Dear Salvation Army, 3 Things Soldiers Should Know About Their Corps Officer

The Salvation Army is an unique body of Christ is it not?
With that being said, each corps is unique.  Each corps has its own specific strength(s) and its own specific weakness(es).  We can all recognize that challenges do come to our corps structure & ministry.  Sometimes soldiers can look at the present issues happening in the corps and cast a blanket of blame all upon the corps officers.  Sometimes the corps officer can look at the present issues happening in the corps and cast a blanket of blame all upon the soldiers.  Sometimes the blame is shared…sometimes it is not.

I do not wish to imply that all our corps are going through problems and concerns ALL THE TIME.  This is certainly not the case.  There have been some wonderful mountaintop experiences.  There have also been wonderful moments of fellowship, where we share with each other what is on our hearts.

Today I would like to provide some information to every soldier out there about your corps officer.
It is my hope that the next installment will include “3 things Corps Officers should know about their soldiers”, but today here are three things every soldiers should know about their corps officer.  Some of this might be obvious to some of you, but I will highlight these anyway.

1.  Corps Officers are people too!
I hate to burst your bubble here, but (shocking statement ahead) your corps officer is NOT perfect!  They are just people too!  They do make mistakes sometimes.  This shouldn’t be taken to mean that soldiers should be looking for those imperfections in their corps officers, but it does mean that we should all exercise a good measure of grace!   Some of the corps officers have families, and family events will take priority over other events.  This won’t always happen but recognize that just as you have a life apart from the Corps building your corps officer also has a life apart from the corps building.

Be mindful of how your criticize your corps officer.  It will be very easy to take your complaint to other soldiers in the form of gossip and slander.  Please watch what you say.  Your corps officer(s) have feelings as well.  I am not saying don’t criticize if criticism is necessary, but do it in a way that is God honoring…go to that corps officer.  Provide solutions in constructive criticism, don’t just be a grouchy corps member that offers only complaints but never offers any way to solve your concerns.
Your corps officer is a person too…so please be kind!

flag2.  They need encouragement too!
This leads to this next thing you should know about your corps officer.  They need encouragement from time to time.  The Army serves some of the hardest living people in your community.  There are things that your corps officer is doing for the corps behind the scenes that you may have no idea they are doing.   There are days of great discouragement that your corps officer goes through.  There will be times when your corps officer feels defeated and just wants to throw in the towel and quit.  You can become an awesome source of encouragement to them.  It doesn’t take much.  Perhaps a kind word from time to time.  Perhaps take them out for coffee or dinner.  Invite them over.  Show them love and that you appreciate them.  Perhaps you feel as if you “don’t like them” or you are looking forward to the next “move cycle” in hopes that they are moved.  BUT… let me ask you, have you taken the time to really get to know them?  Have you gone out of your way to encourage them?  Don’t give up on your corps officer, it could be that they are extremely discouraged and they just need to feel that they are loved and that they belong in your fellowship.  You may never see eye to eye, but you can be the reflection of Christ and encouragement to them!  Give it a try!

3.  They need leadership too!leadership
Your corps officer will most likely kiss and hug you if you become proactive in your corps and take the initiative to step up and lead in your corps!  Don’t just suggest things to do and programs to lead but expect the corps officer to do it all…they can’t, and more importantly you might be missing out on the blessing and challenge of leading something new and vital for your corps!  You take the lead.  You offer yourself up to serve.   You be that encouraging leader for your corps!  God has called you to step up and help!  We are an army of soldiers not just unthinking zombie-like followers.  I don’t mean any disrespect in that comment, but the army needs more strong godly leaders to take the initiative in their corps.  Will you be that leader to come along side your corps officer?

These are just three things every soldier should know about their corps officer!  This isn’t the end all and be all kind of list, it is only a primer to a much deeper conversation.

Uni1NEXT TIME: 3 Things Corps Officers Should Know About Their Soldiers!  
Something more for our army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

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20 Comments

  1. I would like to say that I agree that corps officer are not perfect but the congragation isn’t either. I have seen corps officers being ripped to shreds by those who thought they knew everything. Some think they knew more biblically but the sad thing they don’t .Some members are control freaks.They think they know everything and just want the glory for themselves. They don’t want to give the corps officer a chance.

  2. Yes Corps Officers are human. But did you know that officers are not allowed to tend to ailing parents in their quarters. I think this issue should be discussed with the General as some really good officers have had to drop out of service due to this very issue.

    I say shame on the army. As a child and teen then adult I was raised in the Army and did not know. Its appauling and needs addressing now

  3. I watched my parents struggle with these very issues, even though I didn’t understand what was going on at the time. My mother shared many of her struggles with me after they left the work and I was old enough to understand. I am sure there were many that she didn’t share. Like many Officers they were hurt by members of the corps and system. Soldiers/Christians we are all in this battle together against evil, marching forward and we need to do it together. We are the children of God which means we are all equal brothers and sisters in Christ and have equal amounts of responsibility even if we have different jobs to do.

  4. I believe that any intelligent person would realize that every organisation has its fare share of unrest, and in most cases you cannot be a good fella & a boss as well,however, in the Salvation Army there is no class distinction even in the area of rank. Everybody is on a level playing field, some have more work to do than others & some ( through choice) choose to do nothing.We must remember that in essence TSA is a tool we use so that we may enter different areas to perform our work e.g. spreading gods word, pastoral work or volunteering in a disaster. Essentially as individuals, what we do & where we belong is between that person and God.Respect for all is paramount no matter who or what they are, but that respect must be earn’t irregardless of your position.”treat others the way you would expect to be treated. Don,t expect others to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. most of us have heard the old saying ” if it’s too hot in the kitchen get out” and that won’t change your relation with God.

  5. Corps Officers need to be uplifted, prayed for. I agree with this whole article. Corps Officers though need to change ONE thing I have noticed in my time as a soldier.

    They are not a CEO. They are an Officer in the Salvation Army. They serve God first. They are not running a business. They are running a Corps. They must submit themselves to The Cross as well.

    1. This is so true, here in Australia so many ministers are trying to run their churches like a company not a mission under Christ. They seem to skip this verse “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.” the other one they seem to forget is “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

  6. Even Jesus had trouble with his disciples, but He just kept on loving them. This is what good officers do. I have seen it and I’m glad.

  7. Remember that the officers’ children have a hard time too. In my experience corps folk can ‘take it out’ on the officers’ children (OKs) and this causes friction in their lives. OKs lead a disrupted lives, which causes problems later on, and desperately need friends to help them settle in. They are not officers and need to be treated carefully. Remember, they are the source of potential officers and need nurturing. Officers need a calm home life, not having to help their children cope too.

  8. I sum it up by the maxim “people respond to praise better than criticism” – I use that in my involvement with a Brownie Pack I help with – and it works wonders – and older people are the same. If you believe in someone and show it, they usually respond in a good way.

  9. Some times D.H.Q. only see’s the officer. They don’t see the the make up of the corps. Culture, language, community make up. I think the salvation army in every territory in the U.S. should take a good look at their corps and the communities they are in before they point fingers at corps officers and the corps members. Communities have change in the pass 20 years, like culture, language and color. Place your officers where they can do best. Color is not important but language and culture is. D.H.Q. know these things before you appoint your officers to corps.

  10. I have been blessed enormously by All m6 past and current officers. When I first came to the S. A. I was a drunken slob. I can really say that each one contributed in their own special way to encourage and help me. Now after nearly 60 years, I can say that I would never have made it without the help of many great officers and the understanding of Rockdale Corps people. God bless the officers and each soldier Tom Stewart.

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