Message from Commissioner Susan McMillan, Territorial Commander
Every year, territorial and divisional leaders of the Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda meet at Jackson’s Point Conference Centre for worship, discussion and planning. This report summarizes the most recent gathering on May 1- 4, 2016.
The agenda for May 2016 was developed based on two topics from the TEC/TLC held in November 2015: Territorial Strategic Priorities and Organizational Health/Effectiveness.
Our territory has seven strategic priorities: spiritual health, leadership development, social justice, integrated mission, children and youth, gospel and transformation, and discipleship. We have chosen the theme “mobilize” to convey the essence of these seven strategic priorities. We are a mobilized people – upward, outward and onward. Mobilized to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs and transform our communities in Canada, in Bermuda and around the world. For more information about the strategic priorities, visit http://salvationist.ca/strategic-priorities.
In his book The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni states that an organization is healthy “when its management, operations, strategy and culture fit together and make sense.” Healthy organizations have minimal politics, minimal confusion, high morale, high productivity and low turnover. The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda is a highly effective organization. It has a proven track record dating back more than 130 years in our territory. Yet, there is always opportunity for improvement.
TEC/TLC Agenda, May 2016
At the TEC/TLC held in May, we delved into four topics:
- Soldier-making: This is part of the strategic priority of discipleship. We are working to establish a measurable target to increase the number of soldiers in the Canada and Bermuda territory.
- Aboriginal Ministries: This is part of the strategic priority of social justice. The Salvation Army is committed to developing and implementing a plan of action in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action (http://salvationist.ca/2016/03/salvation-army-response-united-nations-declaration).
- Spiritual Health: It is vital that we cultivate the spiritual well-being of Salvationists, employees, volunteers and the people we serve in all of our ministries.
- Fair Process: In order to be a healthy and effective organization, it is important that our internal processes maintain and build trust, especially during difficult change.
Thank you for the part you play in the mission of The Salvation Army. I am eager to advance our territorial priorities and pray that God’s Spirit will mobilize our Army to make a difference and grow his kingdom.
Susan McMillan, Commissioner
(Report submitted by Kevin Slous, Territorial Director of Discipleship)
Discussions at TEC2016 surrounding the topic of soldiership began by exploring trends and realities over the past 10 years, followed by examination of one of the stated measurable outcomes related to the priority of Discipleship: “to see junior and senior soldiers regularly being enrolled in all disciple-making ministry units, aiming to have an increase in total percentage by 10% by 2020.”
This was followed throughout the day by presentation, discussion, brainstorm, facilitation, and interview with frontline officers who have made this a practical priority, to help inform and distill next steps in working toward making the goal a reality. Initial thoughts and ideas related to a potential campaign that could reemphasize soldiership within the territory were explored, placing a value on a renewed and reframed understanding of the place of soldiership within our disciple-making efforts as The Salvation Army, encouraging and equipping individuals as well as ministry units to intentionally work toward the common goal of making disciples who are “fully engaged, active Salvationists.”
It was determined that “a growing Army” should be the measure of any such campaign or desired outcome, and that the definition and understanding of such ultimately ties in with the overall focus and emphases of the territorial mobilize priorities: UPWARD | OUTWARD | ONWARD.
Recognizing that soldiership is not a declaration of “arrival” but a commitment and covenant along the journey of discipleship, a primary area of emphasis was identified that a soldiership campaign ought to help current and prospective soldiers deepen and grow in their faith and relationship with Jesus. Soldiership is a call to “Christ-centred” living. We want to see soldiers growing in an experience of full salvation.
There is a desire and recognized need to reverse current trends with regard to engaging a growing number of people in courageously living the covenant of soldiership. This not only has impact on the re-engagement of dormant or absentee soldiers, but also on the commission to go into the world and “make disciples”, seeing true transformation take place in the lives of individuals responding to the gospel in faith. Soldiership is a call to recruit others to courageous, covenant living. We want to see soldiers growing numerically through the expansion of God’s kingdom work in the lives of corps members and the community.
“A growing Army” also seeks to envision and equip soldiers to own, embody and live out the purposes and mission of The Salvation Army. A soldiership campaign emphasis ought to help soldiers recognize their individual roles within and “as a people” on this mission together, being and accomplishing more than any one individual might on their own. Soldiership is a call to “others-focused” living. We want to see soldiers growing in expression of their faith within a distinctly Salvationist context.
Further discussion took place regarding how we, as a people, can visibly demonstrate the value that is placed on the Soldier’s Covenant within our context of faith, and how this may have inadvertently been diminished in the past. Two particular areas relate to this aspect of the conversation: Soldiership Preparation, and how Soldiership is presented in relation to Adherency.
Three recommended options for Soldiership Preparation will be released in the Fall of 2016, available in print and digitally: Mobilized for Mission (11 lesson study covering doctrine, Christian lifestyle and Salvationism), Call to Arms (11 lesson study of doctrine with connecting application and covenantal statements), and Battle Ready (14 week small group Bible study for teens). Each of these studies directly uses the Soldier’s Covenant as its basis, specifically aiming to prepare individuals to understand and live the covenant they will enter into as soldiers of The Salvation Army. These will be essential in communicating a common understanding of soldiership throughout the territory. It was recommended that a hard copy be made available to every corps officer and divisional officers upon release, so that leaders can determine which material best suits their context and individuals considering soldiership.
A specific Adherent’s Training course is being developed that will help those who may not yet be ready or considering soldiership to understand the basis of faith required of an Adherent, as well as a knowledge of Army origins, mission and practice. The aim in the provision of this type of resource is that rather than an “option” to soldiership, adherency would be approached as an “on-ramp towards” soldiership, and that there are significant elements of difference between the commitment of an adherent and the covenant of a soldier. This would not be intended to create or reinforce a false sense of spiritual superiority in regard to soldiership, but rather to give greater clarity to and re-emphasize the value that the Soldier’s Covenant has to the Army as a people called to a particular purpose with a particular expression of faith and mission.
The development of a soldiership campaign will need to be as all-encompassing as possible – more than a motivational tagline or emphasis on statistics alone. It will need to be able to inspire and equip those in long-established as well as more non-traditional contexts. Communicating a positive sense of excitement, along with a deep sense of sacred covenant, such a campaign would aim to see an Army growing in spiritual depth, in numbers of those participating in covenant living, and in active engagement in the mission of The Salvation Army. This will require support and investment of officers and soldiers at all levels of administration and leadership, as well as resources to put forth quality promotional, preparatory and discipleship materials for prospective as well as present soldiers across generational lines. The delivery of the three new soldiership prep courses in Fall2016 will be the first step of the campaign, which would continue to roll out in progressive measures throughout the Fall, developing into a full-fledged soldiership campaign with accompanying resources in January 2017 focusing on growth in three directions: UPWARD | OUTWARD | ONWARD.
(Report by Major Shari Russell, Territorial Aboriginal Ministries Consultant)
In our time together, we participated in the Blanket Exercise under the leadership of KAIROS. This is a kinesthetic overview of the history of Indigenous people in Canada. For more information, visit http://kairosblanketexercise.org. Before the Blanket Exercise, we began with a smudging ceremony and we concluded our time together with a sharing circle.
In our sessions we identified some current challenges and opportunities.
- Social Issues – There are serious social issues that need to be addressed and a level of equity needs to be established. The Blanket Exercise highlighted that current social issues are often the result of government policies enacted over many decades which have negatively impacted Indigenous people. As Indigenous people, we may not realize that the social issues aren’t always the biggest challenge. So – what is the biggest challenge?
- Attitude of helping
- Underlying attitude
- Power differential
- Leadership – Indigenous people aren’t _________ <fill in the blank> of leadership (e.g. aren’t capable; aren’t stable enough: don’t want leadership because we don’t strive for it in the Western way, aren’t recognized to have the skills or abilities unless learned to walk in two worlds).
- Culture – Some see Indigenous culture/spirituality as evil (This may not always be clearly articulated as such but comes through in the caution or fear to integrate or participate in cultural events or ceremonies. We often err on the side of the caution rather than learning or grappling through the issues which at times may be confusing and challenging).
- Salvation Army culture – There is a dominant/strong culture in the SA which unites and brings us together as Salvationists around the world. Some Salvationists have integrated their culture in their worship expressions, but this is not the experience in Canada (due to our history) so how can we, on a local level, help Indigenous people integrate their culture into worship?
- Five Lies – There are five lies which Indigenous people have internalized: They shouldn’t exist; They aren’t loveable; They don’t belong; They aren’t capable; They are no good.
- Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action – #48, 49, 58-61. #48 is significant in that we not only signed the ecumenical statement, but we are one of the few evangelical churches to develop our own denominational statement to accept the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for Reconciliation & we have developed a plan in response to it as well. The Salvation Army Framework for Reconciliation is available on our national website Salvationist.ca.
- Aboriginal Roundtables
- Leadership development – Strengthening Indigenous Identity
- Increasing awareness & education at the local levels across the Territory
(Report by Lt.-Colonel Ann Braund, Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development)
The spiritual health and well-being of all Salvationists, employees, volunteers and the people we serve is a stated priority of the Canada and Bermuda territory. Two sessions at Territorial Leaders Conference focused on this priority. One of the 2017 goals is to probe the spiritual health of leaders as a means of gauging the health of the organization.
The first session reviewed the findings of a spiritual health survey developed by Andrew Grenville (a research veteran of 30 years) and a small group of officers. An eighteen question survey, offered in both French and English, was sent by email to 800 officers and leaders attending annual retreats held in every division from January to February 2016. A total of 527 responded. The results revealed two themes differentiated people: their overall spiritual health and their perceptions of how supported or alone they were. A four quadrant graph charted greater health/poor health alongside the perception unsupported-lonely/ supported –connected. Four segments were identified: healthy and balanced (28% of the sample), loving but stretched (23% of the sample), thirsty but not alone (30% of the sample) and dry and lonely (18% of the sample).
The second session allowed territorial leaders to discuss, in small groups, what they heard in the presentation. Four small groups of 10-12 were given 40 minutes to agree on three concrete actions to strengthen the spiritual health of officers and leaders, which will impact the health of the territory. The following points represent the fruit of the discussion groups and provide direction for the way forward.
- Share the results of the study at salvationist.ca/spirituallife/spiritual-health-survey-results/.
- Promote a culture of health and wellness. Produce printed definitions of spiritual health, physical health, mental health, relational health, emotional health and prioritize healthy practices. Encourage all officers and leaders to incorporate changes to increased health and well-being. Spiritual health and well-being goals can be worked into PEAC conversations.
- Acknowledge feelings of inadequacy are normal when doing Kingdom business. No one is adequate on their own (Gospel of John 15:5). We need divine and human support.
- Implement systems to support health and wellness; mentorship program for Lieutenants, Refocus Conference for officers serving 20 years, Growing Healthy Churches Program to counter isolation, Gym Membership.
- Explore ways to make administrative systems more intuitive and continue to provide coaching, education and support to reduce stress related to administration.
- Encourage an increased utilization of resources currently offered: spiritual direction policy, grace weekends for Corps officers, flex hours, spiritual retreat days, courses, conferences…
- Prioritize and model the practice of Sabbath; implementing The Salvation Army International Positional Statement related to Sabbath.
- Teach the importance of practicing spiritual disciplines to create space for God to renew, refresh and replenish; solitude, slowing down, meditation, mindfulness, retreats, celebration…
- Promote ‘being’ verses ‘doing’. Explore how we can celebrate our ‘being’ in an organization known for its doing.
- Support and celebrate the use of a calendar to prioritize health. Carving out time for God, Sabbath, work, relationships, exercise, recreation, hobbies, retreats, conferences… look at your past calendar entries and ask God what needs to be added or minimized to future days to increase your health and wellness.
(Report by Graham Moore, Director of Organizational Development, THQ)
The topic of “Fair Process” was included on the agenda of the Territorial Leaders Conference (TLC) held at Jackson’s Point Conference Centre in May 2016. This built on the work started at the previous TLC, held in November 2015. At that time there were broad discussions about the organizational effectiveness and health of The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. It was acknowledged by leaders in November 2015 that The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda is a highly effective organization; yet, there is always opportunity for improvement. One of the recommended improvements is to embed the principles of fair process into Salvation Army culture.
About Fair Process
The purpose of fair process is to maintain and build trust during difficult change, unlock ideas, achieve high performance for the good of the organization, and gain the voluntary cooperation of staff affected by decisions, even if the outcomes are not always favourable.
There are three bedrock principles required for fair process:
- Engagement: Involve individuals in the decisions that affect them before the decision is made.
- Explanation: Everyone involved should understand why the final decisions are made as they are.
- Expectation clarity: After a decision is made, new standards for success must be stated and understood.
The agenda included education about the principles of fair process, presentation of the results of research conducted about fair process within the officer appointment system, a case study and breakout group discussions to brainstorm ideas about how to embed the principles of fair process into Salvation Army culture.
This is a summary of some of the feedback from breakout groups:
- Training is needed – both on what fair process is and what it is not. It was acknowledged that many leaders were trained between 2003 and 2012, but momentum has been lost.
- Implementing fair process is time consuming, but worth the effort. It should be evident at all levels of the organization, and could start at the top.
- There is evidence that leadership is strongest in regards to engagement, yet it is important to ensure all three principles of fair process are implemented.
- The Area Commander model and PEAC should be utilized to embed fair process.
- Poor communication extinguishes fair process. Good communication builds trust.
- Fair process may require difficult conversations. Is upskilling required?
- Not every process can be fair, but it is still worth doing.
A detailed report is being developed and will be distributed to everyone who attended TLC. Initial focus will be on raising awareness and education across the territory about the need for fair process.