Going for Souls

We’ve been teaching the 4 points to pretty much everyone linked with our corps here. I keep going on about it, I know, but this is by far one of the best ways I’ve come across so far in equipping everyday folks for their witness. Its ‘power to the people’ – something which doesn’t always happen very easily! For the ‘evangelist’ types it seems simplistic and maybe not th most effective method, but for people who aren’t majorly gifted in the evangelism dept, its great.

Tonight we shared with with our Kids Alive kids, gave them one of the little bands (which they were well chuffed with) and was just great to hear them go out the door sharing the gospel with each other! Lord give us what we need to nurture those seeds and see them bear great harvest for the Kingdom!

There are only a few of us in our corps. We’re going all out in sharing the gospel in these next couple of weeks leading up to Easter. We’re praying that boundless salvation will flow. We’re praying that the Holy Spirit will come and cement the Word we share and produce the fruit (godly sorrow that leads to repentance -2 Cor 7:9-11). We’re pressing for souls because there is nothing more important. There are other things that are important, but still, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? (Matt 16:26; Mk 8:36; Luke 9:25).

Some of you will find that this gospel makes more sense to the poor. Why? Some of these guys have a lot of fertilizer in their lives! It truly is good news to the poor as opposed to the rich young ruler who walked away sad. Camel, needle, eye.

Remember the last, the lost and the least, in your sharing.

Missional Salvationists

So, I’m trying to pull together people interested in doing a bit of online community learning which will hopefully help Salvationists to come together for online encouragement and teaching, encouragement in mission and service through their local corps.

The plan is fairly simple. I’m going to present some sort of short video talks on an aspect of Salvationist mission. I’ll be coming at it from a bit of a ‘primitive salvationist’ angle…the only angle I know well! There will also be some suggested reading for each segment. I’ll then prepare a list of questions to get us going and then we wade in on the discussion forum. We’ll lean on some SA101, 201, and 301 teaching plus whatever else seems relevant.

By primitive salvationist, I mean primitive as in ‘pertaining to the original; according to the initial pattern.” Primitive Salvationism has been defined as ‘charismatic-flavoured mission-focussed heroism.’ Ideally, the word ‘primitive’ shouldn’t have to be in there at all, and maybe it doesn’t, but I am sure I’m not the only one who believes that we need to capture again our reason d’etre.

I hope you’ll join in and find it helpful.

Rough list of topics: mission to the poor, ministry by the Holy Spirit, holiness, salvation, spiritual warfare, evangelism, social justice, mission shape, covenant, soldiership, community transformation etc

Search for teh group on Facebook.

Our Little Maréchale!

This time three years ago we were awaiting the ‘soon’ arrival of our daughter, Ceitidh (Katie). Happy Birthday Ceitidh! We already had in mind at that point that she’d be called Ceitidh, not so much in the fashion of General Catherine Booth, but Katie Booth-Clibborn (la Maréchale), daughter of William and Catherine.

At the age of 22, she was taken to Paris by her mother and left there with a small group of equally young women to introduce L’Armee du Salut to France.

Within a week she was “sworn at, jeered at, and pelted with stones and mud …” But her incredible tenacity and sincerity of purpose gradually won through. They nicknamed her “La Capitaine” at first … and then “La Maréchale” (the Marshall).

The first meetings in Paris were in a dingy building in a rough quarter, where, as the police sergeant remarked, “they have got in that crowd half the cut-throats of Paris”. Yet these hardened men were dazzled by the innocent and dedicated zeal of the young ladies pressing upon them a gospel which their religion-hating culture had denied them.

After no result from exhausting effort a Christian lady advised Katie to return to her mother in England. The reply came, “If I cannot save France, I can die for it!” Young Catherine won her first convert by going to an old washer-woman at the back of the meeting, hugging her and telling her how much she loved her.

With the assistance of a dozen other young women under her remarkable leadership – ever in the forefront of the battle for souls – the Maréchale planted the Salvation Army also in Switzerland, Belgium and Holland.

As time went on, Katie’s path changed course, leaving the Army, but remaining an ardent soul-winner.

When I dedicated my Ceitidh to God, I chose to surrender here entirely to the Lord. I pray that she will follow Him all the days of her life. I pray that she wil be part of a revolution generation in our midst who will comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforatable. My little Maréchale! Happy Birthday sweetheart!

2020 Vision

Some years ago, there was a lot of hype about 2020 vision in this territory.  The idea is that 2020 is a number that symbolises perfect vision, but also reminds us of the fact that statistical decline shows serious consequences for the SA UKT by the year 2020.  There isn’t much about this at all in the recent years.  No idea what happened.

However, having had those thoughts about the whole 2020 thing, imagine my surprise when I came across a new initiative by the South Queensland Division, Australia, through facebook.

Their vision, spearheaded by the Divisional Commander, is to see a life giving Division with 60 Mission Centres – liberating lives,transforming communities, advancing God’s kingdom. 

