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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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Thinking Material

Tonight I attended 2Love Training – divisional Youth Leadership training with the Salvation Army. It was interesting to see how it differed from my past training experiences with the Anglican church. In the Anglican training I’ve been to, there had been maybe 20-30 participants, which would be representing maybe 25-30% of the congregations in Perth. At the Salvos training, there were again about 20-30 participants, which would represent perhaps 75-85% of the congregations in Perth. Obvious size difference there – and something I’m still getting used to. Of the 20-30 participants at the Anglican training, I might know 2 or 3. At the Salvos, they all knew each other. Connections, networking and relationships are of a higher significance in a smaller denomination.

In the Anglican training, they were introducing us to a new program that they were bringing in from the Eastern States, a form of running youth group that would build up the youth in the parish, and then hopefully they would bring their friends, all while preventing burn-out in the leaders. In the Salvo training, we just focussed on leadership – no specifics of what to do, but ways to find out what to do.

Now, of course, it’s far too early for me to be able to say whether one was better, or not, for in reality, they were both incredibly useful. Just different. But this training I’ve just received gave me far more to think about to help develop my personal leadership style, while the Anglican training was teaching me about a program that could work in a certain situation.

One thing that I did pick up was that identifying your strengths, weaknesses and passions is an essential part of being a leader, and identifying who has different passions is essential in building up a leadership team. You need a mix, in order to cater for all possibilities.

In our corps, we feel we’ve got a good balance between the youth leaders (though lacking in the actual youth), but our main lacking is cultural knowledge. All living outside of the corps area, we lack that local knowledge to know where the youth are, to know what the issues are. If we’re going to experience growth, this is something that we need to address.

In my blog, I also want to experience growth. For the last little while, I’ve not known what to do with my blog. In the past, I have written about my music, and my life at uni. Now that I’m no longer performing all that often, or even playing violin all that often, I need to refocus. I need to rediscover where my passions lie, where the direction for this blog will go. It is important to identify your passions, strengths and weaknesses in order to be a good leader, but it is also important to reflect upon them often, to see if they have changed over time. This might be a little bit of a challenge for me, as for the past 5 years, my passion has been classical music – though at the moment I feel that slipping away from me as I get interested in other things. Confronting as this may be, letting it go and focussing on my passions will eventually lead to growth – growth in my leadership abilities, growth in my blog, and growth in my personal self.

Big shout out to Captain Collo, who was running the training tonight. Big pleasure to meet the writer of a blog that I’ve been reading for some time now. Not exactly as I’d pictured in my head – though I have no idea why the image in my head was what it was – but great to meet him, and was encouraged by what he had to say.