Dear Salvation Army Soldier & Friends, our mission doesn’t exist without those that push the mission and strive to see it succeed! Without soldiers and friends working so tirelessly together in an effort to meet human need in Jesus’ name, we will fail and our efforts will be in vain. With that being said, we serve more than just the army ranks. For officers come and officers go, and our appraisal of those wearing red may increase or decrease depending on the character of each. But collectively we are the army. But without Christ at the head of our army we will be without direction and hope.
It is my prayer that we keep our eyes ever on Christ as we dole out our policy and mission steps in our world. Dare I say that there have been times when policy and administrative decisions have not made sense and/or were not made with Christ in mind at all. Such moments in our history, I would hope are few and far between and I am instead given over to the notion that we ought to pray for each and every leader that is appointed to lead this Army. I cannot imagine the enormity of such a mantel, yet it is thrust on many who would deem themselves quite unworthy of it. But, beware to those who think they deserve such a mantel, even power and leadership in our army can corrupt. So pray in earnest for one another so that we do not fall into such a temptation of pride, ego and personal ambition.
Here are three smart primer strategies to our Army mission. There are more subtopics and conversations to be had within this pondering…after you read these starting points, why not tell us what YOU think and what we can add to this list!
1. Leaders – listen to the “Boots on the ground!”
I cannot stress how important it is for leaders of all positions to listen to those who are actively engaged on the ground in the fight!
There are certainly Church roles that we possess in our movement, some are appointed and gifted in: administration, some in pastoring, some evangelism…and so on, yet we all must do our very best within the positions that we have been given to glorify God and to edify and encourage each other! Leaders who simply dictate and dole out policy but rarely listen to the boots on the ground will eventually be resented and our mission will become bogged down. Take the time to listen to those who see the need every day! Sometimes we as leaders have to have the guts to admit when the plan we plotted isn’t working and perhaps there is a better, more effective way. Swallow your pride and adapt! This goes for every position of leadership from the corps setting all the way up!
We cannot afford to have polarizing visions when we should all be seeking to remain mission minded and focused. There’s no time for that! Leaders who listen and then lead have a better chance at successfully navigating and accomplishing their objectives in mission! If leaders only dictate from their offices that are tucked away from mission we will fail because administration can only meet mission when it has its ear to the ground and a heart to serve in the capacity of servant-leader. Enough with the old guard of “my way or the highway” brass! Yes be strict on mission-mindedness but compassionate on leading and shepherding! Be a shepherd first and listen!
2. Boots on the ground – Pray for and love your leaders, trust them and then engage in the spiritual warfare while befriending the lost!
There’s no time to jostle about and deciding which leader you will follow or trust. There is too much at stake, too much to lose in forward progress as an army! If we spend too much time worrying about the internal workings of our army, we will lose sight of those we are entrusted to serve and love! Bring the mission of the lost into focus – make it your priority to keep this mission going! Be the gate keepers of Hell so that no one slips by you and into that place of ultimate depravity! Stand as the bridge builder who brings hope to your community! Worry less about what others (even leadership) might think and more about what God might think with our inactions! Get on with it!! Fight on and be the voice for those without one. The very progression of our army depends upon the movement of these vital infantry boots! You will stand knee deep in the muck and mire of people’s sin and sadness. You will witness the hopeless single mother who is struggling to put food on the table, or the children who come to your program that you know are currently living in awful places and conditions. You must take action!
Love those who lead you. Trust that God has placed them there to help you accomplish this mission together! Pray for each other and for those who will come knocking on your door in search of help! We cannot progress the good news of Jesus Christ and bring hope to a dying world if we are not first Holy people who are taking up our crosses and following Him! We cannot look like the world and act like the world. We are set apart to do mighty things, we cannot lack anything especially faith that God will pave this path for us!
3. Look outside “The Bubble”!
Lastly, do not get bogged down in your own bubble that you become ignorant of how God might be working in our world! Be in-tune with Him! Do not live in your corps buildings and your Divisional or territorial offices and forget to peer out the windows and walk the streets! God is not static and He does not want us to become static! Look beyond what we have already accomplished! Don’t just maintain and do the same things over and over again especially if these things (or programs) are not bringing people to Christ any longer! Explore, study, become students of knowledge and strategy! Read!! There is this notion that any organization and mission can become so internal that it’s almost incestuous in developing its methods of mission, evangelism and mission. Break this mold! Take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail – even a hundred times (or more)! We cannot live in our Army bubbles and expect people to come to us! We have to go to them! We have to think outside the box (or corps). We have to stop living in the past or the glory days all the while missing countless opportunities to make history and break new ground! If we expect revival we have to make revolution happen in our army!
I think sometimes what keeps us in our bubbles is the fear of what leadership might do if we try new things that don’t necessarily “look Army”. Is there fear of reprisal and punishment for not maintaining the status quo? Perhaps it’s time to pop the bubble!
Perhaps it’s time to refocus and realign our motives and mindsets on the mission of this world-wide movement! But we cannot do that unless we become risk-takers and break the bubble comfort and tradition.
Something more for this Army to Ponder…now, tell us what YOU think by leaving comments and questions below or in your discussion feed! I can’t wait to hear from you!
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions written on Pastorsponderings are not necessarily the thoughts and expressed opinions of The Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised!*
#4 Embrace and begin to use in your corps holiness meetings The Salvation Army concept of Faith-Based Facilitation. More @ https://stevesimms.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/faith-based-facilitation-sharing-karios-moments-in-ekklesia/
Time to come out of the bubble into the community
All well and good, comrade. But, be warned: the history of movements shows that when they get more complacent than fired up, more stuck to their traditions than being relevant to their actual societies, the few fired up ones will bring – if not wrath, at least – censure down on their heads and then end up leaving the old movements and forming new ones. Yes, the old ones continue to exist and “do a lot of good,” but for Kingdom purposes they are practically dead.
Brother, when you keep stirring us up to be more holy, more focussed on the true mission, you are more than likely hastening the death-knell of the old Army; what’s left will be . . . unrecognizable to Booth and Railton in a few more years.
But, keep stirring us up! Peace, Larry