A Sacred Calling: Commissioning Weekend

by Lt. Colonel Kathleen Steele

Commissioning Weekend.

What do you think of when someone brings up this event in conversation? Do you immediately think of the guests we’ve had over the years and wonder who will appear this year? Does it bring to mind the great fellowship that occurs and seeing people from across the territory who you don’t usually get to see? Do you remember the excitement and energy that fills the air all day on Saturday during Territorial Star Search? Perhaps you just look forward to the many blessings you receive throughout the entire weekend.

Commissioning Weekend is everything mentioned above, but it is so much more. Its primary significance is to witness the ordination and commissioning of men and women who have answered the Lord’s calling on their lives to serve as officers in The Salvation Army. This is a sacred calling. This is a sacred event.

As my husband and I finish our last days serving as active officers, and enter retirement, I’ve been reminded of my own calling. To be chosen by God to serve as a Salvation Army officer is a humbling privilege. We as humans are so imperfect, yet the Lord uses us to advance His Kingdom. It is His faithfulness, His strength, His mercy, His goodness that gets us through all our days.

This year, 2024, the name of the session being ordained and commissioned is “Defenders of Justice.” My session, 44 years ago, was called “Proclaimers of Salvation.” I think all the session names help officers to remember The Salvation Army’s mission statement: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

So, whether my sessionmates and I gave our lives as “Proclaimers of Salvation,” ready to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ; or whether a new lieutenant is ready to be a “Defender of Justice,” to meet human needs in His name without discrimination; whatever we may call it, it is the Lord’s work.

It is the Lord’s calling, and a sacred privilege.

As you enjoy Commissioning Weekend, in person or via livestream, pray for those being ordained and commissioned. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Give thanks for their willingness to serve the Lord in this way. Pray that the ears of those He is calling would be open. God bless the new lieutenants. God bless The Salvation Army.