Friday, January 1, 2016

The Salvation Army - How to Forge Ahead in 2016

I'm sick of the same old, same old. Aren't you? The wheel keeps spinning and 2016 could end up just looking like a polished version of 2015. That's all well and good if you're completely satisfied with the year just gone. Though, if you're like me, you're not.

A new year always affords new opportunities. And one must say, to forge ahead in 2016, means we need to fix the bad habits of 2015 and tweak everything else. If we are hoping for different results and better outcomes, we cannot continue to do the same old thing. Same old, same old, with the same results. Don't be insane.

The Salvation Army has a great year ahead.

I have a couple of thoughts of how, God willing, The Salvation Army can forge ahead in 2016. We can forge ahead. To forge is 'to form or make, especially by concerted effort'. I like that. Salvationists are predominantly already busy, pragmatic, do-ers, who want to change the world. So the challenge then is to consider, what are we forging ahead with?

Let me offer you my thoughts, and you can add to it.

How The Salvation Army can forge ahead in 2016:

  • We need to better understand the mission of The Salvation Army. Why? Then we wouldn't get caught up in debates about worship styles and heated discussions about the colour of the carpets. I couldn't imagine Jesus unrolling the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and saying to the Nazarene community gathered, 'Hi folks, contrary to what you think, today my ministry is going to be about superficial things that don't really matter.' (See Luke 4:14-21). A better grasp of the significance of a mission of serving the last, lost and least of our global village will better prepare us in the year ahead.
  • We need to admit worship is more about our lifestyle than our music. We also should admit, (from what I understand), William Booth implemented Brass Bands as a vehicle for effective mission in his context. We must continually seek ways for our music, finances and resources to be mission-focused and make appropriate adaptations over time. I'm not going to say much more. Worship is about laying your life on the altar (See Romans 12:1-2).
  • We need to wrestle with people admiring The Salvation Army but not wanting to join it. I speak in generalities. People love The Salvation Army, but don't see themselves ever able to be a Salvationist. I don't know the answer to this. Do we need to radically re-think our organisational structures? How does Soldiership become more accessible to the world? How do we be not of the world, but still in it, and still effectively reach our world? I'm asking more questions than giving answers.
  • We need to write more provocative works. We need to pen better books. We need to communicate so people want to listen. We must find ourselves on the cutting edge of creative ministry. We must engage people with the exciting, hope-filled mission that we are a part, and call people to follow Jesus in the midst of a dynamically, changing world. One may say then that ministry becomes all about us and I sure don't want to go down that rabbit warren. Though, we are still called by God to do the best with what we have, the best with what we have in our hands, and the best with all that God will make us stewards of. So be the best in 2016. Don't settle for mediocrity.
  • We must pray like we believe that God answers the prayers of his people. Stop for a moment. This is critical. IF WE BELIEVED God actually changed the course of history, because one of God's Spirit-filled believers requested more of God and God's presence abided in a deeper way, we would PRAY MORE! We would pray with more intent and passion! The issue here is plain to me. We pray more like Calvinists, than anyone else. We pray like God has already chosen to bless certain people and God has already decided who will be healed and who will flourish. I want to say, No! I believe your prayers can change the course of the present and create a different future! God hears the cries of his people. Call people in 2016 to really, really pray!
  • We must hear from God. Yeah, yeah, I know you've heard that before. Sure. Great. I get the repetition. Though, this is another no-brainer, that needs re-iterating. Without hearing from the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, you're bound to simply do what most Salvationists do - fundraise, worship, serve, read, pray, serve some more and pastorally support others. All of it is good, absolutely, though we need to hear from the Lord. What is God is saying for you to leave everything and go to the Northern Territory? What if God is saying, it's time to pray for the sick on a regular basis? What if God is saying, take 20 people and go on a silent retreat? We must hear from God in 2016. I'm not saying we didn't in 2015, you understand that. But we must, hear from God. What are you saying Lord?
  • One more thought. We must not simply build buildings so that we can worship, and then fundraise to keep the building open so that we can worship. We must be wholly committed to embracing a risky, dynamic mission that reaches into the crevices of a broken world, and offers the hope of Christ.

The Salvation Army has a great year ahead.

Will you be led by the Holy Spirit, to fully participate in all that God desires to do through you this year?

1 comment:

  1. Pete: Thanks for the challenging, yet encouraging words! I'm especially encouraged by your challenge to write "more provocative words." I've just tried to do that in a new book full of Salvo history and quotations called: "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." It's available through Amazon at


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