Monday, March 2, 2009

Rite of De-Ordination

Is a pastor still a pastor after he retires?  In our experience, there seem to be three distinct schools of thought on this issue:

1.  Yes
2.  No
3.  Don’t you have anything better to think about?

To those in the third group, we can honestly answer, “Not at the moment.”  Therefore, for those in group two, we offer the following in keeping with the Apostle Paul’s mandate that everything be done in good order.

Opening Hymn:  “Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended”

Officiating Pastor:  Beloved in the Lord, Pastor _______ had been called by the Lord of the Church into the Office of the Holy Ministry of the Word and Sacraments.  He has served faithfully in his calling as (Senior, Associate, Assistant, Youth, Administrative, Worship, Outreach, Inreach, Visitation, Education, Prayer, Women’s Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Pet Ministry, etc.) Pastor of __________ (Evangelical) Lutheran Church from his installation until now.  As he has successfully reached his seventy-second year of life, I, in the presence of God and this congregation, now remove from him the responsibility and authority of preaching the Word and administering the Sacraments.

God gathers His Church by and around His Holy Gospel and thereby also grants it growth and increase according to His good pleasure.  That this may be done, He has established the Office of the Holy Ministry into which you had been called by the Church and are now to be removed from by prayer and the laying on of hands.

Do you believe and confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice?

Candidate:  I do.

Officiating Pastor:  Do you believe and confess the three Ecumenical Creeds, namely the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, as faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and do you reject all the errors which they condemn?

Candidate:  I do.

Officiating Pastor:  Do you confess the Unaltered Augsburg Confession to be a true exposition of Holy Scripture and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church?  And do you confess that the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord – as these are contained in the Book of Concord – are also in agreement with this one scriptural faith?

Candidate:  I do.

Officiating Pastor:  Do you promise that you will no longer perform the duties of the Office in accordance with these Confessions?

Candidate:  Yes, I promise with the help of God.

(The candidate kneels.  The Officiating Pastor places his hands on the candidate’s head.)

Officiating Pastor:  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:62)

______, I de-ordain and de-consecrate you from the Office of the Holy Ministry of the Word and Sacraments of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

(The assisting pastors remove the candidate’s stole, black Geneva, and Christian fish tie.  The candidate surrenders his NIV Bible to the Officiating pastor.  The assisting pastors give the candidate his Social Security and Medicare applications.  The candidate recesses in silence.  The Officiating Pastor and assisting pastors will be ushered out during the closing hymn.)

Closing Hymn:  "Abide with Me", v. 4 


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Why wait until he's 72? We're fascinated with results! Jesus is the owner of the church, and the pastor is his CEO! We should get rid of the pastor who under-performs!

Rev. Paul Beisel said...

Absolutely priceless.

Rev. Paul L. Beisel