Reflections on the Officer’s Covenant
by Captain Darell Houseton, Major Shaun Belanger, Major Jessica DeMichael, and Captain Joel Ashcraft
It’s Covenant Sunday at the College for Officer Training and the Messengers of the Kingdom are preparing their hearts for these special moments and what they mean for what comes next. Just as each person’s relationship and personal covenant with the Lord is unique, so too is each person’s covenant signing experience.
The covenant signing service itself is a sacred opportunity to consider the journey toward officership. While not unlike many Salvation Army worship services in its basic form, there is a singular moment when the altar is opened up to the cadets to sign the officer covenant itself.
Some are filled with urgency and move quickly. Others sit in quiet contemplation. It’s a jubilant moment for some while others are overwhelmed with emotion. Hearts are lifted and tears fall as something ends while something else begins.
We plead for your prayers as we approach Covenant Sunday for the Messengers of the Kingdom. We plead for your spirits to lift up theirs. We plead for intercession and intersection. And we appreciate those prayers.
Here are some reflections on those moments from a few officers around our territory.
Captain Darell Houseton
Corps Officer at The Chapel at Worthington Woods.
(Friends of Christ)
I vividly remember, at the signing of my covenant, that it wasn’t with the Salvation Army. I was very aware that it was between myself and God; it was a commitment to mission. I remember realizing that the first phrase, “Called by God” and one of the last, “Done in the strength of my Lord and Savior…” made everything in between doable and possible.
I remember signing it with a sense of confidence, knowing that He goes before me.
Major Shaun Belanger
Territorial Candidates’ Secretary
(Ambassadors of Grace)
Nineteen years ago, I signed my Officers Covenant as an Ambassador of Grace!
I am so grateful for the communities and people that have impacted my family’s life.
It has been such an honor to serve the Lord in Rochester, Concord, and Manchester NH. Cincinnati will always have a special place in our hearts and Fall River; MA means the world to us. Our current roles bless Kim Belanger and me more than we can express.
Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Major Jessica DeMichael
Montclair Citadel Corps Officers
20 years ago, we were commissioned (ordained as pastors) in the Salvation Army. To be honest, I can barely remember anything, I was so focused on Brett. If you don’t know our story, he was very sick and just one week out of a 6-month stay at Booth hospital in Queens. The doctor told us Brett wasn’t ready to go home. This day was so important to us and the doctor thought it would be good for his emotional health to be part of this celebration. I am grateful for God’s provision and healing and continued faithfulness.
“We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and thought we would never live through it…BUT as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but in God.” 2 Cor. 1:8-9
Captain Joel Ashcraft
Divisional Youth Secretary, Southwest Ohio & Northern Kentucky Division
(Proclaimers of the Resurrection)
Purpose. Covenant Sunday was about the dedication of my life to a purpose; one singular purpose. As I’ve learned about what it means to be a disciple of Christ, I have realized that so much of following Jesus is about going back to the main purpose – to binding ourselves solemnly to serving Him supremely all our days. And this takes on many forms, some days it’s crying with the broken hearted, other days it’s preaching, some days it’s playing basketball with kids, sometimes it’s meeting with the community to figure out how we can best serve suffering humanity, still other days are taking out trash and cleaning. But whatever the task is, it is always done with the purpose of bringing people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Often, I am reminded of this sacred Covenant and return back to it in my heart to remind myself of my purpose; my singular purpose of loving and serving Jesus all my days.
Called by God to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army
I bind myself to him in this solemn Covenant to love and serve him supremely all my days,
to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,
to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,
to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God’s grace to prove myself a worthy officer.
Done is the strength of my Lord and Savior, and in the presence of my leaders and my comrade Salvationists