**This blog entry is Officer specific, but this can be applied to soldiers as well! **
Dear Salvation Army Officer who is on the verge of resigning…this is for you.
Stop and consider these words before you make that phone call or write that email or letter. I know that officership is hard. Ministry in general is hard. We sometimes face pressures from many different places – the corps, headquarters, a disgruntled employee or volunteer, a public figure who you don’t see eye to eye with. It seems as if almost every area of ministry we find opposition. There are certainly joys in ministry as well, but for a few minutes let me highlight 4 reason NOT to leave officership! First of all, if you were called into this ministry by God these next four reasons I list below should be reasons that you stay and fight for not only This army, but for your purpose as an officer!
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Bullies in the community that push around people who come to your corps. There might be bullies IN your corps. You might encounter bullies at your headquarters by way of department heads or even the occasional leader. Unfortunately, bullies do not discriminate, and if you are making waves for Christ in what you do, then you will most likely encounter these bullies. Never leave the Army because you encountered a bully. The Army isn’t just compromised of people – we don’t stay because we necessarily always like each other either, and we might not always agree with each other. No, instead we stay because we believe in this movement as an Army despite people sometimes….even other officers or leaders who have hurt you or done things that were ungodly to you. Do not leave these ranks because of bullies within them or in your appointment. Stand up, unite with other like minded officers and soldiers and find your strength to fight on.I cannot stand a bully, especially a bully with any ounce of power. Most bullies are weak minded, power hungry, insecure individuals. I feel, even in this army we tolerate this kind of person more than we should instead of dealing with them directly. Many an officer has either considered leaving or has left because of how a bully has treated them. I also say this to any officer who would take up a mantel of leadership: fight for the little guy, remember what corps were like, understand how each soldier feels when they come to you for help…don’t lose sight of the army’s mission as a mighty movement known as The Salvation Army!
Do not leave these ranks because of church politics. Every church has these political decisions that we may not always agree with. At the end of the day our Army is still run by people who are imperfect. I would say that most are here for the right reasons and that decisions made from the corps level on up to IHQ have been made with much prayer and careful thought. Have there been instances of personal kingdom making in the army through politicing? YES of course, but do not allow these small instances to disillusion you and make you resign your commission as an officer! Also keep in mind that what we might perceive as bad politics, might be something that is aimed at a long range vision for our mission. Pray for your corps. Pray for your leaders. Pray for those instances when church politics does not have your best interest in mind. Ask God to help you to not only be a holy force for change in the Army, but that you might show mercy and grace in the process. You can be a change agent in the Army if you remain and fight…so fight on!
Just as politics happens in all organizations and churches, so does favoritism. It is sometimes ugly, painful, and wrong…but it can happen. I’m not saying that it always does happen, but when it does don’t allow this to be the deciding factor in your exit strategy as an officer! It happened in the early church and it still happens in all levels of the Army. There are many godly men and women who fight against this and are principled in stopping these kinds of things, but know that it may still occur from time to time. Be aware of favoritism when it happens, but don’t be bothered by it. Move on, remember your calling isn’t first to leadership or even the Army, it is to God…so be faithful to that, be consistent to that and do your very best for the Lord. His favor will always shine on the faithful! Keep on keeping on!
Despite how others might “perceive” you or use the term “perception”, do not allow it to discourage you or cause you to quit. If you are a kingdom builder, then you will face the occasional criticism or erroneous perception of you. Use a discernment filter in your mind to filter out what is truth and what is perceived truth – these words are not mutually exclusive or even the same. If a perception is true then perhaps the Holy Spirit is working on you through others, if the perception is not true, then do not allow it to consume you with discouragement which could lead to your early exit via a letter of resignation.
Use two measures of truth:
Titus 1:7 – “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,”
Micah 6:8 – “He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
If we apply these two passages of truth in our lives then other people’s opinions and perceptions of us (even those within the leadership spectrum) will either be true or untrue. If we are above reproach, if we are humble and a lover of mercy, then we will take perceptions of us with a grain of salt, and allow the untruths to roll off of our backs like water on a duck.
Stand firm, dear Officer.
You are vitally important to this movement! You have not signed your allegiance to any one person in the army, nor will you be moved by any one poor example listed above! Know that we as an army will sometimes become more concerned with our inner struggles that we will lose sight of our mission and vision for the World. So look up, keep your focus on the outcomes of the good that you are doing. Work hard. Take your days of respite and self-care. Pray for your appointments, the people in them, those you encounter in our community, pray also for your leaders and the leadership of this global army. We do not need more officers walking out frustrated, worn out and feeling crushed…no, we need more weathered officers who will stand firm, fight hard and not giving up or caving to the trappings of an ever growing and progressing army!
Something more for our Army to ponder today.
May God continue to bless you, dear Officer!
*Disclaimer: The opinions and thoughts expressed here are not necessarily the opinions and thoughts of The Salvation Army, but rather the opinions and thoughts of this writer. Reader discretion is advised.*