With One Accord: Empowering

Together, we envision an Army empowered to develop effective innovative expressions of Salvationism, aligned to our core values and adapted to the needs of the community.

Imagine being an 8-year-old who is invited to see a tree stand that your dad put in the woods for hunting (or as in this case, for my husband to watch the deer pass him by as he reads). Our daughter Sharon was so excited to climb the wood slats to the platform that was likely some 12 feet above the ground. She scampered up easily – but then looked down! That act alone made the climb down something she did not want to do!

Imagine being a faithful soldier when the corps officer sees some potential in you and wants to know if you have ever considered that the Lord may be calling you to serve Him in this way. The response one soldier gave my husband was, “You mean I could be an officer?”

Imagine again that your corps officer asks you to be a leader of a program in the corps. Yes, the call has gone out from the pulpit before for leaders, but you have never felt you were one. Yet, the officer directly approaches you and specifically asks that you fill a particular role in ministry and leadership.

In all three instances, the response is, “YOU CAN DO IT!”  These four simple, yet deeply profound words resonate with us at different times in our lives. “YOU CAN DO IT!” becomes an easy definition for EMPOWERMENT.

As we continue this journey through what TOGETHER WITH ONE ACCORD means for us as Salvationists and for our corps, EMPOWERMENT as a vision imperative is so important. People often sit back and seem content to be a part of worship, a part of serving, a part of ministry, but they do not realize that the Lord can and does have so much more He desires for them, in them, and even through them! I feel that so often this continues to happen not because they do not want to be and do more, not because they do not see possibilities all around them, not because they do not want to be more engaged. I feel it continues to happen all around us in our corps ministry because we may not be intentionally empowering people and letting them know, “YOU CAN DO IT!”

As an expecting Army, we strive toward “Together, we envision an Army empowered to develop effective innovative expressions of Salvationism, aligned to our core values and adapted to the needs of the community.”  That comes right from TOGETHER WITH ONE ACCORD and the EMPOWERING imperative. The correlating verse is from Galatians 6:5, “Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

Catherine Booth once said, “We will keep the blessed gospel whole, but we will deliver it in whatever is the best cup.” Catherine Booth is saying to us today, No, don’t change the core message that Jesus saves, but make that fact known in whatever way works for where you are. “Creative best.”

We too easily squelch creativity because it is easier to continue with the status quo. We do not like to use the word bestbecause we feel it may not be totally true. In reality, it may not be the best—yet.

When we combine the two words and say “creative best” as Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:5, we give receptivity to doing something new, trying something in a different way, and approaching a challenge in a unique way. We give permission to strengthen our Salvationist expression of ministry and worship by trying new things.  We are empowered to empower others!

Now we do have to ask ourselves some questions.

  • How do I engage my corps (this includes officers, soldiers, adherents, and faithful attenders) to be involved and to see what our potential is in our community?
  • How do I pray differently for my corps, for my own life, to see what it is the Lord wants to happen right here, right now?
  • How do I and to whom do I express what I feel the Lord is saying to me?

If we don’t share what the Lord is saying to us, we miss out; we fail to learn that the Lord is saying the same to others, which further solidifies that He is speaking. This kind of examination, praying, and sharing begets an energy among us that begets more energy. I go back to a camp song we sang in the late 1970s, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going and soon all those around will warm up in its glowing.”

We need to envision an Army that is empowered! Officers empowering soldiers, soldiers empowering officers, soldiers empowering soldiers, elders empowering the younger among us, the younger among us empowering the elders, and so on. In empowering each other, we need to allow Paul’s words of “creative best” to speak to us.

We CAN and WANT to be an Army that affects our community and effects change toward the core message of the Gospel.

Yes, that 8-year-old is now 34 and by the empowering words of her dad who said for well over an hour that day, “You can do it!” emboldened her to take that first step down the rungs and land on solid ground.

That soldier my husband approached about officership did become an officer and she is faithfully serving as a corps officer today.

The other soldier who was approached by her corps officer to be a leader of a program in her corps did say “yes.” The corps officer later received this note from the soldier, “Thank you for believing in me. I hope I can live up to it.”

Yes, my dear Salvationists, YOU CAN DO IT! Let’s do it TOGETHER WITH ONE ACCORD!

Lt. Colonel Sandra J. Jackson
(Divisional Leader & Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries)