Salvation Army Canada - May 2017 Report

May 2017 Report

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Message from Commissioner Susan McMillan, Territorial Commander

Photo of Commissioner Susan McMillanEvery 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 of the Territorial Leaders Conference on May 16-17, 2017.

The agenda was based on the strategic priority of “The Gospel and Transformation.” The goal of this priority is “to share the gospel, lead people to Christ and nurture them in their faith.” The champion for this priority is Major Doug Binner, corps ministries secretary.

Strategic Priorities

Our territory has seven strategic priorities: spiritual health, leadership development, social justice, integrated mission, children and youth, gospel and transformation, and discipleship. We have embraced 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/about/strategic-priorities.

Special Guests

We were pleased to welcome Commissioners Carolyn and James Knaggs as our special guests. The Knaggs recently completed their appointments as the territorial president of women’s ministries and territorial commander of the U.S.A. Western Territory in December 2016. They both have a deep love for Jesus and have served him faithfully as officers since they were commissioned in 1976. We are grateful for their leadership in worship, devotions, preaching and teaching.

TLC Agenda, May 2017

  1. The Gospel and Transformation (leader: Major Doug Binner)
  2. The Salvation Army and Youth (leader: Captain Ruth Gillingham)
  3. Corps Sustainability (leaders: Colonel Glen Shepherd and Graham Moore)
  4. Reframing Organizational Values (leader: Sharon Jones-Ryan)
  5. Financial Position of the Canada and Bermuda Territory (leader: Paul Goodyear)

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
Territorial Commander

The Gospel and Transformation

(Report submitted by Major Doug Binner, Corps Ministries Secretary)

The presentation on Gospel and Transformation, Strategic Priority #6, was facilitated by Major Doug Binner, corps ministries secretary. In recognizing that this priority aligns with the previous call to be “One Army” and the current General’s call to “Go Forward – the Whole World Mobilising,” we were presented with a challenge based on history, current survey responses and our own statistical trends. Our history celebrates large numbers of converts in our early meetings. Recent survey responses in two divisions indicate that there needs to be urgency in our Army to share the gospel, because we are not being effective currently. And our 10-year stats and trends indicate that although converts are being made, disciples are not.

The territorial leaders were presented with four areas of discussion. The delegates were asked to discuss the rekindling of passion for lost souls and a restlessness among Salvationists. The second question centred on creating a culture of invitation and developing naturally relational congregations. The group was asked if we needed a process or vehicle with which we can hold people accountable for their evangelistic efforts. And lastly the topic of celebrating outcomes, and specifically celebrating evangelism efforts rather than just successes, was placed on the table.

One of the recurring themes that seemed to surface in response to almost every question was that of training, education and resources. It would seem there is a gap in this regard. Consequently this is a strategic priority which needs to be talked about, emphasized and brought to the fore at every level of our organization.

Rekindling a Passion: Tables 1 & 5

In response to questions about creating a yearning for lost souls and a restlessness among Salvationists, these groups raised more questions, suggesting that we first needed to discover why we would want someone to get saved and why we or anyone else need redemption.

They suggested we have bought into the lie that spirituality is a personal thing, and that it has become hard to have a deep yearning for people we don’t know, especially when many do not intentionally spend time with people who are not Christians.

There was emphasis on the need for training in how to naturally share our faith, and that this is a long-term commitment for the organization and for individuals. It was suggested that we need to realign priorities, making it equally important and valuable to coach a community baseball team and to lead band practice.

Creating a Culture of Invitation: Tables 2 & 6

In response to questions about creating a culture of invitation and developing a naturally relational congregation, these groups reminded us of the value of our past testimony periods, which gave people the opportunity to share their story. They suggested prescribed questions and a time of dialogue around coffee before or after worship. They talked about the value of flexibility and a willingness to adjust service times or layout of space/furnishings – all in an effort to be culturally relevant and to know your audience and your community.

They also promoted the value of community and relationship. They suggested a diversity of participation in formal meetings, allowing a variety of people to become better known.

Adequate training was also noted as important and essential, along with quality resources and effective marketing. This equips people to be able to effectively share how Christ and his love have impacted us.

Building Accountability: Tables 3 & 7

In response to questions about having a process and a vehicle with which we can hold people accountable for their evangelistic efforts, these groups raised the concern of having adequate resources/budget for evangelism. They suggested that we don’t take full advantage of some of our large events and gatherings by offering a clear and effective presentation of the gospel. The same could be true for some of our community and family services ministries where we fail to fully integrate the people who do already come to our doorsteps.

