A Prayer For The High Council and our future General

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It would be foolhardy of me to elevate another humble servant of Christ in such a way that they eclipse Jesus himself.  We in the Army are certainly not seeking to deify a human being in the promotion/election of General.  There will not be any white smoke going up to the heavens as the High Council eventually elects its next General.  We will not seek to promote a General into Sainthood here either.

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But our identity does change to some extent when a new General takes office, so to speak.  We do need leaders who will cast our Army vision and purpose for the years to come as well as work with national/international leaders to further this mission of Christ.  The office of General is important in this respect.  We most certainly don’t view our General as omniscient or infallible either but scriptural speaking we do acknowledge that we are to obey and listen to our leaders:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” -Hebrews 13:17.

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That being said, here is a prayer for our Army:

Dear Lord, you know each precious soul who is a part of this army.  We are your servants seeking to preach Christ crucified to a dying, sin sick world.  May your light continue to shine on our paths as we listen to the proddings of your Spirit.  I ask that you guide our leaders who will be gathering soon for the high council.  Please provide them safety as they travel, discernment as they pray and consult you for directions.  We humbly acknowledge that Your will be done in and through Your people…may it be so also within the high council.  

We also ask that Your servants will hear Your voice in the election of our next general.  That You will gently guide these proceedings and that You ultimately appoint this leader.  We serve a world of vast diversities, issues and conflicts and in the broad global view,  help and equip us for the mission yet ahead.  It is in your name we pray all of this.  Amen.”

As the days leading up to this appointed time quickly speeds by, please continue to pray for all of the Commissioners, lift up The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner André Cox as he makes these preparations and offers his guidance on the onset of the high council.  Prayer is a vital and formidable weapon that we as saints of God are called upon to utilize.

We are most likely unsure of how this whole thing works, but we are trusting in the One who will guide each and every leader.  We also further acknowledge that Christ is first and foremost the head of our Army…and in that regard we already have the victory!

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

Refrain

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

-Just a thought.

Attributes: AN ARMY VISION

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In just under a month the High Council will meet, pray, deliberate and finally elect a new General of This Salvation Army. Its message and mission is still relevant. This movement that started with William and Catherine Booth must and will carry on. There is still a war waging in our world. Not a war of flesh and blood, though it is most certainly involved, but a spiritual battle for the very souls of men and women. That is why, we as soldiers of this army, must continue to fight and be proactive in this campaign.

In recent conversations that I’ve had with fellow officers and soldiers of The Salvation Army these thoughts percolated in my mind. We may be modeled after military in form, but we all have an Army voice to one extent or another. So with that being said, I would like to outline what I would desire our next General’s vision and attributes for the global Salvation Army to be. It sounds presumptuous I know…but as soldiers, we all have parts to play and a stake we claim within these army realms. Indulge me if you will:

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VISION:

1. Continuity:

ONE ARMY, ONE MISSION, ONE MESSAGE: It still applies! It is still active, and I feel as if this message, this vision ought to continue and to be built upon! Far too often, I fear that when new leaders take on their new responsibilities so too they cast new visions far too quickly! Sometimes this type of leadership change model can disillusion constituents, making them frustrated and wandering in every which way directionally speaking. This “take control leadership” approach, which produces a new vision while forgetting the old vision, can lead to a polarizing and dysfunctional army. I don’t presume to have any power or say in this at all by any means but I do hope our next General would be sensitive to the path that has already been paved and to walk on its already laid foundation.

2. Relevancy:

Understandably there are many political sociological ‘hot-button’ topics throughout our global army. The continued need of our army leadership to pursue mission and purpose that is consistently relevant to the world in which we serve is of the utmost importance. This should include our perspectives and application of worship, service and all aspects of our holistic ministry.

