Army

Over these last few years, around 3 years in fact,  I’ve been increasingly building relationship with an emerging church planting movement (emerging in the developing sense, as opposed to the theological sense) led by a guy with a clear apostolic ministry called Peter Farmer. 

Mission Britain promotes simple church, organic church planting, pioneer evangelism and training up people for the gospel.  One of Peter’s key heroes is William Booth and the work of the early Army.  He is convinced that we need to see an army rise in the UK to advance the Kingdom and take the gospel to re-evangelise the nation.   I happen to agree with him.  The kind of army he is talking about is a flexible, mobile army with clear missional intentions to win the world for Jesus by utilising strategic planting tactics.  He has the UK split up into regions and he travels to encourage, train and draw together those interested in stepping out of the regular churchy culture and to galvinise around mission.  He is training up planters, trainers, pioneer evangelists, prophets and prayer warriors. 

The irony isn’t lost on me. 

I thoroughly believe this nation needs a people who sense the call to arms in the sense of engaging in creative, strategic mission and to see a viral pattern of outposts on every street corner.  William Booth would have been delighted that someone is taking up his vision to have a barracks on every corner at last.  Is it really so different to seeing a simple church, a small missional community, in every viable community?  And whats more, viable here doesn’t mean ‘able to support an officer and fund a building’ because this is a viral, organic movement…a people movement.  Its an army where everyone is commissioned for the advance, where everyone is a regular and the Lord Jesus Christ is Commander in Chief…a band of brothers and sisters united around one mission.  An army whose enemy is ‘the strong man’ and whose weapons are prayer, love and radical commitment to Jesus and his instructions as our King.

For all that I am still in the inherited church at the moment, my life’s calling is in this direction.  Its a calling that I couldn’t work out in the other Army.  Maybe its a wineskins thing, you know?  You don’t put new wine in an old wineskin else the old on deteriorates.  Maybe, I don’t know.  I still have hope in some places that The Salvation Army can recover significantly, and in fact I see it in some places round the world, praise God.

Meanwhile, another salvation army is rising.  Its Commander in Cheif has issued the call to arms and the warriors are taking their place in the field.  I’m watching it take shape, watching God recreate a dream and a vision and its very exciting.  There will be other warriors in your community…we can link you up, enlist and train you for the mission.

Re-Shuffle

So I’ve decided to round thing off over at my other blog, which is really a Salvation Army focussed blog, for the time being.  I’ll be blogging more regularly here.  This blog has been host to my ‘non-Sally-Army-specific’ stuff for the last couple of years and charts the bumpy road of recovery since leaving the Army.  Some of it has been a bit heart-on-sleeve as I’ve mentally processed all that stuff but I’ll be changing the pace here. 

There will be the odd personal reflection, but mainly I want to be writing about:

  • life as Jesus-centred missional discipleship
  • church as Jesus-centred missional community
  • and anything else that fits with it!

I hope you’ll tune in.

Grace and peace,
Andrew

Wrapping up…

Wordle: Army Renewal Wordle
This is a wordle produce from the content of Army Renewal blog over these last 7 years (Click on it for a larger view)

Given recent developments and closed doors, I think the time really has come now to round off things here at Army Renewal.

Thank you to those of you who have tuned in to this recent resurgence of blogging over these past six months and thank you to those who have extended your friendship through these pages.  There are around 7 years of archive to trail through if you are interested.  The blog will remain online for the forseeable, but for now I’ll be concentrating my energies elsewhere as far as blogging is concerned.

My ‘personal’ blog is at http://turasaiche.blogspot.com and thats likely to be my main blog although I’ll let you know of any blogging developments elsewhere should they arise.  Bye for now.

blessings,

Andrew

One life

On my facebook a couple of days ago I simply wrote:  “sometimes you just have to smile, be generous with grace and move on content that you’ve done all you can.”  Thats my own conclusion of what has been another strange conversation we’ve tried to have with the Army in recent months on issues surrounding officership and our possible return.  They didn’t say no, they simply stipulated ‘conditions’ that are so entirely impractical for us, that it would mean leaving my job.  We really couldn’t read anything else into it other than ‘no thank you.’   I won’t bore you with the details. 

So thats my intentions….to smile, be generous with grace and move on content that I’ve done and offered all I can, even against what seemed to be my better judgement.  I can’t in all good conscience simply sit in the meeting, play the baritone and sing a good tenor line.  Its not mission, its not ‘Army’ and its not being true to the calling upon my life.

We only get one life.  I have to say that was the under-girding thought that was at the base of my leaving the Army.  What I was doing, in the shape of corps officership, stopped being the thing that I’d wake up and want to do.  Thats not necessarily because my own vision of what that was is necessarily askew, but that my vision for officership just wasn’t going to fit in with the way things seemed to be in the Army and rightly or wrongly, as I heard the seconds ticking away, I wasn’t going to waste time. 

I still don’t want to waste time.  We’re both aware that we left the Army to pursue a particular vision.  We thought for a brief snapshot in time that we were going to be able to live out what we were leaving officership to do whilst we were still in Aberdeen….everything seemed to come into place and then it was made more or less impossible by a few things.  Yet, I think the vision remains.  Its what I think we’re still pursuing.  We are on the constant journey of seeing how.

Whether we find a meaningful way to be a part of the Army in the future will determine the life of this blog, really.  I’ve no right to speak into something I’m not able to be a part of.  Will keep you posted on my thoughts on that front.

In the meantime, we value your prayer.  We’re content and committed to Trinity here for the next 9 – 18 months during their interim period without a pastor as I step in to provide leadership.  Beyond that we have a few options to explore as we seek people to partner with as we fulfil what God would have us do….exciting times.

No Frills

There are still some days that come when I’d still be quite happy to see any form of formal church a long distance away.  Thats not to say that I don’t appreciate the place I work or the other people I fellowship with.  I know that churches gather their traditions over the years and a fair deal of ‘stuff’ gets added to the ‘hairball’ of the ecclesiastical protocol.

For me, the over-riding question is mission.  What serves mission and what brings us closer to the possibility of making the kingdom tangible in our day.  I have my dream, my vision of what I long for that to be and it rarely has the tangledness of the established church of any sort.  I have no hesitation to adapt my measures to any situation if it means mission can take place, even ‘play the games’ of any organisation I’m linked to.  Its still tiring though and every now and again you just have to sigh a big sigh and plod on.  I firgure that if I’m really committed to the principle of ‘adaption of measures’ then there is little I’d do to pass up the opportunity of sharing Jesus with people.  Its what I signed up for. 

But yet, some days I’d happily walk away, disappear of the map and immerse myself in a community somewhere for the rest of my days. God knows the desire of my heart and I trust him to bring it to pass.

Resolutions 2012

I found these on Shane Claiborne’s facebook page and decided I liked them so much that I’d adopt them my self. 

12.  Do something really nice – that no one knows about. 
11. Spend more money on other people than I spend on my self.  Love my neighbor as I love myself.  And love myself as I love my neighbor.
10. Laugh often… especially at advertisements that try to convince me that I must buy more stuff in order to be happy. 
9. Learn a new life skill – like carpentry, pottery, or canning vegetables.  Teach someone else I life skill I know how to do. 
8.  Love a few people well, remembering that what is important is not how much we do but how much love we put into doing it.
7.  Write a letter to someone I need to say thank you to.  Write another letter to someone I need to ask to forgive me. 
6.  Track down a critic or someone I disagree with and take them to lunch.  Listen to them.
5.  Compliment someone I have a hard time complimenting… and mean it.
4.  Choose life.  Do something regularly to interrupt the patterns of death – do something to end violence, bullying, war, capital punishment and other mean and ugly things.
3.  Pause before every potential crisis and ask “will this matter in 5 years?”
2.  Get outside often and marvel at things like fireflies and shooting stars.  And regularly get my hands into the garden… so when I type on the computer I can see dirt under my fingernails.
1.  Believe in miracles.  And live in a way that might necessitate one.