Being in ministry for over 25 years, I have been able to participate in some very special worship services and occasions. None, though, I think could be as special as being at First Baptist Church, Knoxville on August 2, 2015.
Emily has served as Children’s Ministry Intern this summer. She has assisted with a kids camp, VBS and a Worship Arts Camp. She has gotten into the nitty-gritty stuff of ministry and has enjoyed every minute. FBC has embraced her as one of their own. She has been befriended and mentored by some wonderful folk this summer, and I know she feels a great kinship with this wonderful congregation.
In worship, she was commissioned as she enters Truett Seminary later this month. The church presented her with a generous scholarship and pledged to be a foundation of support for Emily in the days and years to come. I was so very honored to pray her commissioning prayer. I have never done something like that for one of my own children, so there was a bit of anxiety involved. For that reason, I decided to write the prayer. I am glad now that I did. Emily and I will both be able to remember the words voiced at this special time.
The prayer is printed below. One reason is to have a lasting legacy of the day, but also there are many of you who were not able to be there, and I want you to know that you, too, are cherished for the role you have played in our lives.
Gracious Father, as we are gathered here together in this place this morning, we thank you for your continued watch and care over us. We know that every good and perfect gift comes from You, and we praise you for gift of worship we have experienced in this place today.
As we gather in this moment to commission Emily on her seminary journey, we pause first to give thanks for the ones placed in her path to mentor and guide her. Thank You, Father, for the SS teachers, the camp counselors, the youth ministers and pastors that have built the foundation that led to her call to ministry. Thank you for congregations like FBC that have allowed her to plant her feet in ministry opportunities, helped her mold her calling and made it possible for her to take the next step in her education.
We are especially grateful for Emily; for the commitment she has made to ministry and the steps she is taking in that journey. It is a high calling You have placed in her heart, and she is sensitive to Your voice and calling in her life. I know her desires are planted by You, and I know you will continue to guide her and lead her in the path she needs to follow.
Help us, Lord, as a family to not only support Emily in her endeavors but to understand that her calling takes her away from us for this period of time. Help us rest in the promise that she is never out of Your sight or care. Let us be mindful of what we have instilled in Emily, knowing that she will rely on those life lessons to guide her when she does not have the physical support of her family close by.
And Father, let us be mindful that this commissioning doesn’t end in this time and this place. It continues in the hearts and minds of those who commit today to pray for Emily during this time in her life and ministry, Thank you for this congregation, so committed to support and follow those who come in their path. I know You will continue to guide them to be a beacon of Your light in this community and around the world.
Father, we are grateful, we are anxious, we are excited to see Emily continue on this journey. May our faith be strengthened as we continue to walk with you. Amen.