Celebrating a New Season of Nurture

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This resource is taken from Reformed Worship 88 and is reprinted with permission.  It was written by Jolanda Howe, [email protected] coordinator of training and consulting for Faith Alive Christian Resources.  If your church has commissioning liturgies for any purpose and are willing to share them please send them to Jolanda or myself at [email protected] .

This kid-friendly litany is intended for use at the beginning of a new church school year. The two sections may stand alone or be used together as a prayer of illumination for learners and a commissioning for teachers and other leaders. The language is broad enough to include Sunday school, midweek programs, and small group ministries for children through adults.
 
Each reading is short and incorporates simple songs that are often used in Sunday school. This makes it easy for children to serve as readers (as suggested below). You may also want to incorporate sign language and involve the children’s choir as song leaders. The combination of peer readers, familiar words, and congregational participation should help young readers in the pew stay engaged.
 
Note: To make this litany even more kid-friendly, replace the NIV and TNIV Scripture references with NIrV, a translation written at the fourth-grade reading level.
 
Church education director, elder, or pastor: Our faith is nurtured in community as we learn and worship together. Today we celebrate a new church school season as children, youth, and adults begin attending Sunday school, small groups, and midweek activities. We ask God to prepare our hearts to study the Bible and the creeds and confessions of the church. We commission our teachers and leaders for their ministry. Please stand as we invite God’s Spirit to lead us forward on this journey of faith—transforming each of us into the likeness of Christ.
 
Song: “Open Our Eyes, Lord” CH 633, SNC 80, SWM 179, WR 491
 
Church education director: As we begin this new season of learning, we turn our hearts to you, Lord.
 
Congregation: Lead us to explore the depths of your love,
to stand in awe of your wonders,
to delight in your promises,
to experience your forgiveness,
to grow in love for one another,
to discover our gifts,
and to serve you faithfully.
Child leader 1: Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus.
 
Congregation: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Heb. 12:2a, NIV)
 
Child leader 2: We want to reach out and touch him, and say that we love him.
 
Congregation: In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. (1 John 5:3a)
 
Child leader 3: Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen.
 
Congregation: For Jesus said,
“My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)
 
Child leader 4: Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus.
 
Congregation: No one’s ears have ever heard of a God like you.
No one’s eyes have ever seen a God who is greater than you.
No God but you acts for the good of those who trust in him. (Isa. 64:4, NIrV)
 
Church education director: Lead us this year to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Pet. 3:18)
Song: “Step by Step” SNC 17, SWM 12, WR 494
[Sunday school teachers and ministry leaders remain standing as the rest of the congregation is seated.]
 
Church education director, elder, or pastor: As followers of Christ we are lifelong learners called to make disciples. Some are gifted by the Spirit to serve as teachers and leaders, nurturing the faith of others. We now commission you for the ministry of faith nurture. Do you believe that God has called you to teach or lead, and do you trust God to equip you for this task?
 
Teachers/leaders: I do.
 
Church education director, elder, or pastor: Will you seek to remain in Christ by depending on his grace and cultivating your relationship with God through times of prayer, Bible study, and worship?
 
Teachers/leaders: I will.
 
Church education director, elder, or pastor: Will you strive to teach the Word of God with passion and joy, to live the lessons you share, and to grow in faith as you serve?
 
Teachers/leaders: I will.
 
Church education director: Please stand as together we pray for the teachers and leaders we have commissioned.
 
Congregation: Gracious God, you are the source of life and the giver of faith. Thank you for calling these servants of yours to strengthen the faith of others. Please lead them to depend on your grace, to walk in step with your Spirit, and to seek wisdom for the journey. Through Christ, our Lord, we pray. Amen.
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