Dear Salvationist, Does Nepotism Still Exist In Our Army?

From the start, some of us might shirk at the idea that nepotism still exists in The boothSalvation Army.  But we must recognize that even the Booths promoted family to places of authority.  William Booth viewed his Generalship to be something he would pass along to his children, and perhaps his children’s children.  Could it be that this sort of family promoting still occurs in our Army today?  And if so, should it?  Are there checks and balances in place to prevent nepotism in our Army?

Growing up in the Army, I recall many times where my parents were extremely cautious with even the appearance of favoritism towards my sister and me.

Speaking of Favoritism…can this type of behavior come into play with promotions and appointments in our army?  Should it?  Another question to ask along this line of pondering is – if favoritism does occur in our army – aren’t we then shortchanging our movement of possible movers and shakers who could make a difference, but some have chosen to choose people who are familiar and even safe?   crown

The argument can be made that we in the Army ought to trust and leave this up to God to sort out and perhaps these appointments are “His will”.  Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.  I have sincere faith in a Mighty God that He can make something that was meant to harm into something beautiful.  I believe God makes all things new, and He provides in spite of our own efforts and human decisions.  But I don’t know if I really trust human authority as I do God’s authority (nor do I feel we should)…for that matter what defines “God’s Authority”?  I’m curious what your answer might be to that.  I’m not looking for a fight, I’m genuinely interested in how we define this!   I have to be honest, I have always been suspicious of human authority in the guise of being 100% God’s authority.  It’s not that I’m overly cynical of leaders and authority, I just question sometimes if our personal feelings do not play into many of the decisions that are made on the behalf of others – and thereby we sometimes or often show favoritism.
Submission to Authority
Does this mean that I do not submit to authority?  Absolutely not!  We are told to submit to authority in numerous scripture verses.  For example:1 Peter 2:13-17 says;  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Does this mean that we aren’t allowed to query decisions and ask pertinent questions?  Of course not!  It does, however depend on our attitude and motivation!  I am certainly not proposing that we become rebellious by any means, please do not come away thinking that at all!  I will say that as a leader of sorts in my own right, I do recognize that I will never please everyone by the decisions that I have to make from time to time.  This is the heavy mantel of responsibility and leadership that is thrust upon us.  It does take a toll, and I would ask you to be in constant pray for your leaders, whether it be at the corps level, the divisional, territorial, national and international levels.

Back to the initial question:
Does Nepotism and Favoritism still exist in our Army?
My short answer is yes it does…
But I would also caution anyone from making rash judgments unless you have all of the information.

favor2Questions to Ponder:
Does Nepotism still happen in our Army?
Should it happen?
If so, what does this say to those who aren’t related or chosen for specific duties or tasks?
How can we sidestep issues like this?  Is it possible to sidestep them?
What about favoritism?
Could showing favoritism diminish the ranks our ranks and morale?
Can we submit to authority and still question?
How do we reconcile some experiences of flawed human authority with the expectations of God-led authority?
Am I praying fervently for my Corps Officer, Local Officer, Divisional, Territorial, Leader?

I look forward to your constructive conversation on this topic!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and views of the writer are not necessarily the thoughts and view of The Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised.

A Year In Review

It has been an amazing year for and I cannot wait to see what is in store for 2016!

This past year, pastorsponderings has been viewed another 100,000 times…that’s simply mind boggling and humbling to believe!  Wow, thank you, dear reader and follower of this blog.  As always, I am committed to writing what matters from my perspective while engaging in your comments, questions and requests.  We have truly done this together!

The 5 most viewed articles of 2015 are:

1. 5 Things They Don’t Prepare You For In Officer’s Training
2. Dear Salvation Army, Expressions Of An Officer At Christmas
3. 3 Things Officers Should Know About Their Soldiers
4. 3 Questions To Ask Before Becoming An Officer
5.  3 Things Soldiers Should Know About Their Corps Officer

Thank you again for reading pastorsponderings, and we look forward to much, much more in 2016!  As always, if you have a topic that you would like discussed and/or been struggling with, please send me a message. Let’s join the conversation together!

