Saturday, 2 November 2013

Commissioner Clive T Adams on Mission Scotland

Mission Scotland Weekend - Keynote Address (abridged) by Commissioner Clive T. Adams We are about transformation – the sinner to the saint… that is our mission. Mission Scotland is a process, which seeks to examine the practices, procedures, perceptions and parameters allowing the Army to be the ‘Army’. Mission is the reason for our existence. I want to remind you of three aspects of The Salvation Army's missional perspective: It is our Foundation - our heritage for our mission is grounded in our past. It is our Focus - our context for our mission is exercised in our present. It is our Future - our potential for our mission is motivated by a promising future”. 1. Our Foundation We need to value our heritage - our history gives us our grounding in and for mission... A. Our heritage provides us with our identity and, as a consequence, determines our activity, because who we are determines what we do. By all means, get rid of all traditionalism, but hold on tight to the traditions - the essence of whom we are as The Salvation Army. Yes, we are a needs-based movement, we respond to the challenges we see, we readily engage in the fight against sin and against society's evils and ills. Our history is a story of devotion to God and dependence upon God. We are a people of God - he motivates us for mission, he moves us to mission, he ministers through our mission. B. Our heritage gives us our theology. A theology which becomes the impetus for and basis of our mission. I want to remind you of three important elements regarding our theology. Firstly, it informs our values as a movement - Secondly, it affirms us as a sacramental movement. Our history confirms our belief in the immediacy of God's grace in and through the believer - our outstretched hands become his hands whenever we touch, and wash and heal in His name. Thirdly, it confirms the Army's ultimate message (yes, there's salvation for you!) to a world that is falling short of its own standards, a world that is constantly moving the goal-posts because it constantly misses the mark. 2. Our Focus We need to understand our context. We are surrounded by a host of "isms" - humanism, secularism, extremism, consumerism, radicalism, fundamentalism, relativism, post-modernism and post postmodernism. It's a world undergoing constant, and rapid change and it is hard to keep up. We are expected to do mission in a context where intolerance is often disguised as tolerance; where social exclusion and social inclusion occur side-by-side; where the concept of the global village competes with growing feelings of narrow nationalism and xenophobia; a time of open borders and closed minds; of the empowerment and degradation of women; where children have obtained universal rights but continue to be abused; of enormous riches and appalling poverty; of deep spirituality and militant secularism; of humankind's ingenious solutions and its abject failures; a time of peace brokering and warmongering; of unselfish service and deep-seated corruption; where values and morals diminish. "To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill, o may it all my powers engage, to do my Master's will". This is has challenging today as it was in Booth's day. However, our situation is not hopeless, to think so is to deny the very dynamic of that message we bring 3. Our Future At an officer's Councils last year, I heard a lieutenant say, "I wish that, for the Army, out was in!" My heart resonated with that statement on several levels. I wish to highlight three. There's the Geographical element - the fact that we are a sent people for "As the Father has sent me, so I send you", Jesus said (John 20:21b). God is a missionary-God. There's the Cultural element - Paul wrote (Romans 12:2) "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mould". Part of our mission focus must be the witness we should be to our message through transformed lives. There's the Sacrificial element - the fact that this will cost us, "If you choose to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me!" The Army, yielded, doing mission! Where does this leave us? For me, at our core is the ability to do mission. But it starts with me, with you – willing to be out – geographically, culturally and sacrificially, Being, the Army, out there, doing mission”.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Why a Congress?

So the Territorial Congress rolls up to the SECC in Glasgow on November 2/3 2013.

A self indulgent, back slapping, wallowing in dubious success type of event, focused on those on the inside instead of reaching out to those on the outside.

Or is it?

The Salvation Army has held congress' for over 100 years. Initially they were a place for many Salvationists to gather, discuss, decide, then do.

This - and every - congress should be the same. As we worship we place God right in the centre of his movement in the UK. As we listen to people's stories of transformed lives we are reminded that. God is still moving powerfully in the existence of individuals. As we recognise new Soldiers, Junior Soldiers and Adherents we are reminded that God has not finished with us yet and that the army is larger now than it ever has been - globally. As we circulate the marketplace (and please look out for the Mission Scotland Stand and come and say hello) we discover new resources for mission and share with those who are doing mission and committed to the gospel being shared in many different ways.

A congress is a rallying point for the 'troops', to hear God's word in the very depth of our heart so we can do no less than go and tell that Jesus lives, transforms people from what they were into what he makes them and then equips us with His Spirit to share that story with others.

Be transformed into a missionary Salvationist !

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dormobiles, doorkeeping and discipleship.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (Psalm 84:10 NIV)

This verse strikes home powerfully as it compares two extremes, lost in the translation into the English language. It has an enormous amount to say about discipleship in just a few words.

The Psalmist offers two states: being a doorkeeper at the temple or being a nomadic, wealthy, oligarch type of tent dweller (think mega 'glamping' not basic backpacking! Even more extravagant than a Dormobile!!!). The tent dwellers here are the wealthy, those that own enormous flocks of sheep, massive caravans of camels carry them and their wealth to the next pitching of the tent. Servants and slaves ensure that the camp is full of luxury and every whim is met.

The doorkeeper is... well, a doorkeeper. One who stands at the entrance of the temple or tabernacle and greets people as they arrive. There is some security duty but little glory, little engagement in the centre of worship, but there is clear, basic service to those who come to worship and especially to God. The doorkeeper is the first person who is met at the place of worship who points the way to go.

Our discipleship is about pointing people the right direction. Even in the most menial task. The washing up in the office kitchen needs doing even though it's not yours. You do it. That's doorkeeping. Someone needs to change the band chairs around to accommodate the parent and toddlers or lunch club. Even though you're not involved you do it. That's doorkeeping. The young people of the fellowship want a bouncy castle in the main worship hall for the community family day. Even though this is a special place personally, you help them put the inflatable up - and move the drum kit to accommodate it. That's doorkeeping.

Even the most trivial, humbling task in Christ's service teaches us more about learning from him than all the grandeur and glory we can imagine.

That's discipleship. That's mission.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

When September comes

So, the summer has all but left us but the memories are still fresh for many.

It was a summer when many activities are run at a base level and some cease completely while holidays and a well earned rest are embarked upon. Rest is definitely a part of mission.

Jesus rested, the disciples rested. They waited in anticipation of what would come after the rest.

The Psalmist tells the reader to wait.

Then the waiting ends, with new vigour in mission, renewed focus, the launch of new initiatives and activities, the embracing of autumn as a time for fruitfulness is very missional. The Hebrews regard autumn as being the most fruitful time of the year and the most productive of an individuals life. 

What if our church is in the autumn of it's years? Do we mourn for what is no more, or rejoice for the fruit being borne? What should we see as being drawing to a close so that the resources and energy required to maintain can be shifted into new areas? Or perhaps we want to focus energies on giving the ministry a good send off!

Be renewed, be energised by the Holy Spirit, be focused on Christ and His mission. Be fruitful - in season and out of season.



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

New General 3

So our young people came up with some interesting ideas for new General, Andre Cox. They come from the "Xplorers" programme for young Salvationists in West Scotland, who are open and willing to follow God's plan for their lives. Who knows, in 40 years time,  one of them may be the newly elected General!



'Solve religious disputes between Christians and Muslims, also with different branches of the church.'

 

'I would have fundraisers to

Build medical centres in Africa
Cancer research
Give the homeless shelter and food
Do-up all The Salvation Army halls
For good Sunday School trips
More youth fellowship meet ups & for the youth in General!
For Sunday School teachers to be given gifts for teaching us about God'

 

 

 

 

'I would do meetings on a Sunday: 1 for adults & 1 for kids (so kids don’t get bored). Have more youth fellowships but not just for the young for adults too. Have a suggestion box at the front of church. Have meetings on a Sunday for those who do not normally come to church. Have more fundraisers for church and charity. Build more charity shops. Get more seats for people in church to sit it. Buy more Bibles and hand out to people in the streets who don’t know God. Get special people to spread God’s word to other people. Replace all the broken and dirty flags.'

