01 Jun From the National Commander
As the 2017 calendar page turns to 1 June, Tracey and I pause to reflect on the past twelve months since we took up our appointments to national leadership and the Australia One journey commenced. Even in the days leading up to our arrival in these appointments we sensed clearly that the journey we would share together with Salvos across Australia was part of a divine plan.
In the Book of Isaiah we read that God gave a word to his people, one that we believe is a word for The Salvation Army today: ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ (Isaiah 43:18,19)
Time and again we have seen, and heard of, the expressions of the new thing God is doing and together share the journey of preparing for even more.
This ‘new thing’ must permeate the Army but will have its greatest impact by advancing the mission of ‘sharing the love of Jesus by caring for people, creating faith pathways, building healthy communities and working for justice’. This advance will be supported by efficient and effective administrative systems and processes.
The past few months have seen a number of announcements regarding changes to the way the Army operates in Australia and our vision for its future. But, while we are looking towards the Army’s future, we can’t ignore the work that needs to be done in the here and now as we seek to fulfil our Mission through our everyday support of Australians experiencing hardship and injustice.
We’ve invested a great deal of time in looking at the way that both Territories operate, and have begun the process of aligning the vision between the two and streamlining our existing structures. In the May and June issues of Others magazine you can read about the announcement of the IHQ approved plan and changes which will allow us to improve the way we support those at the frontline in our corps and social expressions.
We have also started to move oversight of a number of territorial departments to a national level, giving teams that provide corresponding functions a united voice as they work together to support our day to day work, and making it possible for us to call on their combined knowledge and experience as we plan for the future.
As part of this change in reporting structure, we have made the decision to create the new roles of National Heads of Department for Finance, HR, IT and Property. These departments will have key roles in ensuring that the infrastructure is in place for the next stage of the Australia One project and a single point of leadership will allow for increased innovation and stronger partnerships across both territories.
To support the transition to a national leadership model, there will also be a phased restructure of the governance and structure of a number of territorial boards and councils. I believe that all these changes will propel us to be the best we can be as a Salvation Army for a 21st century Australia. We will use our resources as effectively as possible, and ensure we live up to our responsibility to be good stewards worthy of the trust that the Australian public have placed in us.
Now that we have commenced this transition, the next step is to embark on the detailed design and planning process, defining how the National Territory will operate and what sort of structure is required to best support our mission. We will be working with a cross-representational group to ensure that the voices of Salvationists and other stakeholders from across the organisation will be heard. We are also engaged in an ongoing in-depth review of our current corps and social programs to determine how we best fulfil the mission of The Salvation Army today and moving forward.
I’m truly excited by the feedback and engagement we have received from across the Army since the announcement of Australia One. Together with our fellow leaders we are humbled by the prayers and support from so many Salvationists. The open and honest engagement as people express their highest hopes for Australia One and their personal commitment to live out the mission in their local setting is inspiring.
Tracey and I continue to count it a privilege to be ‘partners in the gospel’ (Philippians 1:3-5) together with so many across this great Southland of the Holy Spirit as we embrace what God has in mind for The Salvation Army. We are confident that God is calling us to a new thing in the Army so that we might be available to be used by him in the even greater things he is doing in Australia.
Thank you for your continued partnership and prayers as we share the journey of Australia One.