Dear Salvationist, 3 Things Your CO Doesn’t Tell You

Every corps has its challenges.
Each community that we, Corps Officers have the pleasure of serving in is also uniquely different.  Sometimes the life of an Officer can be a lonely place, while other times COs are surrounded by love and support…it certainly comes in seasons.

today, my Dear Salvationists, I would like to share with you
3 Things Your Corps Officer Doesn’t Tell You (But maybe should).
Officers, correct me if I’m wrong…I’m not opening a can of worms I haven’t already confronted within my own life, and perhaps this is all relative to our own uniquenesses (I just made up a word).

here goes…

struggle1) Sometimes CO’s struggle spiritually too…
I hope this doesn’t come as a complete shock to any of you.  Sarcasm aside, the truth is, just because your corps officer is a pastor/preacher/social worker/counselor/janitor/chef…and more, doesn’t mean that they have perfected holiness by any means.  We. Still. Struggle.  We may not always have the answers to all of your spiritual questions, but we will sure try to find out those answer for you and with you.  There are days when we feel beat up, kicked around and we just want to pack it in.  There are days when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears and, yes we also experience those dry and thirsty places.  Your Corps Officer is, and will never be perfect in your eyes or everyone’s eyes for that matter.  We are not perfect, we are still human and we are also prone to making mistakes.  These spiritual struggles aren’t crisis points, no, instead, this is life – and we live it just like you do, and anyone who says otherwise isn’t telling you the truth.

budget2) Many Times We Are Stressed Out About Finances
Running a corps and connecting in the community takes a lot of effort and work.
There are times when your CO might not admit it, but they could be deeply stressed about finances – especially during major fund raising events like Christmas!   The reality is, if the money isn’t there employees and services could get cut, and this truly hurts us.  We pray a lot about these things.  Yes, we understand that money doesn’t solve everything and we must chase after God not money, but we also recognize the reality of serving suffering humanity.  It takes resources.  It takes finances.  It takes gifted, talented staff members to aide in the many things that we do.  We worry about it – and some of us sometimes worry more than we really should.  We recognize that, unlike Churches, we cannot simply operate on the tithes of our corps members.  We must beat the drum and rally the community to come and help us…and we have our doubts sometimes too.  We need your encouragement, prayers, love and support too.

3) Friendships Are Hard To Maintain, We Might Be Lonely. friends
This isn’t a pity party by any means, and I simply want you to know that your CO(s) is human too.  They crave friendships, laughter, tangible fellowship, and leisure.   Depending on the appointment, these moments can be few and far between.  It is hard to minister in a corps and be friends too.  That shepherd, sheep element is hard to balance.  As a younger officer, (I’m not that old yet) we were sent to our first appointment 5 hours from DHQ…we craved friendship all the time and we had to find it in our community.  It is not always easy to have close friends when your appointments could be the span of a year or three.  We as officers can become aloof at times because if we invest all of us into friendships we know it will be even harder when we leave.  I don’t mean to say that we don’t still invest all of us regardless, but if you feel as if you corps officer is a little stand-offish, give them time, be patient with them and make attempts to invite, befriend and care for them anyway.

These are only three things that your CO doesn’t tell you, but perhaps should.
Remember that trust is a two-way street, and that confidence and vulnerability takes time.

So how about you…what are your thoughts, comments and impressions on this topic?
Share and join the conversation!

Something more for our Army world to ponder today.

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13 Comments

  1. This is very true it is a two way street but sometimes us as salvationist need to be there to help are CO and be a shoulder for them to lean on or just be there and take the step to help them they can’t do everything alone.

  2. Having read the above stirs memories of 15 years with The Salvation Army.I have had a priveledge of working with some of the most wonderful people on the face of this earth.That’s how I feel about them.I am talking about Corps Officers and DHQ Officers.I have thought about whether or not to bring this next subject to the forefront. There are some Officers that I have met that have absolutely no business in The Salvation Army.I will not go into great detail,but after serving several years,a “NEW” officer was brought into the corps.He and his wife and even their son were ego-maniacle.I had a transfer “in the mill”waiting for THQ approval but “NO”,I will cut you loose now from the CO.This cost me several thousand dollars.I went ahead and made the move to another Division and local Corps.After several years,an Officer made me an offer to “COME HOME”.I have retired as the Officers I worked with.These men and women are “Salt of the Earth” and are greatly missed.I have alway’s felt that as a Christian it was my duty to help others,which I have tried to do and still do when I can.Most of the time I feel that it was an honor to be with The Salvation Army.Some days this two-way street gets blocked because there are not enough brooms to rid this organization of a few pieces of garbage.

    1. Although I feel bad for your situation and agree that some shouldn’t be officers, I don’t think this was the post you should have commented on. This was about three of the things the COs never tell their people. God bless.

