The Model Officer

I’ve just come back from officers ‘retreat’ which was a good few days. Several things were helpful: the rest, the fellowship, the conversation, the good teaching by Majors Peter & Val Mylechreest. It was also good, like I said before, to reflect on stuff a year on from some pretty serious conversations we had at the last event re calling, officership etc.

One thing that came through strong over the few days was the ‘model’ of officership that was being discussed as if it were pretty much the only one. Officership was defined on several occassions as pastoring, preaching and administration.

Now, my ministry includes all of that, all of that is necessary. I’m better at some of it that I am at others. But as surely as the Lord lives, surely officership is much more than that.

It is, of course. Isn’t it?

The Model Officer is Jesus. And he wasn’t so much a General, as a regular captain who, at every turn, refused any title or position of authority thrust upon him all for the sake of what his Father taught him to do. Jesus was a pastor, preacher, apostle (as in sent), teacher and evangelist. He was the model officer. He came to invite us to follow him, to do as he did and be as he was and is. An Isaiah 61 ministry like he announced in Luke 4.

I don’t have a ministry. Mission is God’s, its part of his character, part of his purpose and as part of that he sends us like he sent Jesus, like Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. When I ‘do’ ministry its rubbish. When I do God’s ministry, I’m a co-worker with him and he does things that I could never imagine.

I am tired, in a sense, of self-introspection when it comes to ‘ministry performance.’ Coming up for my five year review, I’ve filled in a myriad of forms and questionnaires about my ministry. Now, I know that accountability comes in, and I am all for that, 110%. But since when has the mission of God all depended on me? or on you?

To me, officership is about being released from regular employ to seek to emmulate my Rabbi, Jesus, who has called me to follow him and do what he does, to learn from him in listening to what the father is commanding today. That will involve a pastoral conversation, and evangelistic conversation, a fight for justice and standing for the oppressed, it will involve leadership of God’s people in how we engage with the mission of God, it will involve bringing light on the teachings of the Word too.

I’m not the Messiah (you’ll be glad to know), I am not called to give my life as the sacrifice to pay for the sin of Torry, but I AM called to learn from Jesus. I’m called to live for him, like him, through him and with him that the world might see Jesus in me. Its all about doing the will of the Father, empowered by the Spirit in the fashion of Jesus.

Its not just officers who are called to live like Jesus like this, of course, not saying that at all, but what I am simply saying is that those of us who are called into leadership in the Army, this is where I believe we must start.

I’m waiting for someone to ask me how much my ministry looks like the ministry of Jesus.

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One thought on “The Model Officer

  1. thanks for your thoughts on officership. you are right in what you say, and it is true that it seems that the role of an ‘officer’ is labelled by senior leaders as perhaps being different to what we perceive. I agree that a Salvation Army Officer is seen as a Spiritual Leader and therefore, you would think, would be required to model Jesus in our actions. However, this threefold tag of Preacher, Pastor and Administrator seems to have been pushed to the fore. Even at assessment conferences now, you are required to preach, pastor (in mocked up one on one scenarios) and administer (in a mocked up corps council for us). Yes questions were asked about our Spiritual Life but I’m still not convinced how the process finds out if you can ‘be like Jesus’ in all situations. Obviously I’m not going to get to do that as an officer now, but will be living that way as a lay person and undertaking ministry with that thought in mind.I’m interested to know, although understand if you can’t say, how much “being like Jesus” was explored during your five year review conference?

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