Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Persecution in The Salvation Army during the 1880s

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The history of The Salvation Army contains many a story of persecution that occurred when Salvationists chose to serve Christ on the streets. They took the transformative message of Jesus Christ to the streets, and that's where the persecuted erupted. The United Kingdom in the late 1870s and 1880s were not too keen on listening to, and putting up with the preaching of these 'Salvationists', who would unashamedly preach the need for repentance and to be filled with the power of the Holy Ghost.

Colonel Henry Gariepy in his 2009 one volume history of The Salvation Army (Christianity in Action) writes, 'During one year, 1882, the number of Salvationists knocked down or otherwise assaulted in the United Kingdom was 669. More than one-third of them, 251, were women, and 23 were children. Eighty-six Salvationists, 15 of them women, were thrown into prison. All because they took part in religious meetings in their own buildings or in the open air.' (: 30).

Some Salvationist's were martyred for their faith, but that did not stop the passion and zeal of the early Salvationists. Even when hundreds were thrown in jail (over 600 in 1884 alone), the commitment to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ on the streets prevailed. Colonel Gariepy says, 'Some shopkeepers kept eggs of vintage for sale at reduced prices for assailing Salvationists on the march' (: 29). This is a nice way of saying, shopkeepers kept a bunch of rotten eggs for sale, so people could 'egg' the Salvos when they marched on by! Along with the sharp rocks that were thrown, no wonder the Salvation Army bonnet was introduced!!

Bramwell Booth wrote that the fiercest opposition did not come from drunkards on the streets, but from the local churches. He writes about the churches, saying, 'We were fighting for freedom to proclaim the same Savior whom they honored. We were a menace to the "comfortable" worship of the day. Our people's zeal and joy put to shame the religion which consisted mostly in a listless rote. Ours was a practical faith. It appealed to the common mass. It offered a spiritual charter to the ecclesiastically disfranchised...' (Bramwell Booth, Echoes and Memories, 1925).

There is much more to say regarding the history of The Salvation Army, and its history of persecution. Stories come to mind of Frederick Booth Tucker being thrown in jail, in India, and the band of followers standing outside the jail cell, all singing praise to God. "You go to jail, I'll go to jail, we'll all go to jail..."

What an intriguing, fascinating and rich history The Salvation Army has. See Henry Gariepy's Christianity in Action (2009) for more... 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leadership Insights from Jesus

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As a Christian, I find much of my leadership development comes from the Bible and predominantly from Jesus Christ himself. Now, this is not to say, that I fail to learn tips of leadership from other avenues, e.g. the business sector, philosophy, nonforprofits, etc, but I do say this: My capacity to lead, from my opinion, must derive itself from the inspired Word of God, and must reflect (within my 21st Century context), the principles and guidelines given from Jesus. From a purely historical perspective, you could say Jesus was the best leader the world has ever seen, especially if your mandate is to have as many followers as possible!

Some of the leadership teachings I have taken from Christ, and which empower me in the area of leadership are:
·         When Jesus challenges the disciples about their heated discussion on who is going to be the greatest, he points to a little child and mentions we should have faith like one of these. This is Jesus confronting the elephant in the living room with the disciples!
·         He also publically confronts Judas about his impending betrayal during the last supper. Most leaders would have kept quiet and swept it under the carpet.
·         Jesus makes a whip and cleans out the temple, so there would be a focus on prayer and not commercialism.
·         Jesus has a heart to heart with Peter following his resurrection, about the need for Peter to feed his sheep, and fulfil his mission in the world.
·         We see Jesus investing a greater amount of time in just three – Peter, James and John.
·         Jesus sets an example of having compassion on the large crowds, and he has faith to minister to them, practically and spiritually.
·         Jesus is an outstanding example of servant leadership (Jesus washing the disciple’s feet).
If we want powerful examples of leadership, then we only need to look to Jesus. We can obviously gleen tips and teachings from many, like Augustine, Martin Luther, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Billy Graham, Jim Collins, Stephen Covey, Mother Theresa, Jack Welch, etc, though we find richness in the teachings of Jesus, that have inspired a movement that is still billions strong today! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Become an Intuitive Leader

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Edward de Bono in his classic Six Thinking Hats speaks of intuition. He says there are two types of intuition. The first type of intuition is the sense of a sudden insight. So something that you perceived in one way is all of sudden perceived in a different way. The second type of intuition intrigues me, as it relates to leadership, in the sense that great leaders have this type of intuition and average leaders do not. This powerful type of intuition is, 'the immediate apprehension or understanding of a situation' (Six Thinking Hats, page 57).

Intuitive leaders have the ability to look at a situation, and say, 'you know, we need to head in this direction'. De Bono says that this intuition is, 'the result of a complex judgement based on experience' (page 57). When you watch sport, you see some players who have intuition - take a game of rugby for instance. The player is running towards the line and is about to get slammed to the ground by the opposition, and intuition tells him, there's one of his players to the back left of him, ready to receive the ball. The player might see him in the corner of his eye, but his experience of the game tells him this player will be ready for the ball, as the ball is passed to him. This intuitive decision to pass the ball and not to go for 'the try' himself, is a rapid intuitive decision based on experience and judgement.

Why do some entrepreneurs buy into a new franchise, when everyone else says that they're crazy? Probably because they have some intuitive sense that the industry is going to turn around. Why does a leader employ a particular person, who others say are not suitable for the position? Probably because they understand from experience who will be the right person for the job. Television networks make decisions on intuition regularly. Sure, they look at the facts and they discuss the research, but in the end, some new television shows are introduced on the board room's intution. What research could suggest that 'So you think you can dance' would have been such a success? It was no doubt, a decision based on the intution of a few.

The question then remains - how do you become an intuitive leader? I think the key idea regarding intuition is to make complex judgements based on experience and knowledge. Intuitive leadership will take time to develop. When I think of my own journey, my ability to make good decisions grows as I learn more about the organisation I am apart of and as I experience more within the realms of that organisation.
  • We will make better decisions employing people, when we understand people's personalities, how character affects their job, how important their industry knowledge is/or should be, etc.
  • We will make better financial decisions, when we understand the financial systems back-to-front, and understand from past experience what has worked and hasn't worked, and why.
In my albeit limited experience as a Salvation Army Officer, I am faced with the need to make leadership decisions based on intuition very regularly. As a minister of a Salvation Army Church, I am faced with questions like, 'Should we start a new congregation to reach the youth in our city?' 'How can we better serve the Indigenous people?' 'Should we spend that $10,000 on that minor development, or should be hold it in the bank until we can do that $300,000 extension?' As my experience grows, and as my knowledge base expands, my ability to make good, sound, intutive leadership decisions increases.

As a Christian, I would like to offer the comment, that the Holy Spirit can plant an idea in your mind, or give you guidance on a particular journey. The Holy Spirit is like, the ultimate intuitive leader, who knows which way to head,  what decision to make and when we should make it. With that in mind, I would like to suggest, that to become an intuitive leader you need to do the following:
  • Grow and learn from experience within your particular field
  • Develop a knowledge base for your particular field
  • Listen to the voice of God, who is the ultimate intuitive leader, who sent Jesus to earth, to show us life, leadership, morality and above all, salvation.
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Some of this blog is attributed to Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats, 1985. How to become an intuitive leader is written by Pete Brookshaw. For more on becoming an intuitive leader, see my post on John C. Maxwell's Law of Intuition.

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