Friday, 30 October 2015

How are we doing?

The Salvation Army in the UK is currently emphasising TIDE – Transformation, Integration, Discipleship and Effectiveness. On the matter of effectiveness, it was the management guru Peter Drucker who said some years ago: ‘The Salvation Army is the most effective organisation in America. No-one even comes close to it in respect to clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results, dedication and putting money to maximum use’.

Looking at each of these points, can we ask ourselves ‘how are we doing?’

  • Clarity of mission. Jesus was very clear about his purpose. His opening words in Mark 1:15 were ‘The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news’. He was announcing the good news of the kingdom – not just in words, but in deeds as the rest of the chapter shows. Our mission is also to bring the kingdom near in word and deed. Every corps and centre should be clear about this, should encapsulate it in a mission statement, and ensure that every activity is aimed at achieving it.
  • Ability to innovate. The opening shots of the American War of Independence were fired at the battle of Concord in 1775. The British troops insisted on marching down the road in formation, while the American militia men hid among the trees and took pot-shots at them. The British lost the battle because they failed to adapt to the terrain. Our social and cultural terrain is constantly changing and so we need to innovate to remain relevant and effective.
  • Measurable results. Acts records that 3,000 were saved on the Day of Pentecost and the Lord ‘added to their number daily’. Every few chapters we read that the word of God spread and the church grew. These were measurable results. That’s not to say that everything good can be measured. Much valuable ministry cannot be estimated in terms of numbers or tangible outcomes. But effective ministry and mission will have some measurable results, whether it’s in terms of attendances, membership or numbers of people helped. 
  • Dedication. Back in the 1980s Roy Castle presented Record Breakers. At the end of every show he would sing the theme song: ‘If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need’. Yes, it is what we need even if we aren’t planning on breaking any records. Dedication sometimes goes unrecognised and unrewarded, but it is vital for our effectiveness. 
  • Putting money to maximum use. Whether we’re entrusted with money given by our own members, by the public or by government agencies, we have a responsibility to be good stewards. Careful planning, budgeting, accounting and spending are all part of this. Money is a kingdom resource – let’s use it wisely and well for the kingdom’s sake.     

So, how are we doing?

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

All Scotland Discipleship Weekend

Over 100 people from all over Scotland gathered at the Macdonald Aviemore Hotel the first weekend in October for the All Scotland Discipleship Weekend. It was a time of praise, worship, teaching, and challenge on how to live your whole life for Christ.

The teaching throughout the weekend was based on the Whole Life Discipleship material from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC). Neil Hudson led seminars on Introduction to Whole Life Discipleship and Going and Growing as Disciples; Ruth Walker led a seminar on God in the Workplace; Rev Gordon Kennedy led a seminar on The Whole of Life for Christ and Lieut-Colonel Robert McIntyre led a seminar on Prayer and Whole Life Discipleship.

The seminars were well attended and provided lots of interesting and thought provoking ideas and discussion.

Whole Life Discipleship is about living every minute of your life for Christ, being a 24/7 Christian and not just a one hour on a Sunday Christian. Have you ever thought about where you spend most of your time in the week and have you thought about living for Christ in this time, your work time, your family time, your leisure time.

It is good to meet together on a Sunday and be the ‘Gathered Church’ but think how effective we can be as the ‘Scattered Church’ every day in our work place or our leisure time and in our families. We need to learn to live effectively as Christians in these places.

The concept of one degree shifts was talked about a lot – the idea that a small change can, over time, bring about a significant change in direction. We were challenged as to what one degree shift we can make in our lives to influence others for Christ. Can we pray for our colleagues at work, for our boss, do our lives demonstrate our belonging to Christ. Do we smile and talk to the check out girl in the local supermarket, to the bus driver.

There was also a separate childrens and youth programme and the young people shared with everyone what they had learned over their time together.

For me this slide sums up the weekend: