If you are asked to give a congregational blessing, we recommend getting a copy of Create Pathways of Peace in the World. The information below is excerpted from this resource. It has some wonderful guidelines and suggestions for all stages of a congregational blessing.
Conversation Starters for Pastors and Leaders
How do we know that a congregation needs a blessing and that this is the right time? Many requests will come from the pastor, who spends much time in prayer and concern. Often, the Holy Spirit will initiate the request. Local evangelists many times also feel the congregation’s need and the movement of the Spirit, which calls for a blessing.
Evangelists will want to learn the needs, hopes, and expectations that underlie the request. Knowing the congregational participation (a significant majority, or just a few) also is critical.
The call to blessing may come when a congregation is in need or in transition. Members may need to experience the Divine’s embrace to remember their worth and become whole. Or they may be in transition and need the Holy Spirit to help navigate changes they experience or anticipate. Examples of critical opportunities for a congregational blessing include:
- The congregation experiences several losses through death, conflict, or moves and is discouraged.
- A new mission effort brings the fruit of many new families, and the congregation’s makeup changes radically.
- New opportunities present themselves, and the congregation wants to discern which avenue to follow.
- The congregation recognizes that it has been greatly blessed and wishes to join in common mission.
All of these and more can prompt suggestions for the sacrament, with anticipation that the blessing might help strengthen the congregation, discover and release talents, heal wounds, reaffirm worth, and identify mission.
Preparing for the Blessing with the Congregation
Planning the blessing process
Preparation for the congregation before the blessing
Giving the Blessing
The congregational blessing takes place within the context of a worship service. All elements of the service are planned carefully because we know we are offering God the best we have and are honored to participate.
Ministry Following the Blessing
The congregational blessing is an inspiring, instructional, and deeply valued “moment” in the life of any congregation. While it clearly is important that careful planning and preparation precede the special experience of blessing, it is equally vital that careful planning be done for afterward.
Suggestions and ideas for continuing ministry following the blessing.
These samples have been shared by actual congregations who have journeyed through the blessing process. They are from a variety of steps along the process and can give you some good ideas as you enter into a congregational blessing experience.