribute Elders pins as appropriate.
Officers and Diaconate of the Church
Pastor: The Apostle Paul writes that we each have gifts that matter to the whole. Each of us has particular gifts to offer in the furtherance of the beloved kin_dom.
4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. (Romans 12:4-6a CEB)
You have been nominated, elected, and called to be leaders and servants of the church in this place and time. You are the diakonos, the diaconate, servants of Christ within the church. You are called to lead and assist in the sacred ministries and work of the church. Have you prayerfully discerned that this is the role to which you are called?
Officers & Diaconate: We have.
As the one body of Christ, each of you has something unique and special to offer us all. Your church family recognizes your particular gifts. Some of you are called to serve on a committee among others. Some of you are called to use your specialized financial skills or to lead us as co-chairs. Some of you have gifts of being handy or gifts of supporting the personnel of the church. Some of you have a passion for social justice. Some of you seek to preserve the wisdom of the saints who came before us. And some are called as faithful representatives of the congregation at large.
Each of you brings your gifts of the spirit to the tasks at hand. Do you commit to carrying out your tasks with humility, with a spirit of love, and to pray regularly for God’s guidance in your service?
With God’s help, we do.
Let us pray,
Divine One, Be with each of your servants as they go about their ministries and tasks in the church. Fill each with your spirit of graciousness and love. Give them hope, compassion, and humility. Called by you, provide each with the gifts — make their ears tingle — as they do their part in the unfolding of your beloved kin_dom on earth. Amen.
Distribute chalice pins as appropriate.
Hymn Make Me a Servant, Chalice Praise #99