Thursday, 1 August 2013

New General 2043 (!)

On this day, when the Salvation Army has elected a new General, a 'General's Manifesto' has been composed by a number of young people who are part of West Scotland's 'Xplorers' programme for those who, appropriately in the circumstances, are open to God's plan for their lives.

Read, enjoy, comment, but most of all be inspired!
"Create more Corps and Drop in Centres for the homeless. Renovate Corps buildings to make them more attractive to people who don’t come to the Army. Encourage Army regulars to speak to the public to create a larger Corps that never stops growing"

"Make a lake of water for the Africans and houses, some food too. Create “me” time"

"Love God and pray to Him everyday."



(More to follow!) 

New General 2

Further comments from young people drawing up their own 'General's Manifesto' for The Salvation Army:
'I would encourage the youth of the world to take up leadership roles. I would make sure that all corps had an officer in it and that we had adequate funds for planting new corps. I would encourage mums and tots because as the general secretary of the Methodist church said “every generation of Christians has the possibility of being the last”. My plans may seem focussed on growth and kids but my main principals are clear. We need to fix our eyes onGod and his plans for our lives, we must constantly pray and read our bible because if we don’t focus on that the whole meaning of the organisation is LOST. Yes! We may be a charity but we are Christianity with our sleeves rolled up, we are a church on a mission. So I will bring more facilities for the community to come closer to God. We must seek souls out of the drowning water and that is my number one priority.'





Monday, 24 June 2013

Four Questions on Mission Scotland

MISSION SCOTLAND

 

Mission Scotland may be a new concept to you or perhaps you’ve heard of it before. Either way, I’ve thought of some questions which may come to your mind about Mission Scotland and hopefully, in trying to answer them, I’ll give a clear understanding of its purpose and place in The Salvation Army in Scotland.

 

Question 1: Mission Scotland – What is it?

Mission Scotland is a focus on The Salvation Army in Scotland; it’s a strategic approach to develop the Army’s effectiveness in delivering God’s mission by

   Reflecting on where we’ve come from
   Assessing where we are
   Plotting the way ahead with God’s guidance and direction.

Importantly it takes a view of Scotland as a whole and aims to deliver mission together, understanding that there are some things we can do better together, that we are stronger together.

Mission Scotland is delivering God’s mission as outlined in The SA’s purpose statement: ‘To save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity’ together.

The Scotland Office, THQ, Scottish divisions, corps, social centres, other churches and denominations – working together for God’s sake.

 

Question 2: Mission Scotland – Why do we need it?

Christopher Wright states ( in his book, ‘The Mission of God’s People’

‘It is not so much the case that God has a mission for His Church in the world as that God has a church for His Mission in the world.’

That being the case, there will always be work for God’s Church and the need for us to work more effectively to deliver the outcomes God desires. The Salvation Army in Scotland, in common with The Salvation Army in the rest of the UK and Ireland, has declined in the past years and withdrawn from some areas of Scotland. There are today people getting saved, Christians becoming disciples and impacting their communities where they live and people being served, cared for, encouraged and supported in The Salvation Army and we thank God for that. There are however many, many people who have not yet come home to God, people who need the Lord so we need to be increasingly effective, for their sake and for God’s sake.

 

Question 3: Mission Scotland – What difference is it going to make?

To focus in on something means bringing all our resources, expertise and concentration to bear on a particular subject or object – Mission Scotland has already borne fruit through the focus on how we might better help people with drug and alcohol addictions.

Three support workers employed in Greenock, Stirling and Falkirk to work in conjunction with Floating Support Services based at Greenock and led  by Brian Murphy with a fourth worker planned for North Scotland soon is an outcome of the focus Mission Scotland has given; a centre of excellence dealing with alcohol and drug addictions is the next planned step.