3. Transparency:

I’ve heard this many times in previous conversations and I believe this is most definitely pertinent to the position of General of The Salvation Army as well as our immediate leaders. If our local officers and soldiery are provided transparency at the local level with message, ministry and finance; ought our territorial, national and international leadership also follow suit as well? Absolutely! Be genuine and transparent to those you lead! We continue to need leadership who will rise up and lead not because they are fearful of repercussions of others but to lead out of conviction and biblical authority.

4. Holiness

I have served under leaders who have been holy leaders. These types of leaders are respected and loved. When you have a leader who leads through holiness you will find a stronger army at the core. Holiness in leadership is crucial, without it they’re just another business administrator/CEO. True leaders are willing to lead with the promptings of the Holy Spirit and who are unafraid to risk and to adapt and change in an ever changing world.

These are just a few attributes I hope and pray our next General possess. We all can surround our High Council in prayer…and we should. And I also acknowledge that the Lord will provide and lead. By faith I believe that He will provide us the right General for just this moment in time. And I also believe that God will continue to rise up our future leaders who can carry on this great mission and propel His Great Commission into every territory in the world!

What would attributes would you like to see within our new General?

General Election…An Officer’s perspective, and a call to a Month of Prayer.

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I’ve read a number of news stories, blogs and opinion pieces on General Bond and her subsequent retirement.  I’ve re-posted some here on my blog as well as commented on others.  I’ve even discussed this topic with other Officers ‘out there’…it’s fodder, news and it all effects us in some small way.  

It’s common to speculate on the sudden departure of General Bond.  It was certainly not something anyone would have anticipated until next year at her ‘scheduled’ retirement date. However, that being said I do think that simply stating ‘personal reasons’ should be respected.  We may wish to know more.  We may yearn to understand why our primary leader within The Salvation Army suddenly retired, but I seriously doubt that our queries and questions with get answered.  Do I wish there had been more information released from IHQ or from General Bond herself?  Of course I do.  But I also feel that if someone wishes to keep private matters private then we ought to respect those wishes.

Obviously one who is in Authority, as General Bond was, could have helped the Army world understand and even accept her sudden departure had more information been included instead the seemingly cryptic notice.  I believe this would have staved off all of this idle speculation.  But what’s done is done.  We as an Army march on!  We still have a war to engage and so engage we will!  

Secondly, I do not think it wrong to question our authority from time to time.  Even authority within our Army needs sharpening.  But we should also temper our questioning with wisdom, prayer and godly prudence.  After all, every authority regardless if it is the General, Commissioner, Colonel, Major, Captain or Lieutenant are all people fallible and imperfect.  But as I say this I also interject that if we are a holiness movement our actions, respect and love ought to permeate even these dialogues and ponderings.  

That being said, I pray for the upcoming proceedings as Commissioners from around the world gather at the High Council in July.

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Month Long Prayer Intiative: 

 

 I also petition that until then (June 21st – July 29th just over a month) that we as an Army enter a season of prayer.  As we pray; lift up our leaders and Retired General Linda Bond, pray for fellow Officers on the field, pray for the Soldiers around the world, this Mission God has placed us in.  

We march on as One Army, but first let’s gather on our knees in prayer!

Sincerely, 

Scott Strissel, Captain.

 

 

 

Update Newsletter from IHQ today:

CHIEF OF THE STAFF CALLS HIGH COUNCIL TO ELECT 20TH SALVATION ARMY GENERAL

// 18 JUNE 2013 //

THE Chief of the Staff, Commissioner André Cox, has summoned members of the High Council to meet on 29 July 2013 for the purpose of electing the 20th General of The Salvation Army. All leaders who are commissioners on active service or who are territorial commanders or territorial presidents of women’s ministries of whatever rank qualify for membership of the High Council.

This High Council will be the largest in the history of The Salvation Army. There will be 118 members – 64 women and 54 men – with an average age of 59. Fifty-four will be attending a High Council for the first time. Twenty-six have appointments in the Americas and Caribbean Zone and 24 in the Africa Zone. The South Pacific and East Asia Zone supplies 21 members, Europe 18 and South Asia 15. Fourteen International Headquarters commissioners complete the total of 118 members.

