Disciples of the Cross

Official crest of The Salvation Army.
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It is with great pleasure that I can announce the Liesl and I have been accepted for training at the Salvation Army Training College as part of the Disciples of the Cross session.

For those outside of the Salvation Army, this means that Liesl and I have been accepted for training to become Salvation Army Officers (Ministers), and will see us move to Melbourne at the start of next year for two years of study at the Salvation Army Training College.

My journey starts a few years ago. When I was in year 11, I went on a “Priesthood Vocation Camp” that was being run by the Anglican Church in Perth. The Anglican Church identified a few young people who might be interested in ministry, and give them a weekend to explore the ministry. It didn’t really work out well for the Anglican Church. Of the five participants on the weekend, one is now in the Church of Christ, one’s moved to the Baptist church, one doesn’t really have a church, one floats between Baptist, Anglican and Salvos, and the one person who is entering the ministry is entering for the Salvos.

However, at the time, I wasn’t really interested in the priesthood, I wasn’t interested in Ministry. My Dad had been a priest (Both Church of Christ minister and currently an Anglican Priest), his dad had been a minister (Church of Christ), and my mum is an Anglican Deacon (having previously been a Church of Christ minister). I felt that God had our family, and didn’t need me. Well, he had other ideas.

When I started dating Liesl, I decided to check out the Salvos, because I had never really known what their service was like. Then one evening service, while I can’t really remember the message, I clearly remember my call. God said to me, “You’re going to college, and you’re going with her (Liesl)” and that was it. I talked to the officer that night, and started the journey to becoming a soldier, and eventually becoming accepted for college.

The application process for college is quite in-depth. It starts off with an A1 form, which is a general overview of you and your calling. Then if that gets accepted, then you get your pre-college assignments, and then your full set of papers.

The Pre-college assignments are some short assignments and readings that help you explore your calling, and leadership principles. There’s also some practical exercises, such as leading a service, and preaching.

The full set of papers give the Candidates Boards an in-depth view of you and your calling. There’s a family history, full set of medical and dental reports, a budget, and more. It really is quite in-depth.

Once your full set of papers is handed in, you will have your interview with the Divisional Candidates Board. Here they ask you some more questions, some which may have arisen from answers in your full set of papers. You also get asked to explain a bible passage, and to explain a doctrine.

From here, your application gets passed to the Territorial Candidates board, where they make the final decision on whether you are accepted for college or not.

From here, Liesl and I start making the final preparations. We need to finish our Pre-College assignments, we will need to do some fundraising, and then there will be the packing and moving. There will probably be a whole heap more as well as we prepare ourselves for lives as officers.

Once we have completed our training, we will be commissioned, and appointed to a Salvation Army Corps or Social placement somewhere within the Southern Territory in Australia. That’s basically anywhere in Australia, except the ACT, NSW and QLD (which are part of the Australian Eastern Territory). We will have no real idea of where we will be heading, but for me that’s part of the exciting part as we will be sent where the Army thinks we will best be able to serve that community.

Liesl and I are very excited about the future, particularly the next six months and the next 2 years of study, and can’t wait to be serving God wherever he needs us.

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

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