We all are aware of the havoc that addictions can wreak in the lives of those gripped by them and in the lives of those around them. A concentrated focus on this area of work and a willingness to work together to make a difference has resulted in people being rescued and released from the grip of their addiction and given new hope for a decent life – Mission Scotland can make a difference and it needs to!

 

Question 4: What can I do?

Mission Scotland has the same aims, works for the same outcomes as each division and corps in Scotland.

    Every corps should have some mission goals; speak to your officer about becoming involved in delivering these.
    Pray – on your own and with those in your corps
    Pray - specifically for these objectives to be achieved
    Pray - consistently for God to be at the centre, to be the driving force of Mission Scotland
    Pray - together with those who are part of our prayer network and with others in your neighbourhood and community

 

And don’t forget to give us your feedback and ideas on God’s mission being accomplished in Scotland:


All suggestions, questions and constructive observations are welcome – It’s God’s Mission!



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Prayer for the Nation

Last week the Pray for Scotland movement held a prayer breakfast which was attended by upwards of three hundred Christians engaged in mission and ministry in Scotland. Amongst whom were several salvationists representing both the Army as well as other aligned church and para-church groups. The breakfast concluded with the following prayer being shared by all attending. The Salvation Army Mission  Scotland movement was birthed and covered with prayer from the outset - this feels very much as if we are part of what the Lord is doing in all parts of the church. The body of Christ on the move!!!



"A Prayer for The Nation

"Almighty God, we bring you praise for your Son the Word of God,
by whose power the world was made, by whose blood we are redeemed".
Austin Martin, 1983

We thank you for this beautiful land "of the mountain and the flood", of river and glen, of island and sea-shore; a fertile, productive land well able to sustain our life and well-being; and one in which no-one need go hungry.
We thank you for our fore-fathers who taught us who you are and how we might know you; to honour hard work and honest endeavour; and to have respect for a person's character rather than for their possession or status.
We thank you for the gifts of mind and hand which have helped us to understand your world and build our nation; and which have enabled us over the years to contribute to the welfare of humanity in fields such as engineering, science, medicine, the arts, education and business.
We thank you for those who have struggled and suffered that we might live in freedom and peace; and for all who have served you at home and abroad so that others may come to know you. We pray and give thanks for our countrymen and women who serve in such causes even today.

Lord, be exalted in our nation, that we may receive mercy,
and find grace to help us in our time of need.

"Come, let us to the Lord our God with contrite hearts to return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave the desolate to mourn".
Scottish Paraphrase, John Morrison, 1781

Create in us contrite hearts because Scotland has fallen short of what it could be. We have been forgetful of you in the midst of the blessings we have received. We have not always sought after the highest and the best and have imagined too often that we are complete in ourselves and have no need of your grace and wisdom. Help us to remember, as the Bible teaches, that "The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him". (Daniel 9v9). We pray for the spiritual renewal of our land.
We pray for the Queen and for the royal family. We pray for those in government who make decisions on our behalf, that they may seek and know your wisdom; and demonstrate integrity, good stewardship and a true spirit of service in all that they do. We ask that our nation may follow paths that are marked at every step by truth, justice and compassion. We ask for your guidance as we consider the decision that faces our nation in the referendum planned for September 2014.
We pray for communities throughout our land, that our people may lead their lives free from fear. Bless all who serve by safeguarding our freedoms and safety. We pray for those who feel marginalised in our nation and for all who work to help them. Help us to be generous in spirit towards those who are genuinely in need.
We pray for those who have damaging additions and ask you to bless every effort made to help them find freedom. We pray for all who are in prison and ask that you would give them strength to find a better way. We pray for our justice system and ask that it may always be a servant and protector of what is good and true, and be wise in knowing how to temper judgement with mercy.

Lord, be exalted in our nation, that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.

