16 Jun From the National Commander
In recent days I have been reminded of that encounter that Jesus had with a couple of fishermen on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He called them to follow him, telling them he would make them ‘fishers of men’. In other words, following Jesus would make his ‘business’ their business—and his ‘business’ was, and is still today, people.
Over the course of the Australia One journey, we keep before us that our business is people. The people we serve and support, and the people who serve and support others—as together we live out the privilege of being ‘partners in the Gospel’ (Philippians 1:3-5). We are grateful for the many who partner with us in this journey, including officers, soldiers, adherents, employees and volunteers. We can see the evidence of God’s hand at work in those he is leading towards specific ways of contributing to the Australia One Program.
Many of you will be aware that, in support of the leaders for the Australia One Program, we have engaged external consultants who specialise in organisational change. I am convinced that God has specifically chosen these people to partner with us as we complete this work.
Key leading members of the consulting team are strong Evangelical Christians who, in their interactions with The Salvation Army and their own colleagues, are appreciating the freedom to express their own faith and Christian perspective in the work they are doing with us.
On more than one occasion over the last number of months we have been moved as they have paused in their facilitation work with us, and recognised the importance of the work being undertaken that day. They have identified with the deep spiritual impact of decisions that The Salvation Army would need to make, and have spontaneously led into and offered prayer for The Salvation Army and its leaders.
One of the key consultants shared with us—after we engaged his firm—that he was born in England, and was a junior soldier who played cornet in the YP band. During an orientation visit to IHQ and the UK THQ, as he and one other consultant began their work last November, by divine ‘coincidence’ we met a divisional commander who identified that he was the Corps Officer for this consultant’s family when he was a young junior soldier.
The consulting partners play an important role in the Australia One Program—but a limited one. They provide insights and observations that external objective eyes can see, and bring us options for consideration based on our Mission, our current reality and our Vision “of” and “for” The Salvation Army. Yet they clearly remind us that they will not, and cannot, make decisions for us. That is not their role. It is the leadership of The Salvation Army that must decide, but we are able to make better decisions because of the work we do together with our consulting team.
As an Australia One Steering Committee we are grateful for the partnership of our consulting team. I am reminded of those who were gathering around David as he prepared for battle (1 Chronicles 12:23-37); Included in that number were ‘from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.’ (v. 32). The decisions were yet to be made by David but he was—as are we—assisted in those decision making moments by partners who understand, and help us seek wisdom.
May God continue to grant wisdom, discernment and courage to his Army of Salvation in these exciting days.