CFOT Principal: You are called
By Robert Mitchell
The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the mighty to save;
My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;
I plunge ‘neath the waters, they roll over me.
—O Boundless Salvation, Founder William Booth.
Suffern, NY—Many of the would-be officers attending the opening night of the 2017 Candidates Seminar came wondering if they are called to be officers.
Colonel Janet Munn, the CFOT principal and the night’s main speaker, emphatically put that question to rest. She let them know they indeed are called—even if it’s not to officership
“You are called to salvation, to belong to Jesus Christ, to fellowship with Him, to live in peace and freedom, to have eternal life, and to live a holy life. You are called,” Munn said. “Oh yes, you are.
“So don’t think that even if officership isn’t a thing for you, that you’re not called or that you’re not called to be holy or that you’re not called to proclaim the Gospel. Because you are.”
Munn, who mixed Scripture with the plots of several popular movies in her Gospel-centered message, also quoted the words of Founder William Booth’s hymn “O Boundless Salvation.”
“I hear the loud call of the mighty to save. Do you hear it? Do you hear the loud call of the mighty to save? He has a loud call,” Munn said. “Loud enough to reach to the ends of the Earth. Loud enough to reach to the darkest places. Loud enough to reach people who seem far away.”
The meeting closed with Munn inviting the audience to the mercy seat as the CFOT Worship Choir sang the hymn “I Surrender.”
“We are not our own,” she said. “We are bought at a price. Your life is not your own and neither is mine. You belong to the Lord and so do I.”
The night also featured performances by the CFOT drama and dance teams. Chuck Goodin and Ian Evans delivered a dramatic skit.
Most of the delegates to the Candidates Seminar had just settled in after arriving Friday from all over the territory. Major Richard Lopez, territorial candidates secretary, thanked them for registering and dedicating their weekend.
“That just means you’re listening,” he said. “The Lord will speak to you.”
The Candidates Seminar, with its theme of “Called to Proclaim,” continues Saturday and Sunday at the CFOT. Commissioner William A. Bamford, Territorial Commander, will speak at Sunday’s holiness meeting.
Discovering, Exploring, Accepting
by Hugo Bravo
“My one great temptation in ministry
is the temptation to want to do
something FOR Him each day
before I actually spend time WITH Him.”
—Samuel Logan Brengle
Suffern, N.Y. – The second day of the Candidate’s Seminar was highlighted by the “Round Robin Rotation” sessions. Each of these 5 half–hour informational groups was designed to explain the job of Salvation Army officers, and the roles they play at corps, in their community, and in their home. Classrooms at the College for Officer Training were set up so officers could rotate and speak to every group, with one room having an officer translate for Spanish-speaking audiences.
The session talk by Major James and Sue Betts focused on the effects of officership on the family. Though officership may sometimes give some flexibility in organizing family time, Major James explained it’s still important to create a home based on family traditions and regular habits.
“The concept of quality time being better than quantity time for your family is a myth,” said Major James. “You don’t know when that special moment is going to occur. Life happens on accident. Spend as much time with your kids as you can.”
Major Sue Betts said that it is important for children to see their parents as people of faith. Even though she had always preferred to pray and do devotionals in private, it was important for her children to see her openly loving God.
“Children see God through their parents. They pick up everything we do. We need to be the same person we are at church as we are in our own home,” says Major Sue.
Colonel Steven M. Howard explained that the highest priority for an officer is to bring souls to salvation. “It’s right in our name, The Salvation Army, to bring souls to the Lord, and preach the Gospel that God sent his son to earth to die for all our sins.”
“Even if you think you don’t have the gift of evangelism, you are still called to put your arms out to others.”
Major Loraine Medina stressed that, in communities where The Salvation Army operates, especially in Spanish-speaking countries as in the ones she has served, officers must never forget that they are pastors of their corps. As pastors, it is their duty to provide a powerful testimony to feed their congregation. “If you don’t feed them, someone else will feed them instead, and that is where they will go,” said Medina.