The High Council will not meet at its usual venue of Sunbury Court in Sunbury-on-Thames, United Kingdom, as this historic venue is presently undergoing a major refurbishment. Instead, it will meet at the Renaissance Hotel, near Heathrow to the west of London. This is not the first time the High Council has convened away from Sunbury Court – in 1934 and 1939 proceedings took place at Clapton, in the East End of London. 

The Chief of the Staff will preside over the opening of the High Council until such time as a president and vice-president have been elected. The deliberations of the council will then be directed by the president, preparing the way for nominations for the office of General and the election of the next international leader of The Salvation Army.

International News Releases will be issued from time to time during the course of the High Council and will be available on the International Headquarters website. The announcement of the new General will be webcast so people all around the world will learn the identity of the new General at the same time.

Electing a new General of The Salvation Army…(UPDATED)

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In reference to last week’s update on the office of General and that of our call to prayer, I would like to explore a little on the topic of how the Generals of The Salvation Army are elected. Of course usually an election of the General takes place at the end of the term of a General or when they reach the age of retirement. This time, however, circumstances as they are the High Council will convene hopefully some time later this Summer, in order to elect our next General of The Salvation Army.

As mentioned last week, General Linda Bond entered retirement abruptly and in the wake of her retirement the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Andre’ Cox will lead this Army in the interim until the High Council is able to meet.

It is interesting to note who makes up the High Council and those with a casting vote. Territorial Commanders from around the world, some times this has numbered 100, last election cycle this numbered 109. These international and IHQ Leaders will gather together for prayer, deliberation and finally a decision. I would welcome your take on the High Councils process, and additional information that perhaps I have overlooked. I also recognize that when the High Council convenes they do so with reverent intent and much prayer. Though every church has its politicking, I would tend to regard this electoral process as prayerful and deliberately considerate of many things including age of specific candidates as well as the needs of our Army as a whole.

***Updated:  Since I initially wrote this the official Summons has been sent to all Territorial Leaders around the world and High Council will begin Monday, July 29th, 2013 at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel.  What I find encouraging about this process is that three days prior to the beginning of the High Council and its election process, starting on Friday, July 26th leaders will convene for prayer. ***

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(General Bramwell Booth)

HISTORY:

It is interesting to note some of the history of the High Council. The Salvation Army High Council can remove Generals from active service should the present General have health issues which would make them unfit to serve. This has only happened one time in its 109 years in existence when the then General Bramwell Booth was away from International Headquarters for several months time due to ‘health’ and he was asked to resign, when Bramwell, who was then 73 years old, refused a High Council was called and convened to vote for his removal. With a vote of 55 to 8, the High Council followed through with its plan to remove General Bramwell Booth as leader of The Salvation Army. The only problem was that General Bramwell Booth wasn’t ready to relinquish his role as General and Commander of the Army. He took his case to parliament (court) and hoped that a different result would come of the British court system getting involved. His attempt, however, failed and after two months of deliberations the court ruled in favor to uphold the High Council’s decision to have Booth removed as General.

Here is a good book for further reading on the above topic, written by General John Larrson: Image

As mentioned before please continue to keep The Salvation Army leadership in your prayers as well as the Chief of the Staff Commissioner Andre’ Cox as he leads us in the interim.

Information for continued reading:

Here is a link to see how the day to day proceedings from 2011 took place:

http://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/highcouncil2011

Currently we are unsure as to when this event will take place, but we do know that the High Council will be called and will convene later this summer, 2013.

I will attempt to post updates when possible. Here are a couple of links to help anyone interested in learning more about the high council and how it works:

http://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/highcouncil

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Council_of_The_Salvation_Army

Image(2011 High Council World Representatives & Army Leaders)

A CALL TO A MONTH OF PRAYER: https://scottstrissel.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/general-election-an-officers-perspective-and-a-call-to-a-month-of-prayer/

 

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