Commissioning is a word with many meanings.
Looking on the internet one definition said that “Commissioning is the process of specifying, securing and monitoring services to meet people’s needs at a strategic level.” While that is interesting, it is not quite what I was thinking.
Thinking it through I came up with four different uses of the word, or words related to it
1. To get paid a commission, is to get paid a fee for selling something. This is common in and widely used in a range of transactions.
2. Then there are Commissions as bodies; things like Royal Commissions, various Commissions of Inquiry, the Human Rights Commission or Equal Opportunity Commission. I even was the director or one for 5 years called The Anglican Social Responsibilities Commission.
Someone once said that it was a committee with a mission.
3. Then we have Commissioners, like the Commissioner of Police
4. finally there is the verb when it is used to commission something. This may be bringing something newly produced into working order, or to pay someone to produce something like a painting.
The last three all have a similar thread; and all three sort of roll into what I think commissioning is. It is the granting of authority, or authorising and I guess that is the commonality to the three streams of thinking around commissioning.
Of course, the most famous commissioning is the section of Scripture is known as the Great Commission. It was the last recorded personal directive of Jesus to his disciples, it holds great significance to followers of Christ.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)