Reference was also made to our prayers being primarily insular, rather than praying for the lost by name.

Celebrating Measureable Outcomes: Tables 4 & 8

In response to questions about celebrating outcomes, and specifically celebrating evangelism efforts rather than just successes, these two groups suggested that we needed divisional training and programmatic emphasis on how to effectively share a 20-second “My Story.” We need to create opportunities and occasions where the saints can tell their stories, and we need to celebrate converts the way we once did. They also emphasized the need to focus better on follow up and discipleship.

Going Forward

As the presentation was brought to a conclusion, a number of follow-up opportunities were offered to divisional commanders and department heads. These included support for the Global Alpha Campaign, with a huge media launch in Fall 2017 in the Greater Toronto Area; Re-Awaken Seminars with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association of Canada; Walk Across the Room (one-, two- or three-day conferences) which teach people how to use their own story to effectively evangelize; Love New Canadians with Rick and Pattie Love from Calgary, teaching how to effectively connect with immigrants and refugees; and Multiply, our own corps planting strategy, which is becoming increasingly effective in attracting new people.

The Salvation Army and Youth

(Report by Captain Ruth Gillingham, Divisional Youth Secretary, Alberta and Northern Territories)

One of the strategic priorities of the Canada and Bermuda Territory is that we lead children and youth to faith in Christ and foster their spiritual development.

A couple of action points of this priority are to develop strategies to effectively reach and minister to children and youth and to provide opportunities for their development of leadership skills.

The Alberta and Northern Territories Division presented several discipleship training strategies for the youth/young adults that are currently being employed in their division.

Utilizing the territorial children and youth ministries department’s Equalizer/ReCalibrate Tool, a focal point of all DHQ youth endeavours is to make disciples. The aim is to move young people along a discipleship trajectory, leading them into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, having them grow in their faith, be equipped for service, mature in their faith, and pass it on to others through life, ministry and leadership.

A part of our discipleship process is to offer senior camp staff a six-to-eight-week pre-camp discipleship training program during the months of May and June. Individuals are billeted in Edmonton and attend DHQ as the base for their training. The group of young people engage in a variety of spiritual disciplines, teachings and local missions led by a number of facilitators. These disciples are trained to intentionally spiritually mentor and coach the other camp staff when in attendance at camp for the summer months.

Pine Lake Camp has reframed employment at camp to be an invitation for young people to join the mission of The Salvation Army through camping ministry. During the camp months, all staff engage in daily group devotions, spiritual discussion and personal prayer ministry. Senior staff are attentive to teachable moments, opportunities for leadership development and growing a healthy spiritual community.

Each program staff member also takes part in a two-week post-camp mission trip which is led by senior staff members. Three teams are sent to different corps to provide follow up with campers who attended camp. During the first week at the ministry unit, the camp staff contact campers and invite them to a day camp that will be conducted at the corps the following week. The camp team works in conjunction with corps members to conduct a week-long day camp thereby creating a bridge between campers and a local ministry unit. The main intention is to link children that have gone to camp with a Salvation Army congregation.

Through this experience the camp staff gain experience and practice in leadership, mission engagement and expressing their faith through a variety of mediums.

It is our hope that staff returning to their home corps will continue to be utilized and offered meaningful opportunities to continue to grow and develop their leadership skills and faith.

Another medium for intentional discipleship is The Fellowship. The Fellowship is a group of individuals journeying together in the exploration of discipleship with Jesus Christ and effective leadership in The Salvation Army. The goals of The Fellowship are individuals coming to know God, in truth and relationship; knowing themselves, in personality and character, in abilities and gifts; and developing themselves through opportunities and challenges for personal learning, character building and growth within The Salvation Army.

The Fellowship is a community of individuals with recognized leadership potential who are committed to developing their gifting and spiritual practice. Disciples will begin the journey by joining a Facebook group to participate in monthly online spiritual focuses and conversations.

Those further along on the journey who desire a greater degree of engagement and personal development may join a yearly cohort of up to eight people called The Gathering. Through participation in strategic Mission and Service, Leadership and Mission Expansion, Outreach and Evangelism, and Spiritual Growth and Development, individuals will develop skills and grow in their capacity as leaders.

Two critical research findings were discussed regarding ministry to children and youth. First, in his book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, George Barna admits that for years his own focus (and the focus of churches in general) has been on adults, despite the fact that 80 per cent of those accepting Jesus as their Saviour are below the age of 13 years. In light of this, he appeals to churches to rethink their ministry priorities.

In his book The Teaching Church, Eugene Roehlkepartain underlines three critical elements that most influence a child’s faith development:

  1. Discussing faith with one or both parents.
  2. Having regular time of devotions either with the family or a parent.
  3. Being involved in a service project with the family.

In summary, he concludes that parents remain the key influencer in the faith development of children.

The group’s conversation then explored other action points of the strategic priority such as reviewing the utilization of Salvation Army-specific resources and engaging entire families in church and youth discipleship.

In conclusion, the presenter affirmed the importance of the territorial strategic priority pertaining to children and youth and encouraged the development of an overarching territorial vision, the generation of resources to achieve the vision, and accountability to ensure that the vision and priorities of the territory are being enacted.

Moving forward from the written strategic priorities to action will require a united engagement of all soldiers and members in order to see a document setting out the bones of vision come to life.

Our goal is to lead children and youth to faith in Christ and foster their spiritual development so that they would become spiritual champions in our day and age.

Corps Sustainability

(Report by Graham Moore, Director of Organizational Development, and Colonel Glen Shepherd, Divisional Secretary for Business Administration, Quebec)

Church congregations are vitally involved in community life, offering significant value to their communities. A new research tool, which measures the Halo effect of a congregation, was developed earlier in the 21st century at the University of Pennsylvania. It asks the question “What is the economic impact of a church in the community?” Put another way, “What would it cost the community to replace the services a church offers its community?” In a study of 12 churches in the Philadelphia area, it was calculated that those 12 churches contributed a Halo effect of $51,850,178 to their communities, an average of more than $4 million per congregation. Our territory has recently completed a Halo assessment at three corps – Toronto’s Cedarbrae Community Church, Kelowna Community Church, B.C., and Montreal Citadel. Colonel Glen Shepherd explained the Halo project and its application at Montreal Citadel.

While we may all agree that corps are vital, sustainability has been an issue. The number of corps is slowly decreasing. There is a growing reliance on grants and allocations for operating needs. More corps are experiencing operating deficits. In April 2016, a Business Leaders Conference brought together business leaders, divisional leaders, program leaders and others from across the territory. At the conference, work began on the development of guiding principles that will help to ensure the future sustainability of corps. Graham Moore facilitated the process which resulted in the adoption of eight guiding principles by the Territorial Management Board in April 2017. These principles were presented and there was discussion about how they may be used to inform conversations about corps sustainability at all levels of the organization.

Reframing Organizational Values

(Report by Sharon Jones-Ryan, Territorial Ethics Centre)

Crafted over a decade ago, our statement of core values has provided a strong foundation for all aspects of our operation.

Conversations, consultations and surveys have affirmed the role that values can and do play in our territory – guidance for behaviour, direction in decision making, and assistance in strategy – and have also identified two major challenges:

  1. Ten core values is too many for people to easily remember or reference.
  2. It is critical that our language and behaviour expectations are easily understood and applicable to all persons working for The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda.

With this information in hand, over the past year the Ethics Centre, assisted by organizational development and an ad-hoc working group, has worked on re-crafting our territorial core values statement. In the process, the following guidelines were observed:

  1. The re-crafted statement will contain no more than five values.
  2. Each value will have an associated behaviour statement which can (and should) be expected of every person associated with The Salvation Army, Canada and Bermuda Territory – officers, employees, volunteers, members.

In this workshop, the participants were invited to provide feedback on the work that has been done to date.

Financial Position of the Canada and Bermuda Territory

(Report by Paul Goodyear, Territorial Financial Secretary)

Paul Goodyear, territorial financial secretary, presented an overview of the territory's financial position, with an emphasis on acknowledging its strengths, as well as highlighting key challenges facing the territory at this time. He presented information concerning the territory as a whole, as well as at the divisional and ministry unit levels, designed to help leaders consider i) whether adequate resources have been committed to the territory's priorities; ii) whether sufficient progress is being made towards achieving financial viability at the ministry unit level; and iii) whether the territory is doing enough to support the work of the Army around the world.

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