Pastorsponderings Passes 100,000 views!!

I am constantly blown away by the interest and readership that is receiving! It is truly humbling and I am truly honored.

Friday night we surpassed 100,000 views. Seriously, WOW! I am honestly blown away at how quickly we have reached this benchmark.

Thank you for following and reading! Please continue to share our little blog as we will continue to bring you relevant, thought provoking content!


Scott E. Strissel.IMG_6216.JPG

Sermon Podcast: “Two”


Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,
42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Do we open up___ our houses__ to Jesus? (v.38)

Are we willing to sit______at His feet?

What are our Distractions and Demands______________?
There are two choices.
What is the “one”______thing that is needed for us? (v.42)
Dear Lord I long to sit at Your feet. I long to listen to Your words and do what You would have me do. Teach me to prioritize my life. Teach me to understand how worry can be so crippling to my spirit this day. Teach me how to revel and worship at Your feet. –Amen.



BREAKING NEWS: Church 101 Survey Results

Church 101 Survey


First of all I would like to thank everyone who participated in this church survey.  Looking at the raw data, we nearly made it to 100 participants (93 to be exact).  Obviously within this small sampling we can begin to glean some information regarding personal preference and worship settings.  

Perhaps some of these survey questions were random, and the wording could have been better, but I think you might be interested in the results so let’s get to the good stuff –

I will not go through the questions in order but rather look at the demographics first.


ImageThe survey was conducted with both participating genders, and though 6 people skipped this question we can see that this survey was conducted almost evenly amongst male and female participants.

Age of our survey grouping –


Within this data we can see that the majority of those participating in the survey were between the ages of 25 – 64.  The 25-34 age range produced the most responses to this survey at 28% of the total 93 person survey.  This is, however, a wide age demographic, and if more survey questions had been conducted we may have also seen the many differences between these generations within the variations of answers.  





Question #1 



This might not be too surprising to you.  Acceptance & Fellowship was the top answer in this survey (thank you to survey participant who gave me a chuckle regarding the food answer).  Granted, strong spiritual teaching by a Pastor is vital, but the sense of belonging and friendship/fellowship trumps the pastor’s preaching abilities.  I am sure we can all relate to this, if we’ve ever visited a church for the first time.  We will more than likely place how other parishioners (church members) receive us as visitors over the first time impression of the pastor’s message.  This isn’t to say that the message and the content of the message isn’t important, but rather how others receive us within their fellowship becomes the tipping point to regularly entering into that fellowship or finding the nearest exit as soon as the “Amen’s” are said.  

Questions to consider

1.  “How friendly is your current fellowship of believers?”  
2. “How can you, as a church body, strive to be more accepting to “outsiders”?  

“The church exists primarily for two closely correlated purposes: to worship God and to work for his kingdom in the world … The church also exists for a third purpose, which serves the other two: to encourage one another, to build one another up in faith, to pray with and for one another, to learn from one another and teach one another, and to set one another examples to follow, challenges to take up, and urgent tasks to perform. This is all part of what is known loosely as fellowship.” 
― N.T. WrightSimply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

Question #2



A majority of people polled within this survey (82%) indicated that tithing was important.  We can all attest to the fact that tithing is scriptural, but when it comes to personal opinion or preference one can asked “what is tithing?”  A follow-up question might be “Is tithing only about money?”  

In some of the responses to this question, under “Other -please specify“, participants indicated that it depends on what we term “tithing” to be.  Also the answers indicated a healthy dose of cynicism or skepticism as to what type of church one would tithe to.  

This is a spiritual act of worship and a discipline that must be taught.  Granted, we might become skeptical of tithing when we hear about funds being improperly used from mega churches of televangelists out to make a quick buck.  

