Connecting at the Congress
“Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.”
— Acts 9:15
From June 11–14, The Salvation Army will hold a congress for its members that promises to accommodate over 7,000 people. The multitude of attractions planned for this event in Harrisburg, Pa., will have the potential to be the most dazzling, mesmerizing, and inspiring congress held to date in the northeast. Under the theme “Refocus ‘… and go carry His name,’” attendees will enjoy abundant praise, worship, conversation, and song. Exciting exhibits, demonstrations, workshops, TED–styled talks, and revealing presentations will turn heads as they rubberneck to take it all in.
“We’re coming together as a body of God’s believers to celebrate God’s goodness to us,” said Commissioner William A. Bamford, territorial commander in a promotion video. Skirted–display tables with imaginative backdrops adorned with attractive giveaways will abound. Passersby will stuff them into colorful logoed bags. Their eyes will widen, and their minds will race with ideas to implement in their ministries when they return home.
For a century, such events have energized Salvationists throughout the world. These meetings have inspired longtime members and newcomers to pursue ministries and careers in The Salvation Army for the glory of God.
An essential gathering
These exciting assemblies are essential as they address frequent feelings of loneliness that many ministers of the gospel experience in the course of serving in their appointments. In their corner of the mission field far from inspiring crowds, they toil daily, sometimes in the face of adversity. Occasionally challenged by meager resources, they nonetheless strive to fulfill the great commission of God. In anticipation of the Congress, they load their vans with congregants and drive many miles to get there in hope that such a grand gathering will infuse them with optimism, heal feelings of disconnectedness, and revive their spirit.
“I’m excited and enthusiastic about what the 2020 Vision Congress will bring to the USA Eastern Territory,” said General Brian Peddle, international leader of the global Salvation Army. He and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle will lead united sessions that will teach Christian leaders how they can work effectively in their communities. To accomplish this, the General and Commissioner Peddle will base their keynote addresses on the book of Acts chapter 9, which features Saul’s conversion to Christianity and his miraculous spiritual transformation into the Apostle Paul. The General and Commissioner Peddle will present a series of five points gleaned from Paul’s transformation — the 5 Rs of revival. (see below)
Innovation in 2020
Among other attractions, the InnoVision Center and OnPoint Talks will highlight the offerings. Envoy Steve Bussey, codirector of the Innovation Department for the Eastern Territory, said, “This isn’t just an exhibit or a show, but is a showcase of innovative ideas that are taking place throughout our territory and are having an impact. They are the means by which we can cross–pollinate those ideas and inspire similar ideas that we can bring back to our local communities.
“So, we’re taking what is already happening informally and making it formal. We’re not a ‘one–trick pony’ in The Salvation Army; we’re filled with great core competencies and there are hundreds of creative experiments taking place that will be part of tomorrow’s culture.”
Bussey acknowledges that some of these innovations may fade but says that’s okay. “Some things just have a temporal impact, but other things are going to be the seedbed that will grow to become a defining factor in what we do tomorrow.”
by Warren L. Maye