I read again in Floyd McClung’s book ‘You See Bones – I see and Army’ the quote “the person with a vision is never at the mercy of people without one.” I was in a coffee shop, having driven the 100 miles to our nearest car servicing garage, and nwow filling up the 5 hour wait with a good book.
The quote just stopped me dead…my heart started to beat fast, and my spirit quickened. I remember the very first time God gave me a real vision of what he wanted from his Army. It must have been about 9 years ago at Roots when the main celebration was still in the Theatre place.
Andrew Grinnell was leading the congregation in ‘The World for God’ and the screen was filled with images of early Army footage…Salvationists marching, old Booth preaching, and all that sort of stuff. Captain Geoff Ryan had just preached, telling stories about the revolutionary Salvationist stuff happening amongs the soldiers in Russia and they were now handing out calls to either pack your stuff and move to Russia or to pack your stuff and move to Manchester to help start the new Eden stuff.
It was a vision of a passionate, aggressive, winning Salvation Army with a radical commitment to discipleship and to the poor.
That evening’s worship changed my life fundamentally. It changed my view of the Army…for the first time I got it. In spite of my crazy conversion, the Army (or the corps) were slowly winning in converting me into a nominal bando. The invite to Roots was a step in God’s divine plan. It blew me away. I can trace my ‘discontent with the status quo’ back to that very evening. Since then, that vision of that kind of Army has been pumping away in my heart and all along I’ve been struggling and striving to make it happen…not in Russia or Manchester, but where I am.
I confess openly that I often fail in this. Sometimes I feel the vision is too big, too huge and subsequently impossible. I’m guilty of often look at the ‘status quo’ and getting the distinct feeling that it has won…that is until God awakens yet again the passion, the vision, the discontent. McClung’s book is dynamite. It’s dangerous reading.
Vision must be shared and shared and shared. It must be sold and communicated and published and refined and shared again. It’s about injecting people, awakening them to discover the DNA of who they are. When people discover this, it just explodes one way or the other.
As Stephen Court was saying on his blog recently, we can be slow to create new wineskins for a wave of the Spirit’s blessing, and God often has to make new skins elsewhere. I firmly believe that the largest threat to any Salvation Army revolution is our tendency to squeeze it into old skins. We try and manage stuff and keep hold of it, package it or legislate it.
My prayer for the Army in these day’s is that we’ll have the willingness to recognise that ‘where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ Its crucial that Salvationists in this Territory ask God for his heart and direction and then begin to lead it and live it wherever they are. It can only result in the salvation of the lost…it can only be good.