Dear Salvation Army, Kingdom Building or Empire Building?

Dear Salvation Army,
flagis our mission still for souls?
Are we stubbornly standing between souls condemned and the gates of hell itself?
Are we still the voice calling out for justice when all other voices are silent or too broken to speak?  Can we boldly declare in faith that “we’re going to fill, fill, fill the world with glory?”

Dear soldier, no matter who you are, no matter what rank you hold, no matter if you hold a position of power and prominence or you simply come to your corps hall on Sundays – we are all equally vital not only to The Salvation Army, but to this mighty Kingdom building process that the Holy Spirit is doing in our world today!  This require faithfulness and diligence on our part.  If we merely offer lip service to God and don’t believe that He will provide the way, then we already defeated.  Where ever your ministry is located in our world, without faith, hope and love we are doomed to only good works which isn’t enough!  No, we must still be willing to storm the forts of darkness.  We must be prepared to stand firm even when the ground of culture and morality erodes at our feet.  We cannot lose ground and cave to becoming complacent or comfortable.  Our calling has never been one of apathy but empathy, compassion and grace.

A Word Of Warning To Empire Building:
calmDear soldier, I will also caution you that if you come to this army seeking notoriety, position, power and to establish and build your empire, these efforts will severely damage our mission as a movement.  This is not a platform for showboating or ego stroking.  This army should never be about climbing the ladder of corporate success or vying for places of authority…and yet I fear it has happened and currently does happen.  Some will contend that these are isolated incidents, but it boils down to matters of the heart and depth of our surrender to Christ himself.  John the baptist even declared about Jesus – “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)  And when the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest disciple – Jesus pointed to the little children and told them “…For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”  (Luke 9:48)

Jesus had a way of turning common practice on its head.
Perhaps as an Army need to do this from time to time; to buck trends or notions of common practice in order to experience full surrender and lead with compassion and grace.

brickDear Soldier, if you are currently building an empire – perhaps it’s time to seek repentance and reconciliation or depart this movement altogether.  This may be strong words to read, but you are not helping to spur on this movement, you are attempting to subvert it with selfish ambitions and sinful pride.  Either humble yourselves or you will be humbled by God.  I say these words first to myself and then to anyone else this may apply to.  Without the constant and compassionate correction of the Holy Spirit how can we ever expect to grow and mature into this faith?  And what is this faith, but a transformation of our selfishness into selflessness and the image of Christ in and through everything that we are and do.

The Charge: 
heartLastly, let me encourage you.
Each and every one of you are important to God’s kingdom.
Don’t ever forget this.  Regardless of how human leadership has treated you in the past whether within the Army or from outside (for we know that all forms of leadership has its flaws and imperfections but for the King of kings and Lord of Lords) YOU. MAKE. A. DIFFERENCE!  You matter!!  Do not listen to anyone who only has criticism or harmful things to say to you that does not help build to you up.  Surround yourself with encouragers who will challenge you to be all that you can be for Christ Jesus.  Live for Him.  Die to self, and know that we serve a mighty army that is so much bigger than any one person, name or rank.  We have to get serious about making disciples in our Army.  We have to tear down walls of division and bring reconciliation to our corners of the world.
Do not become overwhelmed in this work that you do…one day at a time, one heart at a time…when we are faithful to Him, He will provide the strength and wisdom that we require in order to march on.  Stand firm, Dear Soldier…Stand firm.

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Disclaimer:  “The thoughts and opinions expressed here are not necessarily the thoughts and opinions of The Salvation Army, but are that of the author of this blog, reader discretion is advised.”

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2 Comments

  1. It is for souls the way I go and see us soldiers.

    Way back in February 9, 2016, I was asked by my husband to apply at New York Pizzeria indicating my volunteer work at the school district nearby and at the Salvation Army. I was hired same day from 11-2 p.m. Tuesday and he said; “See you tomorrow Christine!” Wednesday came same time and after work hours, same thing he said for Thursday. He set three days. That time I was volunteering as a computer teacher on Mondays and does the volunteering at the after school too. Fridays had a volunteer work for the food Pantry. I am committed to church activities on Saturdays and Sundays.

    The Hindu owner gave several tasks from front liner serving the ordered foods, cleaning the tables then bringing to the dishwasher. The dishwasher resign one time. Dish washing was distributed to servers. Later dishwashers come and go, turn overs was fast, then later the owner asked me to look for someone from our church to help at his restaurant only from your church.

    From this statement, the impact of the statement “only from your church” made the difference on someone’s point of view towards an individual to the church to the congregation to the whole organization.

    I have shared that testimony during our Saturday leadership class. I understood the level of respect given when the work was done well based on the training we got.

    Our previous officers shared their training in every task given may it be kitchen, restroom, teaching, store keeping etc…yet become better and not bitter in the course of their training. A note to myself that keep doing what is right be encouraged no matter what, and regardless of…

    From their sharing that served as an inspiration through the following bible verses that sunk in deep to my mind to this day and for me to quote a few to encourage others to keep going and going even the going gets tough and rough:

    Romans 12:12 NIV
    12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

    Galatians 6:9
    9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

    Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
    5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

    Ecclesiastes 9:11
    11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

  2. Seriously challenging words for every one of us … I hear them and accept the challenge. I know there will be an outcry from people who only want to do what they always do … that’s why Scott’s words are a Challenge ! I wonder if any, for example, Band members, will accept Scott’s challenge which is to do more soul winning, help their Officers and Locals to run activities to make more disciples rather than just making more soldiers. I read the challenge as saying … be more loving in face to face friendships with the unsaved … and a practical way of doing this, which will not be popular with Band members, may even be to consider whether, say 10 to 25% of their Band could possibly stop rehearsing, stop playing for a while, and take up the challenge to spend exactly the same amount of time in personal evangelism with friends, family members, colleagues, neighbours, strangers and others that God leads them to meet ? There will be replies saying “I already do this” … well, good ! Maybe it isn’t the pattern across all Bands. Perhaps the Band members and leader could devise a Rota so that every member spends 3 months as a member of the non-playing Sunday congregation, for the few weeks or months they spend concentrating on making disciples, then perhaps return for 6 months Band playing. Who knows … they may even find they enjoy soul-winning and that they are good at it. Surely no Corps with a large or medium Band would suffer any serious loss if 10-25% of the Band at any one time were on what Scott is suggesting is the Army’s real work … making disciples. The other 75-90% would still be playing !

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