The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and BermudaView RSS Feed
Sep3FriOur effectiveness as an Army is dependent upon the Holy Spirit. September 3, 2021 by Commissioner Floyd Tidd
Olympic athletes met in Japan this summer, five years since they last gathered from around the globe. Hearing the stories of their journeys to Tokyo 2020, the power of inspiration is clear. More than just the dream of winning a gold medal, they spoke about the words of coaches, the sacrificial support of parents and family, the achievements of heroes and mentors, the Cheerios boxes of “cheer cards” and letters from fans at home. Inspiration can make all the difference.
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
Last year, the Canada and Bermuda Territory embarked on the journey of “Mobilize 2.0—Inspired for Mission, Positioned for Growth.” Throughout the challenges of life and ministry in a global pandemic, we have prayed and shared Scripture together as a territory, seeking to discern God at work and his plan for The Salvation Army in the coming years. Together, we have captured and articulated a vision for the territory and established a strategy to achieve that vision. The summer edition of Salvationist outlined the key pillars of this territorial strategic plan and, beginning this month, the fall issues will unpack each of the four pillars in greater detail. This will “position the territory for growth” and greater impact in more than 400 communities across Canada and Bermuda.
Mobilize 2.0 is about more than strategies and positioning for growth. It is about being freshly “inspired for mission.” Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines inspire as “to spur on, exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence” and also to “inhale, to draw in by breathing.” In Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones, he sees dry, disconnected bones come to life, reconnecting and being covered with flesh and skin. But there was no life in them until “breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army” (Ezekiel 37:10). A vast army, standing up because of the inspiring—the breathing in—of God’s Spirit.
Following his Resurrection and before ascending to heaven, Jesus gave his followers the Great Commission: to go into all the world and make disciples. He gave them a strategy. As his witnesses, he sent them first to Jerusalem, then to Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. More than positioning them for the growth of the kingdom, he made clear their need for the filling of the Holy Spirit. They would need to be inspired for mission. Jesus knew that a fresh wind of the Spirit of God upon the church would be necessary for this band of followers, and subsequent generations of the church, to fulfil the mission he had entrusted to his church.
From the earliest days of The Salvation Army, William and Catherine Booth outlined strategies that would position the Army for growth, as it quickly spread around the globe. They knew the absolute necessity of the power of the Holy Spirit breathing into the Army. In 1869, William Booth wrote, “No matter what else you may lack, or what may be against you, with the Holy Ghost you will succeed, but without the Holy Spirit, no matter what else you possess, you will utterly and eternally fail.” He wrote further that in an Army filled with the Holy Spirit, “O what zeal, what self-denial, what meekness, what boldness, what holiness, what love, would there not be? And with all this, what power for your great work? The whole city would feel it. God’s people in every direction would catch the fire and sinners would fall on every side.”
As we continue to move forward on the Mobilize 2.0 journey, there is a great risk before us. To emphasize positioning for growth without a fresh inspiring—without breathing in God’s Spirit—will leave us busier, but our effectiveness is ultimately dependent upon the Spirit. A.W. Tozer, an American Christian author, provides this insight for us in mitigating the risk: “A church without the Spirit is as helpless as Israel might have been in the wilderness if the fiery cloud had deserted them. The Holy Spirit is our cloud by day and our fire by night. Without him we only wander aimlessly about the desert.” In the post-pandemic days ahead, the path ahead may feel uncertain. Now, more than ever, we need the guiding inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
An Army, inspired for mission, is an Army asking God to breathe life into these dry bones. It is an Army surrendered, obedient to his Word and believing God will do what only he can do. Together, we will do the hard work required by the strategy in support of achieving our vision, positioned for growth. Together, let us open ourselves and seek a fresh breath of God upon his Army, inspiring us for mission.
This story is from: