In a continuation of the conversation yesterday –
We have probably all witnessed the struggle our Army has had in some regions of the world recently to recruit and commission able bodied Officers. As the “World for God” extends into new communities and frontiers we find more and more that we are running low on willing and able personnel to fill these appointments.
Questions we must ponder on this issue:
Why are we so short on soldiers to fill our ranks as future officers?
What can be done to continue to “fill the world with glory” and still produce quality officers to boldly proclaim the name of Christ? Are we out of touch with younger generations? Could it be that the uniform is to blame? Are there just more opportunities now that weren’t there before to other generations?
Are we losing quality soldiers in our Army who could be future officers because new opportunities outside of the Army in other ministries and even vocations takes them away?
Secondly, has it become quantity over quality?
All too often I question if we as an Army have pushed too hard to produce in quantity new red trimmed Officers while at the same time we have failed to adequately prepare them for the work ahead. I question whether this push has elevated some who are willing but might never be able to fulfill such a calling. Please don’t misinterpret that statement to sound pretentious or arrogant, but perhaps at times we do settle for the willing over the willing and able to meet certain “quotas” of officers in territories. I also do not want to short change the work of the Holy Spirit here within this “calling”. I know full well that the Holy Spirit can and will call those to lead in our Army but within our methods of recruitment towards potential future officers are we forcing results?
Sometimes there is this atmosphere of panic in the Army. Perhaps it is never spoken but it is felt when the list of accepted candidates comes out and for some reason it seems rather small (compared to other “more bountiful years”). Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying and I don’t wish to imply anything negatively here, but there is a perception of numeric success even within these lists of potential future officers. It makes me question if at times our push for more and more candidates creates a notion that Officership is for everyone, when it is in fact a calling not specifically a profession. I don’t mean to elevate this position above anything else within our Army because everything serves a purpose, but when we commission some who really weren’t called but simply signed up because it was convenient or pushed upon them…are we selling ourselves short? Are we really being faithful to God? Will God honor this sort of selection? To be fair we must recognize that this isn’t always the norm…but have certain territories hit the panic button in recent years?
Wrong Reasons For Becoming An Officer –
(Erroneous Ones As Well)
#1 Free House
#2 Free Vehicle
#3 The Pay
#4 The Adventure of Moving
#5 Pressured into it
#6 No Other Prospects of Employment
#7 Always Wanted to Wear Red Trim
There are many more wrong reasons why some want or have become officers. Some on this list may seem silly to you, but I have heard some of these rationales from real people. Granted in some territories the concept of becoming an Officer may seem like a safe, comfortable choice of vocations. Many fail to recognize the demands of such a calling. The life of an Officer is not glamorous or flashy. It is not easy at times. Sure there are blessings associated with the calling to become an Officer but there are burdens as well. <<This is why I will probably NEVER be asked to become any kind of candidate secretary>>>…I do not want to sugar coat the ministry of our Army.
Honorable Reasons For Becoming An Officer –
#1 You have felt God’s calling on Your Life to make this decision.
#2 This isn’t “plan B” but a passion to serve the Lord as an Officer.
#3 You have strong desire to serve other people from every walk of life.
#4 You are prepared to serve in the good times and in the not so good times.
#5 You have a passion for holiness and are currently responding to God’s prodding on your life.
There are more honorable reasons for becoming an Officer but these are just a few the spring to mind while in this conversation.
TWO WARNING SIGNS:
For Territorial, Divisional, & Corps –
Beware of pushing people into “the ministry” of Officership. We all recognize the need to fill appointments and to have sufficient personnel on the field…but perhaps at times we have to trust in the Lord more than we do. We have to trust that He is going to provide the right people for the right appointing. This doesn’t mean we don’t put that call out for more candidates, it simply means that perhaps we wait a little longer on the Lord to provide willing AND able Men and Women for this sacred duty.
For Soldiers & Potential Candidates –
Beware of jumping too quickly into a full-time ministry as a Candidate or potential Officer. Pray in earnest for the right direction. Pray for God to reveal to you His path for your life. I am not discouraging anyone from becoming an Officer but make sure your decision to “sign up” is for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. Talk it over with family and friends and talk it over with your Corps Officer. We need Officers in our Army but at the same time do not sell yourself short or sell the Army short and settle for being willing but not able to fulfill such a arduous calling.
“Get On With It!”
Perhaps the panic button has been hit a time or two in various territories, but I also know that there are some very godly men and women leading the charge to recruit and to commission new Officers of The Salvation Army. It is not a glamorous lot, but it is a vital role to play. Are you willing AND able? For soldiers and officers who are neither willing nor able I would advise you do one of two things – Pray for the Lord to restore your ministry and passion for the lost souls in your communities and get on with it or get out of the way so that others may rise up and take your place. This may sound harsh, but if we do not have holy sanctified officers or future holy sanctified officers rising up we will have lost our mission and vision as an Army. God forgive us if we lose sight of His purpose for our lives and for the hope of restoration to the lost. Get on with it!
I never thought I would be discussing this today…but praise the Lord for His leading! Something further for our Army to ponder.