Later this month, Commissioner Merle Heatwole, international secretary for the Americas and Caribbean, and Commissioner Dawn Heatwole, zonal secretary for women’s ministries for the Americas and Caribbean, will visit our territory to conduct a territorial review. This process happens every three years and allows International Headquarters to be briefed on the work we are doing, the way we are doing it and the impact it is having on our communities. While it is a “high-level” review, it gives us a good opportunity to step back and take note of where we are and where we are heading.
It is important to take stock every so often. While a significant operational review can be a daunting affair—especially for those who must prepare for it and respond to the reviewers—it can also be a rewarding experience, one that helps improve the quality of our service and ensures we are maximizing our resources for the kingdom of God.
It is equally important to step back and take stock of our spiritual lives. The Scriptures are clear that we are responsible for cultivating our relationship with God. Philippians 2:12 reminds us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (KJV). Now, that doesn’t mean we should be overly nervous or stressed out; rather, as the J.B. Phillips New Testament puts it: “Be keener than ever to work out the salvation that God has given you with a proper sense of awe and responsibility. For it is God who is at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose.”
To have a proper sense of “awe and responsibility,” we need to undergo a review from time to time. God’s Word also admonishes us to stay on track. Ephesians 5:15 says: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise” (HCSB).
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” (Galatians 6:4). This tells us that a good review will lead to rejoicing! So let’s not be afraid to dig deep into our spiritual lives and assess how we can improve.
Spiritual health is one of our seven territorial strategic priorities, captured under the upward movement of mobilize. At the beginning of the year, officers in the territory were given the opportunity to participate in a spiritual health survey—a personal and confidential assessment of spiritual well-being—with the goal of identifying ways to develop spiritually. The survey results are available at salvationist.ca/spirituallife/spiritualhealth-survey-results.
The spiritual life development team has created an exciting new resource to inspire Salvationists on their spiritual journeys. Practising Spiritual Disciplines, available online at saspirituallife.ca, offers a hands-on guide for exploring 12 spiritual disciplines. Consider taking on the challenge of practising a different spiritual discipline each month. You can also check out the spiritual health poster on the bulletin board at your local corps or ministry unit.
This August, as the territory undergoes our triennial review, I encourage you to review your spiritual development and take steps to ensure you are growing daily in the grace that is ours through Jesus Christ.