Let’s face it, the role of a Salvation Army Officer is difficult. I know…understatement of the century!
There are certainly joys…along with heartache and sorrows – it’s a mixed bag sometimes. We all wish that things would go according to plan, but most of the time we look like this:
And, we hope nothing gets dropped along the way…
The question doesn’t become what can we do less of, but rather how can we do the good things better? How can we begin to focus on the strengths of our corps and our corps people?
If I have learned anything from Officership it is that we are very, very good at doing many things, but we do not do many things well. Perhaps it is time to stop meeting the average expectations, stop doing mediocre work because we’re spread far too thin to do anything well; and instead, focus on the things that make our corps or ministry unique and successful! To do this, sacrifices might have to be made, we might have to eliminate or reduce the amount of ‘spinning plates’, but we do no one any good if we implode from over-extending ourselves.
It would be so easy to simply offer you some amazing new Apps that will help you in your ministry. It would be simple to offer this new thing I found of the internet that other pastors are using…instead let me offer you 3 Resources that you already have and will not cost you a dime (except for your time and effort).
- Pastoral Partnerships:
The unfortunate side of ministry, it would seem, is that many churches and pastors are in competition for parishioners. It isn’t always intentional, but many churches have created their own silos, including The Salvation Army. Sometimes it’s pride, and self-reliance, but these silos prevent us from truly experiencing the fellowship of other ministries and resources because we cannot work with others. Visit other pastors in your community. Go to their churches (but not on Mondays = Universal Pastoral day off) and meet fellow workers in the fields of souls.I recently visited the pastor of our local Wesleyan Church. He called me up to donate some food to our soup kitchen, and I had not had the chance to meet him yet…so I personally went to see him. What I experienced in talking to him for only 45 minutes was not only refreshing to my soul, but it encouraged me greatly. We also struck up some commonalities, and resources were exchanged for the development of future partnerships together.
Fellow Officers, we are so much stronger together than we are by remaining in our individual denominational silos.
2. Community Connections
This resource is closely related to #1 as well as the continued need to get out of the silo…(perhaps you are picking up on the theme of this particular article). There are many people in your community right now that love The Salvation Army and they just need an invitation to help out. Be mindful that business professionals are very busy, so make sure the buy-in request is tangible, well thought out, and clear. You are looking for pieces to the puzzle to help with the over all mission, that Bank president can help in great ways provided that you put that ‘piece’ into the right place.
3. Leadership Development, Empowerment & Delegation!
The last resource (at least on this list, because there is SO much more that we could cover) is, in my opinion, the most important resource that your corps or ministry has – people who are already invested in the mission!! We are only as strong as the team around us. We as Officers are good at trying to do everything on our own, so much so that we often face burnout. In Exodus 18, we find a workaholic named Moses who is wisely counseled by his father-in-law Jethro. Jethro tells Moses; “what you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:17-18)
This is extremely wise advise to Moses and to us. We cannot do it all ourselves, so why do we try to be SuperOfficer? Why do we think it all has to get completed by us? This is where leadership development, empowerment and delegation comes into play. We owe it to ourselves and the future development and growth of our corps to raise up leaders who can help us. Perhaps those leaders are already there, they just don’t know it yet. This type of development and action will take time and patience, but your ministry will be stronger because of it.
Just think, every time we ‘go it alone’ we are potentially robbing someone of the opportunity to learn, lead and grow! Do you need help developing your team? Having struggles figuring out how this ought to be done? Consult your divisional staff, ask for help from other pastors, and perhaps do some research on how other corps are appointing leaders and developing them. Here is one resource that the Central Territory is using, and I know that there are other resources just like this in other territories.
Do not leave your corps members behind while planning for the future! Raise up others to help you accomplish the mission of the Army! It might be easier to do everything yourself, but entrust, empower and lead others to become better invested in the mission of this Salvation Army!
These are just three resources to help you become a better Officer, naturally, never discount or take for granted the power of the Holy Spirit in all of these ventures! He will empower you to do what must be done, so above all else, humble submit yourself to Him daily!
Something more for the Army world to ponder today!
God bless you!