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A Commissioning Liturgy for Young People Going Away

After high school many young people move away, often leaving home for the first time. This major life event can be acknowledged in the church. Here is a commissioning service based on 1 Corinthians 12.

Rev. Richard VanderVaart used this service when he was pastor at Wallaceburg Christian Reformed Church in Wallaceburg, ON. As part of the service, the young people were called forward, the words of the responsive reading were read together, hands were laid on them, and each one given a copy, written in calligraphy, of the blessing that was chosen for them.

This first appeared in Reformed Worship.


There are varieties of gifts,

but the same Spirit.

There are varieties of services

but the some Lord,

There are varieties of activities

but the same God activates all of them in everyone.

To each is given a gift by the Spirit.

Though we have different gifts, 
together we are called to be the church 
wherever the Spirit leads us, 
to do God's ministry in the world, 
led by the Risen Christ.

[The youth are invited to come forward. The minister addresses them as follows:]

As a congregation, we have remembered our baptism vows to you. We have prayed for you. Directed by the Spirit, we have instructed you in our most precious faith. Despite our human failings, God, our refuge and strength, has led many of you to profess your faith before him and us all.

You have been equipped to go where God leads you.

We encourage you now, wherever you go, to seek Christian fellowship, find a church home, and grow in your faith. Leave here with the assurance that our prayers and blessing go with you.

[Each young person kneels and receives a blessing from the minister and elders also lay hands on them.]

Note: We chose a different scriptural blessing for each of the young people. For example,

Eric, the Lord bless you and keep you... (Num. 6:24-26)
Jody, may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace (Rom. 15:13)
Andrea, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ... (2 Cor. 13:14)
Paul, may the God of Peace... (Heb. 13:20-21)
Matthew, may our Lord Jesus Christ... ( 2Thess. 2:16)
Jennifer, rejoice in the Lord always... (Phil. 4:4-7)