An Order for the Decommissioning of a Missionary / Missionary Family
In that the Presbytery commissions the missionary at the beginning of the term of service, it is appropriate that the Service of Decommissioning be in the hands of the same Presbytery (apart from what may transpire at the local congregational level). A Decommissioning Service could become part of an ordinary Presbytery meeting, occupying the space of about 45 minutes, with 20 minutes 'supper' to follow, to allow special warmth of welcome home, prior to the resumption of other business. As an alternative, the Decommissioning Service could be organised by the Presbytery at the home congregation of the missionary/missionary family at a mutually suitable time.
Simple Order for Decomissioning of Missionaries:
Scripture Readings (possibly including Acts 14:21-28).
Report back to the church on the years of ministry by the missionary/missionary family.
Expression of thanks to the family, and praise to God (presentation of settling-back gift).
Prayer of Thanksgiving.
Conclusion of Service.
Expression of Thanks
N ....... and N......., ....... years ago your church, recognising the call of God to you, commissioned you to serve him in Country. There you have served him well. You are now aware of the struggles and joys of serving him amongst people of another culture. You have lived and declared the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have witnessed the power of the Spirit of God in turning some from idols to serve the living and true God. At the same time you have known the grievous experience of being a witness to your Lord, but as a result of that ministry have seen some turn away from the light of life and continue to walk in darkness. Through the rigours of missionary life, you have learned more of the sovereign purposes of God who has given you the grace to cry, 'O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out'.
You have communicated with us, educated us, thanked us for our support, and asked us to keep praying. Sometimes you have helped us to suffer godly shame in respect to our comforts, and you have pressed us to take stock of our priorities. It has been a privilege for us to be your partners in mission.
On behalf of the church we thank you, and trust that as the Lord opens doors for new ministry here in Australia, you will continue to grow in grace, and be a vessel of great usefulness to Christ in your new sphere of service.
Our gracious redeemer God. We approach your throne boldly through our only mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank you for calling us your own, and for the pathway along which you have led us as we have journeyed to the city whose architect and builder is our God.
We have appreciated our brother/sister who has/have been the extension of our arm in their faithful witness to Jesus in Country. Thank you for watching over them and keeping them safe, for the ministry of your Spirit who convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment, has kept them growing in grace, holiness and knowledge. Thank you O Father, that our friend/s have been your instruments of grace to lead others to the Saviour of their souls, and to build up others in the most holy faith.
(When we commissioned them, their children were but 'little ones', and now we see them standing before us as young adults. O God be gracious to them and lead them on through life's pilgrimage in such a way that they will 'love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength'.)
Bless them richly as they settle back into life here in Australia. Open doors into new friendships and ministry such that they will continue strongly to use the gifts that you have entrusted to them for the glory of your name.