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Jan28ThuIt's time to mobilize around our seven strategic priorities. January 28, 2016 by Commissioner Susan McMillan
In Calgary, The Salvation Army Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre offers ESL classes to newcomers to Canada. In Woodstock, Ont., an Army program arranges transportation to medical appointments for seniors who can't afford taxi fare. In Dartmouth, N.S., an Army budget-counselling program helps families on the verge of bankruptcy learn how to manage their finances.
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What do the three programs above have in common? They are all examples of well-executed strategies.
When I returned to Canada in 2014, I was pleased to find that our territory had established seven strategic priorities (see sidebar). Over the past year and a half, we have developed goals, action steps and measurable outcomes for each of these priorities. You can read more about them at salvationist.ca/strategic-priorities.
We have also appointed champions for each priority. These individuals were carefully chosen based on their unique gifts and abilities in relation to the priority they are responsible to implement. The champions are:
- Spiritual Health—Lt-Colonel Ann Braund
- Leadership Development—Major Brian Armstrong
- Social Justice—Jessica McKeachie and Mary Ellen Eberlin
- Integrated Mission—Lt-Colonel Deborah Graves
- Children and Youth—Major Keith Pike
- Gospel and Transformation—Lt-Colonel Fred Waters
- Discipleship—Kevin Slous
We do what we do in The Salvation Army because we love God and love people. Following God and expressing our faith in tangible ways through acts of service to others brings us great joy and fulfilment. In comparison, corporate buzzwords such as strategic planning, action steps and measurable outcomes may leave us feeling a little empty. Yet they are important.
A recent report in Christianity Today noted that more than half of pastors have no intentional plan for discipling all ages in their church. “This lack of consistent strategy in our churches is killing our disciple-making,” says Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. The stakes are high if we ignore strategic planning.
Of course, a great strategic plan that collects dust on a shelf is pointless. We need to put our plans into action. Our strategic priorities must be the focus of every person who serves under our flag. We must mobilize everyone—officers, soldiers, employees, volunteers, adherents and friends—to come together, seek God's direction and move into the community to achieve great things. That's why we've chosen mobilize as our slogan. Mobilize means to prepare our hearts (upward), serve others (outward) and move forward together (onward).
What are the next steps? The champions are working hard to develop and implement plans for the future. You will hear from them in future issues of Salvationist.
But you don't need to wait to mobilize. You can start today—wherever you are, whatever your role in the Army. Read the goals below and ask yourself, What can I do—on my own or as part of a group—to help achieve them?
Don't be discouraged by lack of funds, lack of personnel or lack of interest. Like the three examples at the beginning of this article, your program does not have to be big or cost a lot of money to be powerful and transformative.
I pray that God will bless all of us as we consider our territorial strategic priorities, work hard to make a difference in people's lives and grow his kingdom.
Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Strategic Priority Goals
- Spiritual Health: to cultivate the spiritual well-being of Salvationists, employees, volunteers and the people we serve.
- Leadership Development: to give Salvationists and employees opportunities to grow their leadership potential to advance the mission.
- Social Justice: to promote the dignity of all people, with a focus on the marginalized and vulnerable.
- Integrated Mission: to strengthen communities by responding holistically to the needs of the people we serve.
- Children and Youth: to lead children and youth to faith in Christ and foster their spiritual development.
- Gospel and Transformation: to share the gospel, lead people to Christ and nurture them in their faith.
- Discipleship: to encourage Salvationists to develop their relationships with God and express their faith through acts of service.