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!
2. 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!
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.