“You must be a spiritual guide and meet your congregation in their corps, in their homes, and in the hospital if they need you there, “ said Medina. “It’s terrible to hear that a person has been in the hospital for two weeks, and their pastor has yet to visit them. Sadly, that does happen.”
Relationships are everything when you are an officer, said Major George Polarek. Building those relationships begins when you stop talking and start listening to what the community needs.
“As an officer, you might have access to someone like the mayor on your first day at your corps,” said Major Polarek. “Go listen to everyone. God doesn’t want us to stay in church all day. He wants us in the community, meeting His people.”
Captain SunKyung ‘Sunny’ Simpson said in her testimony that everyone here for the Candidate’s Seminar, whether they follow the call to officership or not, are called to be God’s people.
“We can all follow ways toward Spiritual Discipline, through studying the Bible, prayer, fasting, or even celebrating Sabbath, such as God did when He created us.”
And when we pursue our own ministry, says Captain Simpson, we must continue to ask for His help.
“God must be present, because if I push my ministry with my own power, it simply will not work. We must learn to rely on Him. As Samuel Brengle said, ‘Spend time with the Lord before going to work for the Lord.’ ”
Tomorrow morning, the seminar will conclude with a holiness meeting conducted by the Commissioners Bamford, territorial leaders.
What’s in your net?
by Warren L. Maye
The Candidates Seminar 2017 concluded today in the College for Officer Training gymnasium with a compelling message from Commissioner William A. Bamford, territorial commander. His inspired words cut to the heart of the hopes, expectations, and concerns of everyone in the room.
On this Super Bowl Sunday, he reminded his audience that many advertisers will vie for the attention of the world tonight during commercial breaks. “They’ll spend $5 million for just 30 seconds of airtime because, last year, 115 million people watched,” said Bamford.
“Boy, what if we could deliver [God’s message] to 115 million people? If our corps could capture a small fraction of that number? If we, in this room, could have just 50 more people in our corps to whom we’ve proclaimed the message of Christ?” Bamford said such an increase could overwhelm this territory and its communities, “Proclaiming that Jesus is love and the Savior of the world!”
Bamford, holding an actual fishing net draped over the podium and covering the front of the platform, said Jesus called His disciples to drop their nets and follow Him. Bamford challenged delegates to lay down their “nets” (occupation, home, family, etc.) and follow Christ.
“What net are you holding on to?” he asked. “You must be willing to lay down everything in order to be the one who proclaims God’s love.” He said, “We may also need to mend our nets, with the help of Jesus.” Bamford called people to the platform and literally pick up a portion of what he called “the new net of service.”
Cadet Stephanie Morales was homeschooled most of her life and was extremely shy. “It was difficult to communicate with people or to look them in the eye or to be in a room full of many people,” she said. However, during this lonely time, she gained a deeper relationship with the Lord. Her dream was to speak the Gospel courageously as did her mother. Cadet Morales said she knew God was calling her to do something, but she kept making excuses. “I can’t even speak to people.” She eventually was inspired by Exodus 4:10–11 where Moses has a conversation with God and offers the same excuse. When Morales was introduced to the Salvation Army, the corps became her extended family and she discovered her voice.
Ayzriel Parchment from the Norristown, Pa., Corps, who chose the “Discovery Track,” was impressed by a quote she read during the weekend written by Francis of Assisi, “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” She said, “I don’t know what God has in store for me. I’m just trying to figure that out. I just want to have my ears, mind, and heart open to whatever may come my way.”
Keneshia Webb of the Philadelphia (Citadel), Pa., Corps said, “I learned from the first night of the seminar, the deeper meaning of being set free; that Christ paid for me—with His life. Even now, some of us are not willing to be set free. I also got a glimpse of the life of an officer’s family.”
Brielle Jordan of the Philadelphia Citadel, said she had received God’s call before attending her first candidates’ seminar. Now at her second, she is waiting for God to show her “the need” she must address. The session on family resonated with her. “I learned that it is important to be the example your children need to see.” She is going to Kenya and hopes to learn how to minister to people from a different background than herself.