Dear Salvation Army – Favoritism & Leadership

A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”      -John Maxwell

Here is my mistake – I am guilty of showing favoritism.  

Favoritism: I have caught myself doing this in my ministry.
Perhaps you have caught yourself doing this too…if not, good job, nicely done!  


Favoritism can also be a crutch for leadership.  Some leaders refuse to do the hard work in developing others for certain tasks, and instead appoint people that they know, they appoint their friends.  Pretty soon, instead of iron sharpening iron, there is only “yes” people available in this in-bred leadership model.  This type of favoritism happens in our army.  As I have already said, I have been equally guilty of it from time to time.  Sometimes it is effective, but is it right?  No.  Other times it stifles growth, creates conflict and disharmony among the body.  

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” -James 2:1-4

I understand this verse was written to a specific group of people thousands of years ago, but unfortunately human nature has not changed much since then.  We are still guilty, at times, of showing favoritism even in our army world.  It usually doesn’t come in the form of serving the poor, but it does come in the form of selecting local officer leaders in corps, and in a wider focus in selecting specific officers for certain tasks.  I think it happens more than we all care to admit, for to admit something like this indicts us all.  

Questions to consider:
Who do you surround yourself with?  Are they all “yes” people?  If you are in leadership: who have you selected to serve in leadership roles?  Are they your friends?  Are they people you have shown favor?  Are we willing to take a hard look at how we conduct ourselves in leadership?  What is the principle of our purpose?  Do we hold that principle as priority in all that we do?  

Chosen Last On The Team:

Do you remember the school games we used to play?  Two captains were usually chosen to pick teams.  Little by little children were picked based on their skill set, or how those captains viewed those kids.  Finally the last few were picked and, for that last child picked, there was that sinking feeling.  That sadness in the heart.  The captains would sometimes fight over having to pick that last kid.  “You take him, I don’t want him.”  “No. you, it’s your turn to take him, I had him last time!”  

Those moments are never the brightest of humanity’s light, but it certainly carries over into adulthood more than we care to admit. I was luckily never that kid to be picked last, I was one of those athletic kids and sometimes I was one of those captains begging for the other captain to take the last child…I’m not proud of that.  

Thankfully Jesus never operated on a “favoritism” principle.  He could have gone right to the synagogue and selected the best and the brightest to be His disciples.  He could have drafted the best, most articulate talent for His disciple-squad, but He didn’t.  He could see into the hearts of people.  He didn’t select the most socially adept.  He picked hardworking, rough around the edges, common folk to become His disciples.  He chose the “last picked” as His first choice.   He chose some who were considered the pariah of society.  He blazed a trail in His selection and He did not display favoritism of any kind in doing so.  

To The Last:
If you have been on the brunt end of favoritism in your life or even in this Army, know this – Christ has picked YOU!  You matter to Him!  You are needed!  He wants to develop in you a lasting love that can reach lives only you are capable of reaching!  He believes in YOU!  Do not doubt your importance in His kingdom!  It doesn’t matter how other people see you.  It doesn’t even matter if you are never chosen by “those leaders”.  He, God, Creator of the Universe has chosen You!  

To The Leader:
Be mindful of how we conduct ourselves as leaders.  Be careful how we select those around us.  Watch out for the pitfalls of favoritism and inbred leadership amongst “yes” people.  When we fall into this trap we might, for a time, discover decisions are made with little to no resistance but in the long run we need even those who respectfully disagree with us.  Don’t chose leaders because they are our friends or we “like” them more than others.  Consider the variables.  Take chances on people.  Don’t hurt them, or punish opposing views.  Don’t isolate or ostracize.  Cultivate trust.  Listen to others you lead…actually listen.   Pray about decisions before you make them.  Attempt, in all situations, to reflect Christ.  

Remember: “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

Something more for our army to ponder today!  


4 thoughts on “Dear Salvation Army – Favoritism & Leadership

Add yours

  1. I know you may have been pondering these thought for a while, but I cannot tell you how timely they are. I spent my entire day yesterday asking myself the question why am I here? You have blessed me with an understanding and a reminder of God’s kingdom purposes.

  2. In every day life if we always choose or think we are choosing the best, how will anyone learn to be what God has choosen us to be! By showing favoritism we hold back the capable! I see it often and have been guilty of doing it, so thank you for reminding me its our job to teach if we are in the position to do so! God Bless Major!!😇⚡️⚡️😇

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