God Called, Appointed and Commissioned

October 16, 2017 | Virlys Moller

The evening of Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, members of Sunnyside Church in Portland, Ore., along with friends and family from near and far, gathered for the commissioning service for Kara Dale Johnsson, Sunnyside assistant pastor. 

In the spring of 2015, Johnsson moved from her home and pastoral duties in Brisbane, Australia, to follow God’s calling to serve at Sunnyside Church. In Brisbane she had interned as both a pastor and chaplain. On completion of her internship, she continued as an associate pastor as well as being given a church of her own to lead. 

It was as a young woman in academy Johnsson first felt the heart call to pastoral ministry. Her next years included a year as a volunteer teacher in Bangkok, Thailand, years studying to be a teacher at Avondale College in Australia, and four years as an academy English teacher.

However, never far from her mind was the idea of entering pastoral ministry. After a year of prayer and much thought, Johnsson went back to the seminary at Avondale, where she graduated with distinction.

Once at Sunnyside, Johnsson quickly won the hearts of her new church family. Johnsson brings to her ministry thoughtfulness, a warm personality, love for people and love for God. Little wonder so many of her parishioners were filling the pews for her commissioning service.

A commissioning service affirms the work of God and His call to the gospel ministry. Mark 3:13–15 tells of the commissioning of Jesus’ disciples — the call, appointment and commissioning to be His disciples and to carry out His work.

William Johnsson, formerly of the General Conference and also one of Kara’s mentors, traveled from his home in Loma Linda, Calif., to speak to Kara and to the congregation about the importance of the call, the appointment and the commissioning as it relates to her life and work.

The commissioning prayer, offered by Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president, was expanded from the laying on of hands by the pastors in attendance to an invitation to the congregation to join in the prayer of dedication. Kara chose Prov. 3:3–6 to include in the program booklet. This passage ends with the familiar promise, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”