I am certainly not advocating trying these out today in your corps, actually I’m pleading for all of us to do the opposite. Our various ministries can, and should be paramount to our faith and to those we serve. How we lead others, how we conduct ourselves in our corps makes a difference!
With that being said, dear Soldier, here are 5 ways to kill a Corps!
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
The Fastest way to burn your corps down to the ground is to strike the match of the malicious tongue that wags and pierces hearts. Be aware of what you say and how you say things. No one likes to be around people who are asinine in their speech and malicious in their actions and opinions of others. Gossip has no place in the corps, unless you long for it to die a slow and agonizing death.
We know that gossip shouldn’t be, but why do we tolerate it and even entertain it in our halls? Dear Salvationist, have nothing to do with idle chatter and people who only want to slander and smear the truth. (2 Timothy 2:23).
“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? 7 Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?” (James 2:1-6 NASB)
It even happens in Corps buildings.
It might not necessarily be about rich and poor, but perhaps personalities and someone’s available gifts. An Officer can favor only a specific few corps members and by doing so, unknowingly cause dissension, envy and strife. The same can be said for local officers who choose corps members to help them in their daily duties. Be fair to all who come into your halls! Show love and compassion and be aware that favoritism can happen even if we’re not cognizant of it. Favoritism is a true, perhaps unseen danger in our corps, and if left unchecked will cause jealousy, anger and disharmony to occur which can lead to a terminal corps.
3. Lording Power
“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder andwitness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will ofGod; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)
This Salvation Army was founded upon a militant structure and sometimes we can get carried away with ourselves in places of leadership and authority. Many of us have heard story after story where, one who was entrusted with power and authority, has used it in very unbiblical ways to hurt others. I would hope that this is not the norm, but rather isolated incidents of worldly ambitions becoming visible to all.
Dear Soldier, be keenly aware of the pending dangers of authority and power. If you are or ever become entrusted with any kind of power – use it wisely and with every amount of Holiness that you can muster! What you say, how you lead, what you do – makes the world a difference! Although we have a militant structure, keep in mind who is the head of our army – it certainly isn’t me or you, or even the General – It is the King of kings and Lord of lords!! Be good leaders! Be kind leaders. Be wise leaders. Set a godly standard by exercising grace, love and hope.
2. Find Fault In Everything and Everyone!
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” (Romans 14:1-2)
I have met some deeply cynical people in my day. Many were housed within the corps…these individuals could never be pleased no matter how hard one might try. No matter what took place, these individuals always saw the negative and very rarely the positive. After time, no one wanted anything to do with them, because bitterness tends to bleed into the very fabric of our corps buildings if we let it.
This blazing fire that could consume your corps, is like that of gossip. It can invade and taint everything it touches. People become disillusioned by it because no matter how hard you try fault and imperfections are always seem instead.
Examples (just to name a few):
“Well Captain, the service is just too dry for my tastes…”
“That worship band plays too loudly and I hate that sort of music…”
“We’ve never done it that way before, and we’re not about to try!”
“That man in the back has been coming to our corps for three weeks and he smells…”
“I might stop coming to the corps because _______(name here)___ is still there and they are horrible people!”
Sometimes, these nay-sayers use the old phrase “This and better will do” to justify their salty – never satisfied – fault finding attitudes that they have. The problem isn’t everyone else, the problem stems from these individuals who can find nothing good to say…ever! Don’t the the corps burn to ground because of fault-finders and judgmental people!
1. Abdicate All Leadership and Responsibilities
“Let someone else do it!”
“I don’t have the time to come to corps programs and activities…”
Corps Officer – “So, who will lead adult Sunday School for the next three months?” (silence fills the space…no one volunteers even though there are many capable individuals in the room)
This Army isn’t fully functional until ALL capable members of our corps are engaged and serving! Officers – you cannot abdicate your calling and role in the corps! Soldiers, you cannot let or conceive that all things done in the corps is the sole responsibility of the officer!
If we want our corps to die – then never step up.
If we want to preach to empty pews during holiness meetings – then never lead.
We can die by not taking responsibility. We can allow stagnation to set in and wilt away as one generation dies and there is no one left to take their place.
If you suffer from self-esteem issues or you question if you’re good enough to lead – you can do it! You just need one person to believe in you. We all make mistakes, it comes with the territory of leadership. Being responsible means we own up to our victories and our failures…and then we keep going and we don’t quit simply because the going got tough. We need more soldiers and officers with backbones – there I’ve said it. It’s not a slam again those who are faithfully serving (Thank you for what you do both behind the scene and in front of everyone!)…we cannot afford to abdicate our authority and leadership IF this is where God has called us to! Be faithful in the good times AND in the not so good times! This Army needs you! It needs good leaders! It needs consistent, prayer driven leaders.
Wrapping it up.
So this is my top 5, it’s a primer…what’s yours?
Share with us your top 5 things that will kill any corps from your experiences!
Together, we can avoid these pitfalls!
Something more for the Army world to ponder today!
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent The Salvation Army’s thoughts and opinions, reader discretion is advised*