The group on facebook shows signs too that people are taking the challenge seriously and that its producing focus and results to, so early.  This is a great example of clear, inspiring and empowering divisional leadership.

I hear too much of decline.  I hear too much about hopelessness, so much in fact that I got sucked into beginning to believe it.  If this thing called the Salvation Army is to be true to God in these next ten or so years, it really needs to stand up. 

What a vision…60 vibrant Mission Centres – liberating lives, transforming communities, advancing God’s Kingdom.  Great thing is that I really picked up that the division were doing so much to facilitate it to through provision of training, encouragement and vision casting.  I’ll be watching with interest.

Meantime, what a vision to consider – vibrant mission centre – liberating lives, transforming communities, advancing God’s Kingdom.  Amen!   Amen?

Five Year Review

I guess I’ve had a bit of time now to process the ‘process’ of my five year review in London last week. I thank God, first of all, for the encouraging input of those who were ‘assessing’ us. Thanks too, to those who were involved who read this blog. I still don’t know the results, although I can’t perceive any conditions that might be put upon our continuing in officership.

You’ve no idea how much I needed the assurance coming from that few days. Sometimes you fight on and you wonder if anyone ‘gets’ what you are trying to do and be. I guess after a difficult year of internal stuff, I’m gradually getting to the place where I feel that I am becoming ready to step up to the plate more and more. It annoys me that I had to step back in the first place!

We’ve had a great breadth of experience in our 5 years of officership and another 3 in corps leadership on top of that. It has shaped our life. We have a strong sense of God preparing us, not just for the now, but for the tasks and appointments yet to come.

It was refreshing too that although the process has been designed by someone assessing officers as ‘pastors and administrators’, new leaders taking over this years process realise they must do more than that. I sense a gradual change at that ‘higher level’ of a change in mindset from officership as a ‘jack of all trades’ to officership as a route of service for leaders expressing an aspect of Ephesians 4 ministries.

Good too to hear some thinking about how officer training should look. I reflected back to the group that training college prepares officers to lead the status quo. William Booth College needs to be a place where leaders are trained. There is the difference between training effective leaders and training people to fulfil a organisational role. I look forward to the day when WBC becomes a leadership college as opposed to an academic institution. Our movement needs that positive shift.

Happy St Patricks Day!

St Patricks Breastplate – warfare prayer

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

All in a day’s work

Armybarmy blog carried a neat little section the other day on the Salvo work day. It attempts to split the day up into 9 x 2 hour segments, allowing for 6 hours sleep. It goes as follows:

1. work up – rations
2. work around – family
3. work out – food/exercise
4. work in – study
5. work into – disciple
6. work outside – evangelise
7. work through – communications/decision-making
8. work ahead – strategy/planning
9. work over – personal (errands/chores/relax)

We had a jolly good go at this and found it a bit unworkable when keeping to the letter of the law, so to speak. However, when keeping to the ‘spirit’ of the advice its a cracking framework for ministry.

Not sure how it works, necessarily, for the Salvo who’s working a nine hour day, but certainly for the likes of me its a good pattern.

It can be split into four helpful blocks for each day, which I’ve entitled ‘Share’, ‘Live’, ‘Grow’. In this, you have a loose framework which is flexible in line with how the day pans out and recognises that every day is different. In my plan, you get 7 hours sleep, which is closer to what we need based on the majority of medical advice. Here are the three headings and a rough guide as to how they might be broken down. There is still plenty of room for discipline here as well as giving flexibility for those who need it.

Sleep 7 hours

Share (7 Hours)
– 3 hours planning/strategy/communications/decision making.
– 2 hours discipling
– 2 hours evangelising

Live (6 Hours)
– 2 hours family
– 2 hours food/exercise
– 2 hours personal (errands, chores, relaxation)

Grow (4 Hours)
– 2 Hours Rations (bible/prayer)
– 2 Hours Study

In case you are wondering, I have ‘stolen’ the extra one hour sleep from planning/stragegy/comms/decision making…Stephen suggests 4 hours for all that. I actually think two hours a day of all this would be sufficient, but I guess that depends on your appointment. If thats the case, add it on to evangelism or prayer.

So yeah, give it a go. Lets see what we can achieve. By all means, give Stephens pattern a go first, it may work exactly for you. Or maybe if your the personality type that can’t cope with highly sheduled days this more flexible approach might suit you better.

The aim of this though, is effective Kingdom working. We do this stuff because we want to be effective in our service and increase our availability to the Lord.

Let me give a word of challenge, however, especially to any officer friends who may be reading – how balanced is your ministry? Are you creating time for the stuff that ‘really’ matters as opposed to what seems urgent?

If all this stuff is important, we will be willing to make the changes in our shedules to make sure it happens. May need a bit of working out, but its necessary, isn’t it?