United Church of Christ

Commissioning and Covenant Service for Mission Trip Groups and Congregations

A Covenant & Commissioning Service
For Mission Teams and Congregations 

Covenant
“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” (I John 4:11)

Leader:     Love is from God.
All:            We love one another because God first loved us.
Leader:     Love is from God.
All:            We experience the nature of that self-giving Love because God is that Love.
Leader:     Love is from God.
All:            Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.

Commissioning to Love of Neighbor

Today, we gather together as neighbors to send you out to other neighbors. We celebrate that we are connected to each other across different places and pray that those bonds will grow stronger through this mission experience. We rejoice that you will meet new neighbors in person and work together with them to embody God’s love in that community. We commit to receive you and to be open to new ideas ourselves when you return to this community, empowered for long term involvement in change toward a just world for all.  May, the love of neighbor be made real in this sharing and experience.

 

A Covenant & Commissioning Service
For Mission Teams and Congregations 

Commissioning:
When asked which commandment in the law is greatest, Jesus replied:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22)

As you embark on this mission trip, these twin statements converge as one.  As you travel to be fully physically, spiritually and mentally present with others in a different place and circumstance as yourself, you express a love of God with your whole self.  As you learn and grow from the experience, your neighbor’s life become s entwined with yours.  It is a love by God that will not let us go.

Covenant

Team:  We go to be present with one another and with those who host us.
One:     Love God.  Love Neighbor.
Team:  We go to make a change for good in our own lives and in the lives of others.
One:     Love God.  Love Neighbor.
Team:  We go to experience God in new and powerful ways.
One:     Love God.  Love Neighbor.
Team:  We go so we can come back, empowered to work for a just world for all.
Congregation:  As you go, we go with you:
                             awed by God’s wonder
                             present with our prayers
                             changed by your commitment
                             and empowered to work together upon your return for a just world for all


A Covenant & Commissioning Service
For Mission Teams and Congregations 

Introduction:
God calls us into the world to accept the cost and joy of discipleship. For the sake of God’s wholeness, that discipleship leads us to meet new people and enter new places where people have difficulty and where they make joy. We are part of a church that values action. It is not enough to talk about God’s good news or to act in ways that put ourselves at the center. A mission trip offers the opportunity to get personally involved, to reflect and put words to the experience, and to act again in order to make God’s love deep and wide in the world. A church that “talks the walk” and “walks the talk” will be dynamic as we address need and exclusion and shape a world where access and bounty are for all.

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
Hear O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Commissioning of the Mission Team & Covenanting with the Congregation
One: You are going on a journey in which you will experience new people, new places,
new justice issues.

Covenant:

Team:   May we develop new habits of faithfulness.
Many:   We promise to go with you in spirit and prayer.
One:      You are embarking on a trip where you will be challenged into new thinking and, at times,
              reinforced that you already are on paths of right relationship with God and others.
Team:    May we return energized for new forms of discipleship.
Many:    We promise to listen to you and follow your lead in these commitments when you return.
One:       You are going on a mission in which God sends you to be love in the midst of others.
Team:    May we commit our whole lives to loving God with all our heart, soul and might.
Many:    We pray to be part of this culture of engaged action that changes the world for God’s good.
All:         May it be so.

 

A Covenant & Commissioning Service
For Mission Teams and Congregations 

Introduction:
Moving out of our comfort zones allows us to see God in expanded ways. Reaching out to others opens pathways for experiencing God’s action in new ways. This group has committed themselves to travel together in unexpected places, to walk alongside unexpected people, and to witness to God’s work in the world in unexpected ways.
On this day, we commission you as a mission team to expect the unexpected. And on this day, we, as a congregation, covenant to gratefully receive and actively engage with the expanded visions, the surprising experiences and the new ideas you bring back. We are expecting the unexpected.


Scripture: Luke 24: 13-35


Commissioning of the Mission Team


One:     Two disciples walked the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They did not notice the length of the
             journey because they were talking and discussing the events of the past days – seeing Jesus
             suffer and watching the community struggle.
Team:   On this journey, we promise attentiveness to the sacred space it gives to raise our awareness of
             the complexities of the world’s suffering and struggles.
One:      A stranger joins the journey, listens to the stories and gives them a new way to perceive their
             lives, the world and faith.
Team:   On this journey, we promise attentiveness to others we meet and to their different
             perceptions, view points, and experiences.
One:      As the disciples offer hospitality to the stranger and they sit together for a meal, the stranger
             blesses the food and gives it back to them. In this acted of blessed sharing – of receiving and
              giving – the disciples recognize the risen Christ in their midst.
Team:   On this journey, we promise attentiveness to God in our midst – God who makes all things
             new.


Covenanting of the Congregation
One:   By participating in the commissioning of this group, we commit ourselves to accompany them in the
          unexpected twists of the journey, in the unexpected witnessing of faith, and in the unexpected things God
          would have us do in the world so the abundance of God’s resurrection life is reality for all.
One:   Let the disciples proclaim –

All:   The risen Christ is in our midst, making all things new!

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