Whether your parish chooses to hold a special pastor installation service or works the spiritual rite into a typical Sunday service, it is important to set the right tone. A sermon or homily, special prayer and music are all essential components of pastor installation services. Pastoral duties should be the overriding theme of the ceremony.
The following program is a sample service outline from the website Opposing Views:
Installation Service Prayer, Song and Music
Choose an elder of the church who is mature in the faith and can perform an opening prayer. Have the prayer mention the new pastor and offer praise to God for bringing a new leader to the church. The songs and music for the service should be uplifting yet fit the style of the church. Because this is a festive occasion, a soloist or special musical performance can be included as well.
A welcoming message can be delivered by a moderator, elder, other pastor, or church board member. The message should focus on the duties and responsibilities of the pastor being installed, while also tying in the teachings of the Bible. The installation sermon doesn't need to be as lengthy as a typical sermon.
Charge to the Pastor
The charge is a statement outlining the task of the pastor and what is expected of him as he takes up his ministry. Ideally, the charge should be carried out by a church elder, board member or the moderator of the service, and it should feature readings from scripture that support the biblical duties of a pastor. The charge must feature wording that asks if the pastor is willing to accept his responsibilities. The new pastor must respond by saying, "I will," or a similar phrasing of acceptance.
Here is a sample Charge to the Pastor from Shady Grove Baptist Church:
A Charge to Pastor: As an ambassador of Christ, you are to preach and teach the pure doctrine of God's Word, administer the Sacraments according to Christ's institution, instruct the young in the way of salvation, counsel the inquiring, strengthen the weak, seek the lost and reclaim the straying, comfort the sorrowing, care for the needy, visit the sick, minister to the dying, and pray for the spiritual welfare of every soul under your care. You are to devote yourself to the meditation and study of the Scriptures and carry out your duties in conformity with the Word of God. You (and your family) are to be an example to others in godliness and Christian living, putting no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that the ministry will not be discredited. The Apostle Paul says, here is a trustworthy saying: "If any one sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. " (I Timothy 3:1-4, 6, 7) Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship; do the work of an evangelist; discharge all the duties of your ministry. (II Timothy 4: 2, 5)
Charge to the Congregation
The congregation then must be charged to uphold their responsibilities to the new pastor. This charge can include elements such as adhering to the teachings of the Bible, carrying out the duties of Christians, and holding the new pastor accountable to the commitment that was just made. The congregation must be given the opportunity to agree to the charge, similar to the way in which the pastor was given his charge.
Here is a sample charge to the congregation from a blog called Presbydestrian:
By calling and installing (…) into this position, you have all affirmed that he/she is indeed the person that God has called to be your pastor. Trusting that God knows what God is doing, open yourselves fully to his/her leadership and guidance. When he/she tries new things, support him/her. When he/she does something different than the way it’s always been done, trust him/her. When he/she leads, follow. In doing so, you not only enable him/her to be the best pastor, but you allow yourselves to be the people that the Holy Spirit is leading you to be.
For a full rundown of installation service elements, click here.
If you are looking for more context or a precise example of a specific service element, check out the video below. It captures a full installation service from First Baptist Church of Wayne, Pennsylvania.