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Small groups; big ideas

Commissioners Swanson talk about Strikepoint

Lt. Colonel Kenneth W. Maynor, territorial program secretary, recently interviewed Commissioners Barry C. and Sue Swanson, territorial leaders, regarding their vision for the small group initiative, a component that will play a vital role in the upcoming  Strikepoint conference in Hershey, Pa. The interview was live–streamed on the Internet by the territorial Communications Department.

“I think it’s very important for people of faith to come together,” said Commissioner Barry Swanson. “We get encouraged, inspired, and feel strengthened by that and we benefit from one another’s presence.

“We are coming together in small groups for the special reason of sharpening our skills as we go more deeply into areas of ministry and mission. We want people to talk, pray, listen, and then discern for themselves how to apply these conversations to their own situation,” Swanson said.

Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas, will address the groups. “He is interactive and will contribute to a dynamic time of sharing and learning,” said Commissioner Sue Swanson.

Commissioner Barry added, “Reggie is a strategist for the Church today. He has worked internationally with The Salvation Army in many places, including in Australia, and in various USA territories.  He’s got a macrovision on what God is saying and doing today.” Swanson continued, “Reggie really pushes people and organizations like ours to think outside the box and so, he’s a little bit discomforting—but that’s in a good way.” Swanson believes that McNeal’s opposition to the status quo and his propensity to ask difficult questions will make for an intriguing and thought–provoking dialogue.

Commissioner Sue said,“It’s important that members of a particular corps come in numbers rather than just the corps officer. Don’t come on your own—come with a team. Be in prayer. Ask God to speak. Think about your corps or ARC working together for the Gospel in your community.”

Commissioner Barry said, “We need people who are committed to doing something together. They may be new to The Salvation Army. But what matters is that they have a desire and a capacity to make a contribution. It’s going to have a diverse look, I’m sure.” Commissioner Sue agreed. “We should be thinking, ‘What kind of diverse group can I bring from my corps?’”

Commissioner Barry said, “Consider bringing people who are on the fringe. The Holy Spirit might say to such a person, ‘I want you to come to this thing for this day.’ And his or her presence might be the catalyst that God will use to change the course of that person’s life and perhaps the course of that corps.”

With a smile, Commissioner Barry said, “And it may be that people will get saved at this conference. And that’s okay.” Commissioner Sue looked at him in agreement and said, “Yes, that is okay.”

by Warren L. Maye

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