We pray for all those who suffer ill-health or disability and for those who live with anxiety, depression or the frailties of advancing years. Have mercy on those who are tempted to despair. We pray for all in the caring professions and ask that you will bless them as they seek to alleviate suffering and bring healing to those in need. We remember the many who care devotedly for family members in their own homes and ask that you will give them the strength necessary for the task.
We pray that our children and young people may be protected from the dangers that surround them in our society and that they may learn how to discern right from wrong and truth from error. We pray that family life may be strengthened and that parents, guardians and teachers may know your wisdom as they carry out their responsibilities.
We pray for all engaged in business and commerce and ask wisdom for them as they face the challenges of changing economic conditions. We pray for those who are unemployed and feel discouraged. We pray that our business and economic affairs may be conducted with energy and probity, with due consideration for employer, employee, consumer and our environment.
We pray for our churches and places of worship that they may represent you truly to our generation and shed the light of your gospel faithfully across the nation. Help your people to fulfil Jesus' words that they should be salt and light to our world (Matthew 5). We pray for those in leadership positions that they may know your wisdom in discerning your truth and in sharing it with others. We pray for the spiritual renewal of our land.

"Our hearts, if God we seek to know, shall know Him, and rejoice,
His coming like the morn shall be, like morning songs His voice".
Scottish Paraphrase, John Morrison, 1781

Lord, be exalted in our nation, that we may receive mercy,
and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Lord, hear our prayers for we bring them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen."

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Salvation Army Mission Scotland Videos

Last weekend approximately 60 Scottish Salvationists met in Bellshill to move The Salvation Army Mission Scotland project onto it's next phase - searching to embed the mission DNA within the Salvation Army in local settings in Scotland. 

Local communities are where mission happens. Not through church fellowships or Salvation Army Corps but through individuals working in those areas through their living, eating, breathing existence. Some of this is facilitated by organisation but it is the mission through the individual contact that impacts most deeply.

There were strategic focusses throughout the weekend a few are given in these short videos.

http://youtu.be/y184RUYT81c Lt Col Alan Burns on "Mission"
http://youtu.be/XI6uTU87-_U Major Fiona Sayer on "mission with the marginalised"
http://youtu.be/h2nlfIYvPLk Captain Wendy Parkhill on "why I believe mission is important"
http://youtu.be/tWg3x6V6kzU Sheonagh Brooke-Smith on "Children, Mission and Discipleship"
http://youtu.be/JdvBEffMaFI Major Martin Sayer on "Youth on the Margins"

Please feel free to comment on the You Tube page, Facebook/salvation army mission Scotland, or twitter @scotlandsa

Addy our story to the story of what Christ is doing in the world - and especially through the Salvation Army in Scotland!



Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Journey Continues...

Mission Scotland - the journey continues
 
We're entering our third year of Mission Scotland with a deep sense of God's presence and purpose for The Salvation Army.  Our focus on mission and spiritual renewal are based on the prayer that God will renew us and revive our nation.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, you and I are being made in the likeness of our Lord, and we are called to make disciples of others ("Follow me and I will make you fishers of men". Matthew 4:19).
 
Being comes before doing!  Our vision, to make Jesus real to the people of Scotland, is dependent on our being like Jesus.  I wrote in my book, 'Founding Vision for a Future Army' that God's reputation in the world depends upon my holiness'.  This statement is a constant challenge to me to ensure that when I talk about 'Fit for Mission', I am not simply relating these words to the Salvation Army UKT, but that I am asking the question of myself as a follower of Christ- am I Fit for Mission?  This is the question that ought to be in the heart of every disciple.
 
As we enter a new phase of Mission Scotland we are focussing on discipleship along with the rest of the Territory.  Disciples - who are making disciples ... who are growing, who are missionary and who are serving others.  You will note the resonance with our mission statement in these words - save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity.  I would emphasise that this focus for Mission Scotland is about challenging all of our disciples to be growing, missionary and serving.  Allow me to elaborate on this.
 
GROWING
We commit to our own growth as disciples of Jesus Christ and to help and support others on their journeys of discipleship.
 
· Holy living
· Living together (Loving each other, church as family)
· Learning together (Small groups, cell groups, Bible study)
· Growing together (Mentoring, accountability)
· Praying together (General's weekly prayer meetings, prayer training)
 
· Holy leaders
· Identifying (Looking for potential in everyone)
· Releasing (Finding ways to create space for leaders to flourish)
· Training (Strategic Leadership Development)
 
· Holy priorities
· People before programme
· Development of whole life discipleship
 
 
MISSIONARY
We commit to the ongoing mission of Jesus in the world around us.
 
· Missional stories
· Knowing & sharing His story
· Knowing & sharing our story
 
· Missional corps
· Growing Disciple Making corps
· Pioneering new missional expressions
 
· Missional activity
Ensuring that our social, community and other activities remain true to the Gospel by the provision of high quality services, a clear determination to do all we can within available resources to improve the social and spiritual condition of the people we serve, and by proclaiming Christ as Saviour and Lord.
 
SERVING
We commit to the challenge to serve suffering humanity.
 
· The Seeds of Exclusion
· Support and sustain children and families
· Support people in transition
· Support vulnerable people
· Speak out for marginalised people
· Commit to further research
 
Identifying our core services and committing our resources to those areas.  
 
 
Let me conclude by saying that we are developing these priorities across our Mission Scotland strategic platform. It will inform our work in corps and centres, amongst children and youth (and indeed all generations of people) in our corps community programmes, and as we pray for God to open up fresh expressions of mission in communities across Scotland.  What we are saying is that in all of our expressions of mission, new and old, we will make disciples who are growing, missionary and serving, thus allowing the people of Scotland to see the living presence of our Lord Jesus in who we are and in what we do.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Mission Scotland - Fit for Mission?

Being involved in leading the Fit for Mission Steering Group over the last few months has really challenged me about the need for us to make some major, significant changes if we are to fulfil the mission I believe God still has for us.
 
We tend to be a “good news” organisation but this is a time when we need to face the brutal facts – and the reality is they don’t make pleasant reading. If we are to be truly “Fit for Mission” we need to be willing to take the radical decisions which are needed. We need to be leaner, faster and truly focused on our mission and not our bureaucracy.
 
The question is where does our mission really stand in our priorities? I thought that one person who sent me input and suggestions put what we need to do better than I could. He said that we need to:
           
            Regain our Perspective that our God is an all powerful God
            Reignite our Passion for our mission
            Rediscover our Purpose for which God raised up the Army
 
I think he hit the nail on the head do you?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Togetherness: with the Holy Spirit, with each other.

The whole pre-concept of Mission Scotland was that together we could achieve more, more saints grown, more souls saved, more of suffering humanity served in more ways.

There's pretty good evidence emerging that this is starting to happen.

More soldiers are being made, more spiritual and practical activities are being engaged in. 

Working together the three Scottish SA Divisions have identified areas of co-working and so have done so.

The are also areas where we maintain independent working - but share information and resources.

The understanding of the culture we work within is really important and this understanding is a crucial part of moving forward. The culture is what we need to invade is every nook and cranny, not working with the culture but in the culture so that, together with the Holy Spirit, God's plan can be worked out for the nation of Scotland through our part of the body of Christ.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A Sleeping Bag Gospel

In our cell group recently we have been using material which challenges us to identify our ‘frontline’ - to look at the people and opportunities God puts in front of us every day to show Jesus & to be Jesus to those we come in contact with. It is a great privilege to work for the Salvation Army at Aberdeen Citadel and I thank God for the ‘frontline’ he has given me, to be around our busy building where people come through the door for many different reasons. This is the place where we meet people where they are at and can start to build relationship with them. Some will come to share a coffee with their friends in our community cafĂ©, others will be alone and are happy for one of our volunteers to sit & chat with them, possibly the only personal contact they may have that day. It might be Peter, just released from prison and who has been sleeping on the street – he doesn’t want a roof over his head but his shoes have holes and his socks are soaking wet, so we can meet his immediate need and give him dry socks & a new pair of shoes. And a nice clean sleeping bag makes him the happiest man around!
I thank God for the opportunities to make a difference in the little things of life - a smile or a laugh together, a kind word & a listening ear or even a clean pair of socks!

