Five Key advances for the Decade

Again, from Stephen Court’s blog. So good it has to be shared wider. Here is his five recommended and needful advances for this decade. What will you part in it be?

1. Finish the ‘every nation’ part of the great commission by 2020. 82 are left. That’s just over eight each year. If we are intentional and if God endorse it, we can do it.

Why? This is what we’re about – winning the world for Jesus. Let’s drag as many people into heaven with us as we can.

Why it hasn’t happened yet? I’m not sure. Political factors in different countries have been and will be difficult, that financial realities have been restricting, and that the challenges on existing fronts have been demoralizing. But they needn’t hinder a resolute force. Not every national invasion might be through the front door in uniforms and with a flag (though this is the current process)…

2. Return holiness and covenant to their rightful place as priority in The Salvation Army. The General has started this process with holiness. A universal embrace of covenant (soldiership particularly) will reverse fragmentation and decline).

Why? The universal embrace of covenant will bring about a unity that commands a blessing. The pervasive holiness will be like adding a rocket booster to every initiative in which we engage.

Why it hasn’t happened yet? We got side-tracked by commercial Christian influence that is almost exclusively non-holiness and non-covenant (books, CDs, tv, MP3, internet, etc.). We have a couple of generations (at least) nursed on the inevitability of sin and the futility of covenant. Ours is ‘new’ doctrine to most today.

3. Get our praxis right on women. Teach Biblical equality. Live it. How will it look? It might be reasonable to make 60 married women DCs in the next two years, a dozen married women CSs (from the 60) in the two years following, a handful of married women TCs (from the dozen) in the two years following that. That might mean that by the High Council to elect the 20th general there will be several married women TCs.

Why? Some of Booth’s best men are women. Why should we fight an unleashed and desperate enemy with one hand tied behind our back? There are excellent women leaders who could be significantly improving our effectiveness in senior responsibilities if we get this right. This will affect every marriage, every family relationship, every corps throughout the Army – it could revolutionise our warfighting.

Why it hasn’t happened yet? The most lame excuse I have heard (and I have heard it more than once) is the husband couldn’t handle it emotionally/socially if his wife was promoted ‘above’ him. That is so pathetic that I cannot address it seriously. In other words, it seems like we have not been serious about winning the war, as measured by our action on this issue, to date (huge claim).

4. Internationalise Salvation Army leadership. The next steps might look like this. Appoint African and Asian leaders as TC in western FITs (Financially Independent Territories). This has never been done. From a human standpoint, it removes the hindrance to electing such leaders general.

Why? There appear to be great leaders in some of these places who have proven track records of supernatural advance. Why should western FITs be deprived of their expertise and authority? Why should they be limited to territorial commands if they have a global anointing?

Why hasn’t this happened yet? It looks like institutional racism from the outside. But it is more likely the self-replicating dynamics of bureaucracy and organizational networking.

5. Nail the Ss. We’re saved to save. Even those who refuse to line up behind General Booth on this important point must realise that if they insist that they are saved to serve, they must at least determine that they are saved to serve the Lord and not the whims of the people.

Why? Settling this subject will keep us from teetering back and forth with every wind of the latest trendy approach to Christianity. It is one thing to lurch from church growth to Sunday Schools to men’s ministry to mega churches to seeker sensitivity to emergent church to postmodernism to justice to … but when the ship is global (as is The Salvation Army) and the moves are happening territorially there is significant stress on the system. Remember, the goal is to win the world for Jesus, and these changes are aimed at helping to do that.

Why hasn’t this happened yet? Well, as we’ve mentioned before, it is hard to sleep at night when you aren’t seeing people saved and sanctified and discipled. So it is easier to sleep if you can point to SOMETHING – and feeding and clothing and sheltering people is a good thing and can be measured. And a couple of generations (at least) of us have been hoodwinked by the significant change in William Booth’s and the Army’s fundamental raison-d’etre.

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