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

Last week I wrote part 1 of this “two sided coin” so to speak – 3 Things Soldiers Should Know About Their Corps Officer(s)

Today I would like to conclude the second side of the coin on the topic of “things the Corps Officer should know about their Soldiers!”  Understandably without Soldiers in our corps doing the amazing work that they do, we are hopelessly lost!  We need strong soldiers to lead.  We need strong leaders to help the Corps Officers.  I understand that sometimes these two dynamics in the corps does not “gel” the way it should.  Both sides of this coin ought to recognize that we are all on the same team…but sometimes, unfortunately, it doesn’t feel that way.  I believe Satan thrives upon our disunity and polarizing leadership directions.  He wants us to fail.  We, often times, will fail in our corps, not because we lack the appropriate resources to complete the mission, but because we can’t see eye to eye, or we all think that we know what is best for the corps and we take opposing directions.

The Corps is the forefront of The Salvation Army mission – make no mistake about that!
Yes, vital lifesaving missions are also located in the Harbor Light, and ARC’s and Schools and Shelters, and in a way they are a corps unto themselves.  At the Corps level we engage the enemy and we see the hopelessness of those who come to us for help!  This fight isn’t just about who the Corps Officer is (it was never about that in the first place) but about who will lead and who will serve Christ in every aspect of this mission to the lost.
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3 Things Corps Officers Should Know About Their Soldiers:

1.  They Are The Long-term Investors
Local Officers and Soldiers have been there long before you came to that appointment, and they will be there a long time after you are gone.  They have invested in that the local Corps’ mission.  They understand that community probably much better than you ever will, no matter what education you might have and what your grade point average was at Training College.  I do not mean to sound snarky here by any means, I simply wish to convey how invested most soldiers are to that current Corps.  They are the backbone of the corps…or at least they should be.  Sometimes (and I know this is true) Corps Officers have run over Soldiers and Local Officers to accomplish what they believe the direction of the corps should be.  Sometimes this has happened the other way around as well.  Every Corps is different, this much is true, but when Corps Officers and Soldiers work together side-by-side, we work for the same purpose, the same cause.  Understand, Corps Officers, that your Soldiers and Local Officers are the Long-term investors of your corps!

2.  They Want To Be Led By Godly, Consistent Officers! uniform
Corps Officers, it is imperative that we lead our corps and its constituents in a godly manner.
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:2-4
Yes, hold your local officers and soldiers accountable, but be accountable to these same standards as well!
Don’t ask something of others that you yourself aren’t willing to do either.  Be the kind of leader that leads by example and does the hard work right along with your soldiers!  God honors holy leaders who are consistent in word and deed!  Be consistent leaders!  Lead by humility and love, not by power and might!  Don’t lord over others with your authority, after all, you can and will be replaced one day.  Invest in your soldiers, but also give fully of yourself where possible.

flags3.  Delegate, Lean And Learn!
There is a HUGE difference between a seasoned Officer and a salty one.  Don’t be a salty one!  There will be difficult days as officers in this Army.  There will be times when you will want to take out your frustrations upon soldiers.  Choose your battles wisely.  Confront when you need to confront, but do so in love and by first praying about every situation that you face!
If you think of yourself as Super-Officer that wears a navy blue and red cape and one who doesn’t need any help from soldiers and local officers, then you need to kill Super-Officer.  There, I’ve said it for all soldiers everywhere.  YOU. CAN’T. DO. EVERYTHING. YOURSELF.  So stop trying to be Super-Officer, because Super-Officer will ultimately burn out, fade away and become discontent.

Corps Officers, you need to understand the vital usage of delegation.  Moses couldn’t do everything and so, thankfully he began to delegate responsibilities.  Don’t hold the reins of everything so tightly that you begin to slowly strangle your corps to death.  Let others lead when you have individuals willing and able to lead.  It may not meet your standards at first, but trust them, teach them…don’t enable your soldiers to always rely on the Officer to do everything!  You shortchange and stunt the growth of your soldiers and leaders when you become Super-Officer who leads and does everything!  So get rid of Super Officer, and delegate, teach and lean on your Soldiers!

Lastly, do not think for a minute that you have learned all there is to know about leadership, and that your soldiers and local officers can’t teach you something new!  Always be pliable and teachable yourself!  Recognize that book-learning sometimes isn’t enough and that life-learning can aid you to become a better, more godly Officer.   Your Corps, your present appointment can and will teach you something wonderful if you are available to be taught.  Do not become so prideful in your abilities that you become arrogant and incapable of the kind of change that you yourself preach about from the pulpit to others.

These are just three things Corps Officers should know about their Soldiers.
There are many more…but it begins by listening.
It begins by listening to the Holy Spirit, to your Soldiers and to the community that you serve!
So listen, lead your flock that are long-term investors, and lead them well!  Allow them to teach you something.  Allow them to learn with you.  Help them develop into the best leaders that they can be as well!  Together we can accomplish this great mission.  Together we are a stronger army!  What say you?

Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

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