In preparation for my first appointment as an officer of The Salvation Army, I’m reading and rereading some books that might help me in my ministry. One of the books recommended to me was Paul Borden’s book, Make or break your church in 365 days.
General and Commissioner Cox, Commissioners Tidd, members of the cabinet, Representatives from the University of Divinity, Training Principal Major Geoff Webb, Training College officers and staff, cadets, officers, soldiers and friends of The Salvation Army.
In January 2012, 26 new cadets entered the Salvation Army Training College in Royal Pde, Parkville. We came from many, varied backgrounds: a primary school principal, a music store owner, multiple it workers, a podiatrist, customer service rep, a child support worker, various positions from what my mother-in-law calls the bang-bang army; and more. We came from many different countries – from Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Sudan – though while we were in college Dit’s homeland became South Sudan. We lost one last year, when Paul was commissioned as a Proclaimer of the Resurrection, to return to start his ministry in Taiwan, and one this year who, in her words, “the training college don’t want to let go of as they’d be lost without her.” We gained 2 Envoys who have heard God’s call to this next step in their ministry, and so we stand before you as 26 cadets, soon to be among the newest Salvation Army officers in this worldwide Army.
We got back into classes today, with our first distinctive being a meeting with Kent, the company that moves all the Salvation Army officers each year. Today was just an initial meeting, as well as delivering some boxes.
I also had rehearsal for the praise and worship band, and my final Greek exam. I’ve now finished all my assessments for the year.
Today, we had an “Observation Sunday” which is where we go to a different church, to observe worship there. This is a great idea, as we get ideas on how other people structure their services, buildings, morning tea, etc. But as with all things, you can often learn what not to do. Today’s experience had us asking all sorts of questions, because it could have been so good. But, if we were looking for a church to attend, we wouldn’t go back to the one we went to today. In fact, had we not been going to observe, we probably would not have gone in at all.
It was another day of study and reviews. Slowly but surely, most of the cadets are finishing off their last assignments, and getting on with a bit of packing.
We also had another doctrine rehearsal. As part of the commissioning and ordination, we declare the eleven doctrines of the Salvation Army, from memory. In order to aid or memorisation, we have rehearsals, so that we can memorise them, and get our timing together so we all say them together at the same time. I’ll go through the doctrines at a later date, but I just wanted to say a little bit about memorisation.
It’s important, I think, to memorise the doctrines, because these are the central elements of our faith that we hold to be true. In eleven relatively short statements, we declare what we believe, and why we believe them. Memorising them helps us make them central to our Christian practice, to shape everything we do in our ministry.
What have you had to memorise? What’s helped you in memorising it?
Another study day today, more Greek, and some house work. Nothing overly exciting, except that I took Liesl out for lunch as she’s finished all her assignments.
Something in prayers this morning hit me quite hard. We had a question to guide our thoughts, which was “What does God want you to do today?”
It’s Cup Day, which means it’s a public holiday here in Victoria. As such, it was a quiet day, with no classes or anything. For us, we took it as an opportunity to do some shopping before our big move down to Tasmania. There’s some furniture that we need to take with us – a new bed for Annabelle, and a new change table, so we headed down to Ikea to get some new furniture. We also got a couple of things for now – a new chair for Annabelle to eat dinner at our little coffee table, and some Christmas decorations to liven up our place for the last month or so.
We also had a baby shower for one of the Cadets, which was a lot of fun.
Well, we’ve finished out placement at Waverley, which means we’re officially into our final countdown to commissioning. Including today, there are 28 days until commissioning. I thought that as a little outlet for me – and as an insight for everyone outside of the college – I would share what’s happening as the disciples of the cross prepare for our commissioning.
As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Jesus Creed was given at Fusion Youth Service at Waverley Salvation Army on Sunday 3 November, 2013. The Bible reading was Mark 12:28-34.
“Which is the greatest?” It’s a question that is very common, to find out where you stand on certain important issues. Who was the greatest batsman? Well, you’ve got to go with the Don, but if you take him out, who was the greatest modern day batsman? Do you go with Ponting, or Tendulkar? Or who was the greatest Bond? Do you go Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, maybe Daniel Craig, or perhaps Linda? This question of the greatest goes a long way in telling us what the priorities of a person are, and whether they align with our own.
I’ve been reading Jim Wallis’ book, The Soul of Politics, and I got to one section and it really struck me how much it related to a recent change in tack in how the Australian Government treats Asylum Seekers. It’s from a section dealing with the inequality between gender, and Wallis tells a story from a report published in Sojourners magazine.