  3. I am a soldier an d my Corp officers are very wonderful godly people. I understand what you are saying. I consider them friends and have gotten the priveledge of knowing them for a year now. I can tell when financial stress, and complaining people takes it’s toll on them and then I pray for them and love them as they have and will also do for me.

  4. Thank you PastorsPonderings for yet another interesting piece to consider prayerfully. I have had the privilege of observing the Salvation Army from inside and outside for several decades. It is a true saying that the spectator sees more of the game. This is not, of course, a game, it is a serious and important topic. The most obvious solution is one which the salvation army has always ignored or refused to implement. The army calls itself a church and of course that is what it is. The solution I am putting forward here, works for virtually every other church and is scripturally sound … so why would it not work here? Leave the officers at each corps for as long as other churches leave their pastors, and allow them to build up the trust, the friendships, the contacts, the networking with other Church leaders, the internal and external working relationships, the essential local knowledge of needs and available resources … and so much more … these are some of the things, alongside Bible Study and prayer, that are essential to the smooth and effective work of growing a church and expanding its reach into its community. There are additional and very important benefits such as allowing the children of married officers to become part of their peer group in the community their parents are serving, and enabling them to follow the normal education route from start to finish without frequent interruptions through unhelpful, unnecessary house moves. Other Churches, like the Army, work in a variety of areas, from “easy” to more challenging, from rural to inner-city … and their local leaders (officer equivalents) choose prayerfully where they feel led to serve, given their individual gifts and callings. Career ambitions can continue to be met by way of application for vacant positions, through the individual Church’s process for selecting the successful candidate(s). To a high degree the Army is being shamefully wasteful in constantly circulating officers … for example, consider the hard-earned cash, given by supporters, that is required for the many hundreds of house moves worldwide every year, the overseas postings, the disruption to schooling, the ending of yet another short-term relationship between members and departing officers, the pressure and stress that these things create for already overworked Officers … relationships and schooling all having to be started yet again from scratch … I had better stop now because there are many more reasons … but The Army, to its own disadvantage, rarely listens to the advice of others. In agreement with the original piece, I shall pray that they will this time.

  5. Yes it certainly can be hard as a Salvation Army Officer.Who comes first ? The corps people or your own family .Having been a officers kid I have learnt the hard way and had a very lonely life.Now I try to do my best for my fellow man and woman through the Salvation Army,But that too can be hard. Knowing what I do and trying to work with officers and people of the church as well.

  6. I agree with what you say fromthe outside looking in to the Salvationists in my life.We know your leaving it is not easy trusting a temporary relationship.

  7. If only the Officers would be transparent. We need to quit making officership the secret life. Blue epaulets don’t mean that they are less then or not knowledgeable. Many officers could learn and grow from being transparent and open with those around them. I plan to be transparent holiness in a journey and a journey is not for those to be on alone.

  8. This going to sound harsh and blunt. But not good with writing out what I am trying to say. Just hope it makes sense. Personally I feel all officers should go to the church they have been appointed to and do 3-4 meetings there and have time with the people there. After time of the CO praying and the congregation praying. Then all members of the corps should have a vote to say whether they are right for your corps and area. The CO also decides if he is right for the corp and area. Lots of prayer.
    I see the Salvation Army as helping the poor and needy, people who live on the streets. I feel all SA should be open throughout the week. SA halls need to be changed. Showers and washing facilities, Laundry room. Big kitchen with dinning area. To really help the poor / needy. People would need to be employed to run certain things and then lots of volunteers. Officers should be at an a Corp Untill THEY fill ready to leave. Why change something if something is working well. CO should be able to make a life properly for themselves as well as their family. All this moving around business is rediculous. Not far on the children or the CO. Too many CO s working in an office when there is more productive work that can be done. Like opening up the church and helping the CO with running the cafe, fund raising to help. Tooooo many CO sitting on their bottoms. This way the CO of the corp would feel support and also make close friends without the fear of having to move every 3-5 years. The SA really need to get with the times. I have so many ideas, but most probably said to much already. Sorry if I have affended anyone. But seriously things need to change.

  9. Very true, I wish this can be shared during local offices training and then wit entire congregation as a teaching. Thank you God bless us in the Army

  10. John Miller- you are speaking my mind! The good news is that more and more people are seeing the benefits of long term leadership. The only way to see significant growth is to stop changing leadership so often. From my experience, corps people who have supported officer change have only wanted to ‘move on’ an underperforming or incompetent leader. Officers who are needing leadership/personal growth don’t get it when they are moved- they need to be mentored, coached and have good accountability. My prayer is that as a Movement we are brave enough to challenge ‘what we’ve always done’.

  11. I think some are missing the point of this pondering. In my opinion, it wasn’t a topic to start discussing the structure of TSA. It looks like it was meant to share some od the otions that we officers go through. Every opinion is valid, however, there are some times, like this one, where I think God designed us to have two ears and one mouth. God bless.

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