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!” 
 

A Call To Revolution – A Letter to the youth of The Salvation Army (Prepare for battle)

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Dear Junior Soldier, Senior Soldier and Corps Cadet, this Army that you are growing up in is a living and breathing organism.  The purpose that I write this letter to you is to encourage you and to remind you that The Salvation Army is made up of more than just people but it is also and primarily a mission and a cause for Christ!   I humbly acknowledge that it is at times faulty and flawed.  I also acknowledge that there will be times that its soldiers and even officers are flawed.  We are all sinners saved by grace, yet holiness is not always everyone’s first priority in their identity as people and soldiers of God.

That being said, there are a few instructions I would like to leave with you as you develop and grow as first of all a child of God and secondly a soldier of our Army.

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These instructions are as follows:

1.  Never waver in your faith (1 Corinthians 16:13).

We all have to grow up in this world.  There are a lot of pressures and traps that as we grow older, become more and more appealing.  Temptations abound and as we mature with age we may begin to question the very foundations of our faith.   Some within our culture(s) may even tell you that what you grew up believing about the bible are very nice stories but that is all that they are.  DON’T BUY THE LIE!   Don’t let doubts consume you and especially be mindful of the fact that there so many people living contrary to scripture that they would love you to join them in order to justify their lifestyles and choices.  Don’t allow Satan to muddy the waters of morality and these Christ-like teachings that you are learning…keep them close!  As proverbs tells us, “Guard your hearts!” (Proverbs 4:23)

Also remember that though you may feel all alone at times because of this stand that you take for the cause of Christ, “Be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:9)  You are called to be a mighty warrior for God, and you ARE NOT ALONE!  God is and has equipped you for this spiritual war…so take confidence and never waver in your faith!

2.  Don’t forget the purpose we fight on! (Ephesians 6:12)

The battle that is waged in this world, as the apostle Paul so aptly put is ‘not against flesh and blood’.  The battle is very much a spiritual war!  And so many people are trapped within the confines of sin in this world, and if you are a soldier of God your objective is to be used by the Holy Spirit for the purposes of setting captives free.  We CANNOT do this in our own strength, nor by our own mortal wisdom.  We are mere conduits of Him who has sent us.  Don’t forget who has sent you and why we must soldier on!  Sin is the ultimate slaver and is Satan’s primary tool.  It is powerful and effective in a lost and dying world…but we who know the truth, we have been set free!   Christ has, by his blood and death, redeemed us and delivered us from this destructive path.   And since Christ has called all of us to this truth and then commanded us to ‘go into all the world’(Mark 16:15)…we must go!  We must fight on!

BUT…

3As Revolutionary Soldiers of God, use Revolutionary/Evolutionary Weapons!                (2 Corinthians 10:4)

You probably didn’t have a choice growing up where you would worship.  You became a member of The Salvation Army most likely because your family came here…but know that this Army IS/SHOULD be a living and breathing organism.  By that I mean, the methods by which we convey the gospel of Jesus Christ ought to continue to be revolutionary and evolutionary!  If we are truly using these ‘heavenly weapons’ then we MUST rely on The Holy Spirit to guide us and equip us, thereby making us effective in this fight.  At times, the conduits by which we have employed these spiritual weapons need to change.   It is most certainly a fine line between relevancy and complete world immersion.  BE CAREFUL!  That as we employ these revolutionary tactics through evolutionary means that we do not lose our focus and become so like the world that we look nothing like Christ any longer.

That being said, you are the current pulse of a whole new generation!  The revolutionary methods we once employed, a generation ago, have become common place and static.  Therefore BE THE PULSE of Christ to your generation!  Employ new methods of ministry and evangelism in this Army that so desperately needs an adrenaline shot of passion once again!

If we are to survive as The Salvation Army that God intended, WE NEED YOU to revolutionize and make waves of change in an Army that has somewhat lost its forward momentum.   The Message of Christ is still relevant and vital to this world, but the methods by which we relay His love and grace has to continue to reach an ever evolving society and culture.   Proponents who insulate and protect traditions in our Army might argue that we don’t need to change and that we must plod on as we have always done…this line of thinking only serves to preserve what we’ve done in the past but doesn’t help to invest in what we will do in the present and the future.  WE MUST NEVER lose sight of where we’ve been and our rich heritage that we have inherited, BUT WE MUST BE UNAFRAID to risk much for the faith and cause of Christ!  This must be our identity as an Army if we are to survive and continue the battle God has placed us in.

Dear Junior Soldier, Senior Soldier and Corps Cadet member, I conclude this note to you with a word of encouragement:

Stand firm, be brave and never lose sight of the war that we wage as an Army.  Don’t let the internal battle, both in your heart and in the Organization discourage you or cause you to flee the cause!  Fight on and keep your focus on ‘Others’!  Use revolutionary means and evolutionary tactics to claim victories in the hearts of the lost.  And lastly, you are not a soldier who is by yourself in the midst of battle…never forget that!  There are other soldiers and officers who will gladly join you on the front lines…and if they fail to or abandon you they should be considered ‘unfit for duty’…move on and recruit others to soldier on beside you, keeping one another accountable through love and grace and purpose.

You are our future and present…gear up and prepare for battle!

Sincerely,

A Captain in this Army and ongoing war!

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