Dear Salvation Army Officer…

I wanted to talk with my fellow Officers for a moment today.

Just a simple dialogue.

Spoken or unspoken there is, within our officership, this need to prove ourselves worthy of more responsibilities and ministries to the point of unholy ambitions in our Army.  I am not saying don’t work hard, don’t do your best but if our intention is to “outshine” other fellow officers…If our intention is to “look better” than everyone else…if our intention is aimed at solely pleasing our leaders regardless of how we do that…we will have aimed at the wrong goals.

crest3Outcome Based Success…
Much of the time, our success seems to be based upon “goal oriented” outcomes.  In a business world this is understandable because in the business world they deal with numbers and figures.  Our primary purpose as an Army and as officers is for people and helping those people with the physical and the spiritual needs.  We cannot simply use goal oriented outcomes.  There is a danger of seeking success solely through these means of outcomes.  The danger is that we can lose focus on the very people we are attempting to save and serve.  It is often a fine line to walk.

What if we feel Unsuccessful in an Appointment? wounded
What happens, dear officers, when all that we feel about the place that we have been appointed to is failure and defeat?  What occurs in our hearts?  Is our self-worth tied up completely in living and dying by some sort of “success” meter in Officership?  If we do not have 100+ people coming to Holiness meetings on Sunday mornings then we are utter failures as officers?  Is that how we are to view appointments?  More than likely, on average, your Sunday services are a lot less than 100 people.  But why do we play the numbers game and think this is our measure of self-worth?  Were we misled to think this way?

I do remember coming out of Training College sort of living and breathing the song “We’re gonna fill, fill fill the world with glory!  We’re gonna smile, smile smile and not frown…”  But then the real world hit me square in the face.  The world, where in order for some people to receive the glory, hard work and love needs to take place first.  We serve in a mighty army but many that we serve are hurting, broken, spiritually wounded and stunted.  Miracles do happen but we cannot expect this calling to be a cake walk either.

nevermindBut Be Encouraged…
Although we face a lot of difficulties as Officers and often times we take the burdens of others home with us, we are not alone in this fight!  We are soldiers and we serve, first and foremost, the Commander of this Army – Jesus Christ!  He has commissioned those Christ-followers to make disciples…and in our Army, perhaps this translates to one or two people in our corps right now.  Perhaps it’s not so much about absolute victory in our communities right now, but rather the healing and restoration of a few hurting souls that we already know.

Let earthly success worry about itself…take off that heavy burden that sometimes has been thrust upon us by misleading notions of heavenly success.  Let’s do our best, but don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing in the process.  Losing sight of our principle relationship to the Lord can will cause us to lose sight of every other priority!

We are One Army…be encouraged dear Officer, we serve a mighty God who will provide us the means and direction for the future with and sometimes in spite of those who lead the way.
Something more to ponder today in our Army.
To God Be The Glory!

3 thoughts on “Dear Salvation Army Officer…

Add yours

  1. These comments are poignant and probably spot on (never having an officer …). I have to wonder how many of these challenges are driven by personal characteristics and how many by the Army’s culture, or how many of the former are driven or compounded by the latter.

    Sometimes it seems as if officers separate themselves from soldiers (purposely?), not accessing the life and career success some have and would love to share.

    Might there be situations where appropriate soldiers could partner with an officer to provide encouragement, coaching, just general support beyond their congregational role? I would think such a partnership could be a strong benefit for the individuals, the corps, the Army!

  2. WOW – again you have hit the nail on the head for all of us who seek to save those who are lost. As I read this, I kept thinking about a story I wrote in my book “Turning Water into Wine” about how ministers/Christians in the other churches are faced with the same pressure. However their pressure doesn’t always come from the hierarchy of the Church but from the members of their congregations/society. Do we play the numbers/hours game (the number of people we reach out to or the number of hours we put into church activities) or do we look to Christ and ask Him what we would like us to do today, everyday? The devil loves to see us rushing around doing things that distract us rather than keeping our eyes focused on Christ our Saviour. He is also very good at discouraging us by trying to convince us to measure up to others around us. Christ has called us to be faithful, regardless of who we are. He wants us to be faithful in the office, kitchen, garden or the pulpit depending of where He has put us, not where we think we or others would like to us to be.

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