Form for the Ordination of Evangelists (1982)

Form for the Ordination of Evangelists (1982)

Congregation of Jesus Christ:
For some time you have known that (name) has accepted the call of God and of this church to serve as evangelist in (city). Today we ordain him to that office.

Jesus began his ministry by declaring, "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" He called disciples to follow him, saying, "Come, follow me," "and I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1:15, 17). It was in this way that the gospel harvest began. Later the disciples received power at the Spirit's outpouring, and soon a large church was established in Jerusalem.

When the work of the church proved to be too much for the apostles, they appointed "seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" to help them (Acts 6:3). At least one of these men, Philip, proved to be a gifted evangelist who "preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" and who baptized new believers (Acts 8:12). Later the apostle Paul declared that Christ "gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God" (Eph. 4:11-13).

The work of an evangelist is to preach the good news. He calls people to heed the voice of the good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep, and urges them in the name of Christ to be reconciled to God. He gathers new believers into an emerging congregation. As a shepherd of this new flock, he is called to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to administer the sacraments. He also guides and counsels, holding in trust all sensitive matters confided to him.

In our congregation (name) will be acknowledged as an elder. Although every believer is called to bear witness to Christ, and every elder, deacon, and minister is called to engage in the work of evangelism, the evangelist is called to this work as his primary task under the supervision of the consistory. (name), we now ask you to answer the following questions here in the presence of God and his people:

Do you believe that in the call of this congregation, God himself calls you to the office of evangelist?
Do you believe that the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and life?
Do you subscribe to the doctrinal standards of this church, rejecting all teaching which contradicts them?
Do you promise to do the work of your office faithfully, in a way worthy of your calling, and in submission to the government and discipline of the church?

Answer: I do, God helping me.

Laying on of hands [optional]
God our heavenly Father, who has called you to your sacred office, guide you by his Word, equip you with his Spirit, and so prosper your ministry that his church may increase and his name be praised.

Charge to the Evangelist
(name), hear the words of the apostle, "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead . . . : Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2 Tim. 4:1-2, 5).

Charge to the Congregation
I charge you, people of God, to receive (name) as called by God to the office of evangelist. Recognize in him one way in which the church fulfills Christ's mandate to "therefore go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Hold him in honor as one called upon to seek and to save the lost. Support him with your gifts and assistance. Sustain him with your prayers. Accept him as one who brings the good news. Encourage him in times of difficulty and opposition.

Do you, congregation of the Lord, pledge to receive him as you have been charged?

Answer [by the congregation in unison]: We do, God helping us.

Prayer
Merciful and sovereign Father, we praise and thank you for the good news of salvation which has come to us and must come to many more. We thank you for equipping and ordaining (name) for the work of evangelism as your ambassador and our representative. Fill him with your Spirit of truth. Give him love for those who are as yet sheep without a shepherd. Encourage him with fruit on his labor, and renew your mercies to him from day to day.

We pray for this congregation and each of its members. You have entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. Give us courage to declare your wonderful deeds and show your love to the world. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ and for the sake of his coming kingdom. Amen.