Regardless of how we view tithing, it should be noted once again that though it is an act of worship, tithing can mean much more than just our personal finance, although financial support can play a major role.  

“..tithing isn’t something I do to clear my conscience so I can do whatever I want with the 90 percent–it also belongs to God! I must seek his direction and permission for whatever I do with the full amount. I may discover that God has different ideas than I do.” 
― Randy AlcornMoney, Possessions and Eternity


Question #3



If we were to have a break down of the demographics within this question we might find that this data is rather telling. Generationally speaking, the “Silent Generation” (1927-1945) and even the “Baby Boomers” (1946-1964) can identify with the 59% within this survey.  Sunday is traditionally the day in which we go to church and worship the Lord.  This, however, at times has become so “traditional” and staunch that younger generations such as the “Gen-Xers” and the “Millennials”  are seeking alternative worship options.  

Thus the 34% of those who participated in this survey indicated that they were unsure if Saturday or Sunday was the best day for Worship services.  I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing or an indication that younger generations are shunning the older “traditional” worship times, but rather that people are inundated with busy schedules and family events and find themselves struggling to make it to a traditional 10am Sunday Worship service. 

One could make the assumption that people need to re-adjust their priorities about worship, but does this merely mean they MUST conform to a certain generational structured setting in worship?  

Questions to consider: 

“Are there other times that worship can be held?”
“Is there anything scripturally wrong with meeting at other times in the week?”  (Obvious answer is “No”) 
“Do you have enough support locally and through your Church denominational headquarters to change times or offer an alternative time for worship?”  
Other questions?  (Please feel free to add your own!)


Question #4



Is faithful church attendance important to you?  The majority of those who completed this survey indicated (95%) that it most definitely was important.  

This is greatly connected with our need for belonging within the fellowship of believers if we are Christ-followers.  Reasons we may feel this strongly about church attendance could be because we are challenged by other believers to grow.  There is also an accountability element with regular church attendance.  Also another reason might be because we are comfortable with our “church family” or that our “church family” is in actuality members of our own immediate (blood) families.  

Regardless this statistic should be of no surprise to most of us.  


D.L. Moody once said, “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.”





Question #5

Image  This might not be all too surprising considering the wide demographic that is represented in this survey.  Perhaps the question could have been phrased a little better to indicate “worship style or preference”, but despite this 67% or those polled indicated that a mixed style of worship was preferred.  Only 6% indicated a strict “traditional” style of worship service, while 19% indicated they desired a “contemporary” style of worship.  

Does this surprised anyone?  I think not.  In “Modern” churches out there that push our concept of what worship is, we see that there is still a draw back to the traditional hymns as well as the ancient hymns.  Therefore a mix of both styles of worship seem inevitable within the walls of the current modern church.  This is a continuation of the demographic makeup within this survey and even the general consensus in American churches today.  There are the exceptions, especially among more conservative/traditional church denominations, but growing trends suggest that mixed worship setting is more readily accepted by most church-going Americans (even leaning towards more contemporary means).  

Questions to consider: 

“Is my church contemporary, traditional or a mix of the two?” 
“What is the age makeup of my church?” 
“Would we attract more visitors to our worship services if they were more contemporary?”
“What does traditional worship look like?”
“What does modern contemporary worship look like?”
“What does a mix of the two worship styles look like?”

“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in 
God which made David dance.” 
C.S. Lewis 


I view this survey and its results as an ongoing conversation about how we view “Church”.  Also I would solicit your comments here on this blog as to the results as well as your thoughts on where the Church is heading in the future.  What should we, as Christ followers be doing more of?  How can we be more effective in our witness and worship?  Worship of God is both an individual and a corporate event and I believe there is still more that we can learn and do for the glory of God!  

Another thing that comes to my mind to me is that we must be mindful not to become so bogged down by our style of worship and traditions that they become our sacred cows.  

-Thanks for your contributions to these surveys and I look forward to your comments and responses.   

























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