Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Sacred Army System?

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We work, work, work in the Salvation Army. We work efficiently and the items that need to be attended to, for the most part, are completed. We're an efficient Army.

But are we an effective Army?

Are we kept busy with lots of paperwork, that when you think about it is a little pointless? Let me give an example. We have to fill in a log book in College to highlight the time we spend in ministry every week, and we need a minimum of ten hours at our assigned corps... Is it too revolutionary to simply ask the Cadet, what they've been doing for the week? "Hi Johnny, what have you been doing this week?" "Umm... on Wednesday I went and helped out at a breaky club and then I preached on Sunday..." "Great stuff Johnny, talk to you later" Too revolutionary? Less controlling? Who knows.

My question today is this... Is anyone an operations manager in the Salvation Army? That is, is anyone stepping back from the process they find themselves in, to look for a better way to do that process? Most organisations are always streamlining their processes to be more effective with less resources and even less personnel. How many officers could we send back into the 'ministry field' if we looked intentently at quickening decision making, reducing paperwork, empowering leaders to make decisions, etc?

If you're still reading, let me give another example... Here's a radical concept. When I was a candidate wanting to become a cadet, I was sent a document that highlighted '21 steps to becoming a cadet'. I looked through this process and with a few changes I was able to reduce the steps to 16 and quicken the accepting process for cadets by up to eight weeks. How? Simply by having two or more representatives from THQ to be present on the DHQ board, and then following the interview, to make a decision THERE AND THEN about whether to accept the cadet. Then that afternoon, ring them and tell them, yay or nay.

Sounds simple? But maybe our system is too sacred to change? Or is it simply the vehicle we use to be effective, in order that souls would be saved and lives transformed in the name of Jesus?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Dream... A Spirit-led Revolution

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A couple of years ago, the Holy Spirit spoke a scripture deep into my being. Isaiah 61:1, which reads, ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’ (NIV). This is my life; empowered by the Holy Spirit, to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor and to provide physically and spiritually for the needy. Some months ago a prophet was speaking into my life and spoke the words of Isaiah 61:1 – without knowing, but just confirming this (God is good!).

I must admit something. I’m not content being the CO of a church of 40 middle-class Salvos; no offence. God has given me and you a mandate to go and make disciples of all nations, and my passion is to see effective Spirit-filled ministry multiply so that as many lives as the Lord allows us to reach, will be reached. There is a generation of young people that are not satisfied with the status quo, that are hungry after God’s presence. I would love to empower them to literally usher in a Spirit-led Revolution.

I also dream of preaching the gospel in South-East Asia, and seeing thousands of lives impacted. I dream of planting thousands of vibrant, soul-saving, social-justice minded corps that reproduce again and again. Lots of dreams and visions… But am I merely ambitious, or would you pray and believe that maybe the Lord has placed a enormous vision on my heart that with his help might just be accomplished…?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Messianic Jews!

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On Saturday morning a few of us went off to a Jewish Messianic Service... It was a little bit like Sunday Worship on Saturday.

What do I mean by Messianic? They were a congregation who worships the Messiah. The one we know of as Jesus. The ones the Jews call, 'Yeshua' which is simply Jesus in Hebrew.

What a sight! People dancing and singing and saying prayers in Hebrew. There were readings from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and there was a message from the book of Acts, highlighting the fact that Jesus was the promised Messiah that the Jewish people had been waiting for.

He is alive! He has come! Jesus has come to take away the sin of the World.
I've just got two words for that...

Awesome stuff!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Founder's Desire

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Many reading this, know that William Booth started The Salvation Army back in 1878 alongside his wife Catherine. They had a passion burning inside them to see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform people's lives and to witness the reformation of society.

In Alan Hirsch's new book, he writes these great words in relation to those that are 'founders' of a movement:

'...for a movement to survive beyond the initial impulse, the Founder literally must somehow live on in his people, and the vitality of the subsequent message would henceforth depend on the willingness and capacity of his people to faithfully embody his message' (p. 114).

Will we continue to live out the essence of the passion that underpinned the ministry of William and Catherine Booth?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Cabinet needs our support

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The Chief Secretary (Australian Southern Territory) came and spoke to the cadets today in regards to the role of the CS and the leadership of the Cabinet of the Salvation Army.

You know sometimes we complain about higher leadership. Sometimes people wonder why they decide what they decide and question motives. The fact is, the staff that are on cabinet and those that are in important positions of leadership are just as passionate about growing the Kingdom of God as we are! They are in high pressure jobs, with the responsibility of making quick, wise decisions that affect our ministries. I ask that God would guide them and bless them as they make these decisions.

Why this post? I think today has helped me understand a little of the pressures and demands of Salvation Army leadership, and I want to acknowledge my support for the ministries these people undertake. Sure The Salvation Army could be less hierarchial; sure The Salvation Army could more empowering; sure The Salvation Army could be more passionate. But you know something? I'll probably always say that, no matter how flat the structure, how empowering we are and how passionate we seem to be!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Church Planting: The Foundation

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What makes a Church, a Church? Some say it is simply: Worship, Discipleship and Mission

Church planting is an effective methodology for successful evangelism in the future. We can tire ourselves out in fixing churches that are on the decline, and some are gifted to do that (see Ezekiel 37), but Church planting births new growth, new expressions of worship, new expressions of discipleship and creative opportunities for mission.

Build a team that are willing to take the Word for God and their strong belief in Jesus as Lord, and allow God to use them to bring others to himself. We need more than just humility and servanthood, but we need strong leadership and a passion for God as well, to pioneer new worshipping faith communities.

The foundation for church planting is:

* A strong, united team of people, passionate about growing the Kingdom, and reforming society

* Worship

* Discpleship

* Mission

Lets put Church Planting back on the agenda.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Wisdom teeth are Dumb: Part 2

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I finally got my Wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday... I told the doctor, 'I have a new quote... Wisdom teeth are dumb.' He just looked at me, with a straight face and continued to tell me the minor risks related to having my wisdom teeth removed.

I have a busy weekend, this weekend, with a Corps Planting Conference to attend... So here's some questions to tie you over:

* What food do they put in those hospital drips? Is it Hungry Jacks?
* Will a woman ever be appointed as a TC and the husband as 'President of Women's Ministries'?
* When will Jesus return?
* Aren't you in fulltime ministry when you become a Christian, not just when you have a ministerial job?
* Are celebrities famous for much nowadays?
* When will the emerging Church become the Church?
* Does anyone hate that filthy 'Nandos' Advertisement on TV at the moment?
* Does everything taste like Chicken?
* When will Social Justice be something the Salvation Army is once again sold out to?
* Will you step into the calling God may have been placing on your life recently?

See you early next week. Keep blogging. Jesus is alive!

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