Gospel Readings and Teachings

Planning A Pastor Installation Service

Planning A Pastor Installation Service

You may have been helping your church organize a pastor installation service for the first time or many times before. Either way, it can be a challenge to keep track of everything that goes into planning a service like this. Luckily, there are some things you can do ahead of time that will make the whole process easier on everyone involved. Here are some tips for organizing an installation service:

Decide on the leaders.

Next, decide on the leaders.

  • Choose the pastor’s installation team. The pastor-elect should choose his/her installation team at least several weeks before the service if possible. Ideally, this group will consist of other ordained clergy and lay people who are well respected by their peers in the church body and have a reputation for being godly leaders. This can be a hard process, but it’s worth taking time to find people who will support you as you step into this new role.
  • Decide on someone to install you as pastor of your church body (usually called a charge).

The person who installs pastors is often called upon to give a charge or charge sermon during an installation service because he/she is considered to be an authority within his/her congregation’s tradition or denomination about what it means to be God’s representative for all these years ahead (you will probably also want him/her involved in some way at your ordination).

Plan an install ceremony.

  • Plan and rehearse a service.
  • The service should be led by the pastor and deacons and should have at least four components: sermon, prayer, blessing, and meal.

Organize the guest list.

  • Invite the pastor’s family.
  • Invite the church’s leadership, staff and members. You’ll want to invite those who have been involved with the process of choosing your new lead pastor. If they aren’t able to attend, be sure to send them a card or letter of thanks for their involvement in this process.
  • Include members of other churches in the community that you may partner with or refer people too (i.e., hospitals, social service agencies) and let them know about your ministry opportunity in their community if appropriate for what you do together.
  • Include visitors from other churches who may have visited yours recently or as part of an ecumenical delegation/visitation program (if applicable). This is also a good time to thank pastors who have been guests of honor at previous services so that they can return this favor if possible (i.e., guest preaching).

Write a service order.

Once you have decided on the date and time for your service, it’s time to start writing a service order. A service order is much like an outline for a sermon. It should include the opening remarks, scripture reading and prayer. It should also list any special music you plan on using, if any announcements need to be made and what songs are being chosen as offertory selections.

A written document will help ensure that all participating parties are clear on their roles during the installation process so that there are no surprises or disappointments when it comes time for each person to perform their part in front of the congregation.

Dedicate the Bible.

It’s a good idea to dedicate the new Bible, so that it becomes the congregation’s property. This can be done in conjunction with the installation service, or at another time during church services.

Suggested language:

  • “This Bible has been dedicated to use by _____ Church in recognition of our pastor/pastor-elect/deacon(s) as he/she begins his/her ministry.”
  • “We dedicate this Bible in honor of ______’s family, who are with us today on this special occasion.”

Discuss ministry with the pastor.

Before the service, talk with your pastor about his vision for the church. Ask him what he sees as the biggest ministry challenges and opportunities for the church. Ask him to share his ideas on how to address these issues in his ministry at your church.

Discuss with your pastor what kind of foundation you would like him to establish in order to begin building a strong ministry with potential for growth and success.

Plan refreshments, lunch or dinner.

The meal is an important part of any celebration. Be sure to plan a hearty, healthy meal that will please all of your guests. It’s also important to serve food in a timely manner so that people can enjoy the service and get home at a reasonable hour.

In addition to planning the right type of food for your pastor installation service, you will want to consider how much food should be prepared and served at each meal that day. A small crowd? Bigger crowd? Will there be children present? Is this an afternoon or evening event?

It’s also important to take into account cultural preferences when planning your menu; while most people would probably enjoy traditional American cuisine like burgers and fries, others may find them offensive because they are different from what they are used to eating.

You can use these skills to help your church organize a pastor installation service that will honor both the new pastor and the previous ones who have served your congregation well.

These are some of the skills you have that can help your church organize a pastor installation service that will honor both the new pastor and the previous ones who have served your congregation well.

Organize a pastor installation service that will honor both the new pastor and the previous ones who have served your congregation well.

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