Captains Celimar and Melvin Aleman, Salvation Army pastors at the Hamilton Corps Community Center in Hamilton, Ohio, reflect on their current ministry.
Captain Celimar Aleman
We have the great honor of bringing people to the feet of Christ. It’s very exciting to see people come to the altar during service and respond to the Word of God.
Sometimes it can be difficult for both of us to get on the same page as pastors. I’m the one who knows the ins and outs of the church and the people who attend, while my husband handles the administrative side of ministry. We’re very good at playing to our strengths, and we complement each other by taking on the roles that we know well.
Prayer is the most important thing when I prepare my sermons. I try to be in silence, late at night when I pray. Without talking to Him and getting direction from the Holy Spirit, our church cannot thrive. I like to start the preparations for Sunday’s sermon early, knowing that every day leading up to Sunday is a new challenge and can bring about new surprises.
Captain Melvin Aleman
Being led by God is what excites me the most about being a Salvation Army pastor. We are all dependent on Him, especially in tasks that we may not have the skills for. When we are led by God, even in our uncertainty, we see Him work through us as officers.
When we arrive at a new appointment, we come with plans and ideas that we can work with, but we approach it in a practical way. We observe and see how our own talents can improve the ministry. Not that what was done before us was wrong; we don’t want to create something completely from scratch and dismiss everything that was happening here before. Instead, we want to continue the work that God was doing in this ministry and see how we can be part of it as long as possible.
Seeing someone’s life or situations improve, and finding a way to be a part of that change, is amazing. We have that so much in our corps. The real honor is being a witness to God at work. The best way that I see people honoring their pastors is not by honoring them directly, but by honoring God. That will always be enough.