Personal Perspective

I work in Corps, and firmly support direction Mission Scotland is outlining for us.

We should be making disciples – which includes equipping and supporting our people in their weekday lives. Youth and children’s work is critical. And our discipleship should be expressing itself in serving our communities and making the Gospel real in practical ways: Jesus gave some pretty clear direction on this in Matthew 25:34-40.

The Corps Mission Development Plan is a great tool for helping us understand how to pursue the mission in our local setting. Recently I have been involved in preparing some of these plans. Being a great believer in efficiency and re-use, I wondered if Mission Scotland had generated anything we could use in these documents. The answer was “not really”: although it is helpful to be given ideas on headings and priorities, our local response to the mission has to be locally owned, not fed from above.

With God's guidance, we have to work out the way forward, in our own situations – both in the corporate efforts of the fellowship, and also “out there” in the day-to-day lives of Salvationists. So lets all pray for God’s guidance, and work out His mission where he has placed us.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Right people, right mission, right now!

Over the last few weeks this Blog has posted about making disciples, changing communities, social ministry that is transformational, planting Salvation Army Corps in areas where we have no current representation.

Over the next few weeks various people will be contributing to the blog - all of them are practitioners, they are involved in real ministry, in real settings, in real time.

None of them write regularly for a blog or other publication so style will change from post to post.

We hope you enjoy each post - feel free to comment here on the blog site, through Facebook or through Twitter. Just look for "Salvation Army Mission Scotland".

Monday, 22 April 2013

Forgotten Children...

How do we show Children they are not a forgotten people in The Salvation Army today?

The answer is really simple.....because the bible says so! In the gospels we hear Jesus saying that nobody should stop a child coming to him and that as adults we all need to have that childlike faith and trust. Then why do we in the Church always look at children as the 'army of the future'? If children are so important to Christ then we should be doing all we can create opportunities for them to have a relationship with him.

I don't believe that children need to best games equipment or the most up to date resources to make our ministry successful. For me, children require our Corps to be a place that love them and allow them to play their part. The best quality a children's worker can have is faithfulness in the work they do, as children so often don't get the commitment they deserve from society.
Can you play your part within this and be faithful to the children we are called to work with?

Through Mission Scotland, the Children and Youth group are seeking fresh ways to do this by making sure our children's ministry is intentional and relevant but also making sure children are included in all aspects of our worship. By doing this then surely we will become a more attractive place to be and help to show children that they are not forgotten about but instead people who we treasure and love.

Ian Midwinter

Monday, 15 April 2013

Pioneer Corps

In the earliest days of Salvation Army ministry Corps and mission stations were popping up all over the place! They were exciting days as newly saved people became our most effective evangelists - both for the gospel and for Booths new model army..

The battle lines have been redrawn as our country has moved into the late twentieth and then early twenty first century.

As community and society has shifted so must our pioneering be different to the early day.

Marching into the town centre with a brass band may bring a feeling of well being and nostalgic warmth but is it the most effective way of establishing Salvation Army Christian fellowship in 2013 and beyond?

What are the needs of your locality - not where your Corps fellowship meets but where you live? Is this the place for the next area we 'open fire' using not only the weapons of goodwill but the sword of the Spirit?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Life changing?

In recent years there have been several changes in the way we operate our Social Service provision.

We no longer have dormitory hostels, moving towards individual rooms in Lifehouses. A hand out has become a hand up with personal dignity ranking high in terms of how we deal with those who need our assistance. There are challenges that come with this - not least that of funding our ever increasingly costly programmes.

But what is the greater cost? The provision of roof and mattress or the risk of someone dying (and people still do) on the streets of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen?

Within The Salvation Army in Scotland an focus has been given in an aggressive way through providing high quality social ministry which is truly life changing. the work of the Floating Support Service based in Greenock, or the SHIELD project in Aberdeenshire are two great examples of mission and ministry as they enable people with chaotic and addicted lifestyles to remain in their own tenancy.

Our LifeHouses across Scotland provide food shelter and warmth - and spiritual challenge to those who need it.

The meeting Scotland Drug and Alcohol Strategy is ground breaking and life changing and is gaining respect far beyond The Salvation Army.

Add to this the raising of the spiritual bar in all of our social centres and we have a truly life changing social mission as defined in the Mission Scotland Mandate.

How are you and your corps / fellowship involved in serving stuffing humanity?


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Disciple Making Corps?

Does your Corps / Church /fellowship make disciples or members? Are you I focused on making soldiers or servers?

Where there is an emphasis only on membership the fellowship is weakened. The roots in Christ are stifled of the nourishment need to grow full bodied healthy Christlike disciples.

From the outset of Mission Scotland is was apparent that in a number of our Corps the emphasis on discipleship had sometimes been lost in the striving to fulfil duty. Duty without depth is a long frustrating path. To help Corps move forwards in this respect all Corps in Scotland have been prompted to work towards - and keep working on  a Corps Mission Development Plan. Sme of these are highly developed strategic documents, others provide the parameters within which a Corps is striving to develop.

Almost without exception there is an explicit or implicit focus on discipleship!

Corps that previously knew a lack of corporate and individual focus are beginning to see a deepening in spiritual commitment - often also seeing a growth in numbers as well. And disciples who make disciples belong to growing healthy fellowships.

One of the key thought processes that has been used to this end is Natural Church Development with it's emphasis on balance many Corps are finding this focuses them n be me discipline fellowships not just perpetuating what we have always done for when committed disciples do what they have always done they see surprising results!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Community MInistry that Transforms Communities

When you think of community work what immediately do you think of? Lunch clubs, the parent and toddler group, food parcels? There's probably a thousand and one examples of great community ministry that makes an impact in people's lives that provide relief from some of the ills of the modern world in Scotland.
 
One of the key aims of Mission Scotland was to raise the bar on Community work to the level of community ministry. To encourage all to see he practical needs of our communities as spiritual issues rather than simply needs to be met. Through working in our local Corps based Community programmes Mission Scotland advocates ensuring that 'Jesus turns up' in all our provision.
 
He are some of the practical things that Mission Scotland has done in this respect...


  • emphasising that Community Ministry is a local issue for a local Corps meeting local needs that needs to be resourced in a timely and effective way.
  • providing tools so that assesment of local need can be taken and responded to in a professional way.
  • providing community welcome packs so that local information can be inserted.
  • providing a yearly gathering for those involved in communtiy ministry.
  • assessing who is really coming into our buildings and what their real need is.

Most importantly Mission Scotland has focused on the fact that in our community ministry there has to be a clear signpost to other provisions and - most importantly - to spiritual needs based ministry.

People within a community who are transformed individuals see their communities transformed!





Thursday, 21 March 2013

Mission Scotland - a new start?

In April 2011 approximately forty Salvationists met for the launch of Mission Scotland, an 18 month project to recalibrate and refocus the mission efforts of the Salvation Army in Scotland.

The outcome of this weekend event was an enthusiasm for the gospel to be shared in practical ways and a new impetus given to tradtional forms of ministry and worship, a refocussing on the community efforts towards spiritual ends that were truly transformational and a desire to see expressions of the Salvation Army in different and new areas both geographically and practically.

As time has progressed from that seminal event several things have occurred: a robust and possibly world leading Drug and alcohol strategy has been formulated, research has been carried out into several new areas of ministry and worship across the three Salvation Army Divisions, Childrens and Youth work has gained its own focus group to drive ministry amongst the young forward, Community Ministry is now seen as transformatoional rathet than service providing, an emphasis on disciple development in our traditionally worshipping communities is eident with almost all Scottish Corps having, or working towards a mission development plan.

This blog is intended vey much as a dialogue - to inform and to hear the voice Salvationists and friends. To hear what is happening and to tell the story of the Savation Army in Scotland. Please feel free to comment - appropriately and politely as we move towards possibly the greatest period in the history of the Salvation Army in Scotland...