The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and BermudaView RSS Feed
Jan29MonNew campaign encourages soldiers to become candidates. January 29, 2018
In February, the Canada and Bermuda Territory launches a new campaign to recruit candidates. Kristin Ostensen, Salvationist associate editor, spoke to Major Jennifer Hale, secretary for candidates, about the campaign, its goals and her own experiences as a candidate.
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What is the purpose of this campaign?
We want to raise the profile of candidates and make people aware of the opportunities that are available to be in full-time ministry in The Salvation Army. As Jesus said in Matthew 9, the fields are white to harvest, but the labourers are few. So we are asking the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the fields.
It’s a natural follow-up to the recent “Calling the Courageous” campaign, which encouraged Salvationists to become soldiers for the first time and called existing soldiers to become more engaged in mission and ministry. It’s a great time for people to consider further commitment, to say, “I’m an active soldier at my corps, trying to live a surrendered life, so is the next step for me officership in The Salvation Army?”
What does it mean to be a candidate?
Being a member of the candidates’ fellowship simply means that you’re open to considering officership. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making an application to training college, or that that’s where you’ll end up, but you’re listening to God and open to where he leads you.
Why did you choose “Not Called?” as the theme?
It comes from a letter William Booth wrote to officers and soldiers around the world in 1884, in which he writes, “ ‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say.” Essentially, he’s encouraging Salvationists to consider how they can go into the world and bring other people to Jesus. As believers, we all have a call on our lives to share the gospel, and for some of us, the best way to live that out is through officership. We hope this campaign will help people realize that, yes, they are called, and that they’ll be willing to answer the call.
What are your goals for the campaign?
We want to see an increase in the number of people entering training college—we’d love to have 30 new cadets each year.
How will the campaign unfold over the course of the year?
“Not Called?” kicks off with call and commitment Sunday on February 4. We have a resource packet for corps that includes sermon outlines, Bible study ideas, prayer stations and testimonies from newly commissioned officers.
In April, we will hold a weekly one-hour webinar on calling and covenant, with different teachers each week. Corps can host it as their Bible study for that month, or people can log on at home. We hope to have a moderated question and answer time with the presenter at the end of each webinar.
As a territory, we’re going to take the month of August to pray for candidates, 24 hours a day. So people can visit salvationist.ca/candidates to sign up for a spot, as individuals or as a corps. We’ll be praying specifically for the Officership Information Weekend that’s coming up in October. That’s a wonderful weekend where people come to the training college, sit in on classes, tour the residences, interact with cadets and staff, and explore officership.
In November, we will give people the chance to experience a day in the life of an officer. Some people may not know what their corps officer does, aside from preaching and leading worship on Sundays. This will give people a better understanding of what officers do: pastoral visitation, journeying with families, family services, thrift stores. Kind of like a “take your soldier to work” day.
And finally, we’re working with the training college to arrange visits to divisions across the territory for the purpose of candidate recruitment. We’re planning a visit to Newfoundland and Labrador at the end of February, and we hope to visit one or two more divisions throughout 2018.
Officer recruitment has sometimes been a challenge for our territory. How are we charting a new path forward?
I think we need to change our conversation—we’ve spent time talking about the challenges, now we need to focus on the opportunities. We hope the campaign will give people a new vision—to see that there’s a world around us that is desperate for the Lord’s transforming work in their lives, and we’re called into that mission. We’re saying to Salvationists, “There’s a place for you, there’s an opportunity for you to spend your life in service.” It will be exciting, it will be challenging, but at the end of the day, you know that you’re making an eternal difference in the world around you.
Before you became an officer, were you once a candidate?
I was! I became a candidate when I was 16 years old and those were formative years for me. I grew up in The Salvation Army and my family was quite involved in our corps. I knew from an early age that the Lord had called me to be a Salvation Army officer. I remember, as a junior soldier, looking at our corps officers and I could see myself preaching and leading meetings. I had wonderful corps officers who included me in their ministry; I had leaders who invested in me, cared for me and trained me up. I went to the training college when I was 18—I had my 19th birthday in October in my first year—so I was very young. But it’s been an exciting journey.
Having been a candidate, what would you say to Salvationists who may be considering joining the fellowship?
I would encourage people to take advantage of every opportunity that they’re given for ministry. Never say, “Oh, I can’t do that!” or “I’m not the right person” or “I don’t have those skills.” The Lord can use you—take advantage of those opportunities to be stretched and challenged. Make the most of your time. Live your life for God’s kingdom purposes in the best way you can. And if the Lord is calling you to officership, answer the call.
A Step in the Right Direction
by Alecia Barrow, candidate
Children and youth director, Park Street Citadel, Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.
My Christian walk began at the age of four, when my family started attending St. John’s Temple, N.L. My parents joined the plant team for Pathway Community Church in Paradise, N.L., when I was 12. I spent a lot of time with them, so I was involved in all aspects of our church. From sitting in on worship team practices and various meetings, to helping with children’s programs, I was immersed in a life of ministry. That continued into university, where I became involved with the Salvation Army Student Fellowship.
My first calling to full-time ministry came in the midst of a lot of frustration. After three years of attending university and not finding my place, God clearly pointed me toward Park Street Citadel. In August 2015, I became the children and youth director there, and for the first time I felt I was where God wanted me to be. A few months after a candidates’ information session, I felt led to apply for candidacy. Although I wasn’t sure that was the direction I was going, I had come to realize that true contentment only comes when you follow God’s leading. I was open to whatever that may be, so becoming a candidate seemed like a step in the right direction.
Over the past three years, I have questioned and struggled with whether or not God was calling me to officership. I had been waiting for the neon sign to flash, but what I hadn’t realized was that God had been laying stepping stones for me, in his own time. One of my favourite quotes is “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” I also love 2 Corinthians 12:10, which says, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It has been in my struggles and weaknesses that I have found strength through God.
During a candidates’ luncheon at the Mobilize—Newfoundland and Labrador Congress last year, I felt God speaking to me through the testimony of one of the cadets. That weekend, I decided to start the process of applying to training college. After attending the Officership Information Weekend in October, I felt my anxieties shift to excitement; I had confirmation that this was the direction God was calling me. I believe that my journey up to now has been preparing me for a life of ministry as a Salvation Army officer, and I can’t wait to see where God will lead me.