The Salvation Army – Are we enabling through Social Programs?

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This is an open question that begs your response. 
Don’t kill the messenger here, It’s something that I’ve not only seen, I have heard said as well.
Are we working to address underlying needs of those we love and serve or are we just addressing the basic needs of “the moment”?  
All too often it is far easier to “meet human needs in His name without discrimination” right now based on what they need…but it’s much harder to ask the difficult questions, to pry back the hurt in order to discover underlying causalities.  

NOT A STEREOTYPE
I recognize that not every Salvation Army does take the “easy” route in services.   Some take great pains to work with those in need and to help discover and address the real issues.  I am certainly no unopposed to handing out a food box or securing temporary housing for a displaced family but without addressing the real causes are we slowly hurting those we serve more than helping?

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 Enabling is okay for time, but providing solutions, real tangible answers to their problems…isn’t that what Booth was all about?  If you have a problem with drink – stop drinking.  If you need a safe environment to work – here’s a job.  General Booth said to his son Bramwell “do something!”  

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Perhaps the question shouldn’t be “what are we doing” but rather “what can we do better?”  
How can we get to the bottom of life issues, help to heal – feed both the body and the soul and help a person back onto their feet? 
I understand some may never get back on their feet…some may have experienced the worst kind of life imaginable and they will need our support for the rest of their lives…but not all are like this.  Can we help them and then send them to become helpers as well?  Can we break from the “status quo” and become revolutionary again?  

This revolution may look very different in other countries, but what about your country?  What is YOUR Army doing to pick people back up, to help heal the hurting, to mend the shattered?  Can we avoid enabling within our social programs?  We must recognize that we are called to so much more than just social programs…but spiritual hope and salvation as well first.  

I would like to hear your thoughts on this. 
What is being done? 
What can we do differently? 
Are we impacting the world as we once did?  
Do we risk enabling souls instead of healing souls through the power of the Holy Spirit?  

-Something for our Army to ponder today.

May we ever be daring to continue to “go for souls and go for the worst!” 
 

Church 101 – “And the Survey Says…”

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Below are 8 questions within a survey that, if you have the time, would you please click and fill it out.  
This survey is through “SurveyMonkey” it’s safe and you won’t be asked to give any information other than answering these quick and painless multiple choice questions.  

Next Monday I will share with you the results of this Church 101 survey.  Please help me in gathering as much data as I can by your participation in this survey, from you my fellow readers and bloggers.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.  

This should be interesting!

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Here’s the link – 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5B33GZQ

Stay tuned Monday as I explore results and please comment and help explore this topic with me!  

Honest Questions…

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What if I actually did as Jesus instructed?  What would that look like?  Would the world be better off because of it?  If I actually loved my enemy.  If I actually extended grace that extra mile.  If I actually opened my heart to the whosoever?  What would that look like?

What if I actually got serious about disciplining my thought processes?  The way that I think.  After all didn’t Jesus say that even if we think about adultery we’ve already committed it in our hearts?  What would it look like if I applied the Paul principles in my life?  If I pondered on all things true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy…(Philippians 4:8)?  What would come of thinking this way?  If I got rid of all the junk, filth, malice, hate and envy?  If I, like David, asked God instead to create in me a clean heart and to renew that right spirit within me (Ps 51)…how would I be different than I am now?

What if I got serious about holiness?  If I actually started listening to those promptings of the Holy Spirit to truly surrender all?  If I stopped holding onto to those darker portions of my heart.  If I stopped messing around thinking that there’s always time later to mature in this thing called ‘faith’.  How would this surrender take over my life?  Would I be truly transformed?  Would I be more confident?  Would I have more assurance of His grace in me?  What if His holiness became a priority instead of a temporary, on again off again passing phase?  What if I got serious and got disciplined in this faith?

What if I stopped talking all the time in my prayers and actually began to listen?  What would I hear Him say?  What is He saying right now?  Am I afraid of His words?  Am I dreading wrath or condemnation?  Have I been putting off these listening ears because I would rather ask Him for things instead of do what He wants of me?  And why don’t I spend more time studying His Word?  Why is it laborious for me to read a single chapter but I can spend hours in front of the TV, with my fiction books and surfing the web?  Am I afraid of what He might say to me regarding my other idle activities?  Would I be convicted too much?  I can justify it all away, I can say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ but never really mean the words that I say.

What if I was honest with myself…with Him?  What if…what if…what if.  Perhaps it’s time to stop asking ‘what ifs’ and starting asking why not now?  What am I waiting for?  Why am I stalling?  What are the reasons?  WHY NOT NOW?

-Just a few honest questions.

Electing A General…More Money, more Soldiers? More questions than answers…

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Correct me if I’m wrong here, because often I am.  And I do not want to rely on hearsay or useless erroneous conjecture.   But as I’ve been reading various publications and blogs of officers and leaders, I hit on a disturbing notion in regards to how Generals of The Salvation Army are elected.  Am I incorrect in assuming that a large portion of the election process is weighed within economic and statistical measures?  By that I mean do we put that much emphasis on those leaders who are perceived to have grown their territories in leaps and bounds?  If this is the case, and I hope they are not, is this biblical?  

Secondly, does this then preclude potential candidates who clearly have the intellect and godly principles from being elected based on the territories in which they are currently serving?  

Hopes:  The fastest growing regions of The Salvation Army are also within the poorest regions of this world…would the High Council consider a Commissioner from one of these regions as a viable candidate?  My hope and dream is that we begin to see the progressive movement within the Army to consider the leadership of the entire world regardless of its economic or statistical support.  

What I know:  Not much.  That much is true.  But what I do know is that This Army has been historically revolutionary in this movement!  We allow women to preach, Hallelujah!  Regardless of gender, Salvationists have more equality than a lot of churches around the world!  We are a holiness movement, and thus we must continue to rely on His promptings and proddings within our Army for ‘greater things’.  The mission is not over yet!  And we continue to need leaders to rise who will not insulate the Army and play it safe but those who are willing move it forward!   

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.

 

 

 

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