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Commissioner challenges Salvationists to share message of hope

Commissioner challenges Salvationists to share message of hope

Commissioner challenges Salvationists to share message of hope

9 February 2017

Commissioners Andy and Yvonne Westrupp, wearing traditional Maori garments, have been installed as the new leaders of the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory.

by Major Christina Tyson

The installation of new territorial leaders in the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory was an opportunity for Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, coordinator of the Whole World Mobilising initiative, to challenge Salvationists to share their message of hope with the world.

Speaking at Wellington City Corps in New Zealand, where Commissioners Andy and Yvonne Westrupp were officially installed, Commissioner Peddle told the congregation, “We have to get back to what God is calling us to as a Salvation Army – getting out into our neighbourhoods with the message of the love of Jesus, telling people there is hope for a hopeless world!”

She was joined in her exhortation by the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Brian Peddle. “You can’t stay here!” he challenged. “You have to come to grips with the benediction – that God sends us out to a broken world. If God’s church is not mobilised into the world today, it is of no use to the world today.”

“We do not live in a world where people knock on our doors and say, ‘Tell me about Jesus.’ God has rescued us; he can rescue others. Mobilise your heart and your convictions – God has given us a voice in the world!”

Commissioners Andy and Yvonne Westrupp most recently led The Salvation Army’s work in Papua New Guinea for three years.

“We are delighted to be home and to have the privilege of being involved in what the Holy Spirit is doing in this territory,” said Commissioner Yvonne (Territorial President of Women’s Ministries).

Territorial Commander, Commissioner Andy, called for “holy boldness” to go through “open doors”. He described how years earlier, while ministering to addiction clients who attended their corps, he realised the way The Salvation Army “did church” often distanced it from those struggling to find God. The couple put that knowledge into practice when successfully planting a corps in Wellington’s northern suburbs in 1995. “The key was changing how we [presented the Christian message], so the Christ of the Cross could make sense to people,” he said.

The “gulf” between the churched and unchurched was even more of a challenge in 2017, he said, partly because people had even less biblical understanding. “Young people do not have any idea at all about Jesus Christ, and the cynicism of the world we live in has Teflon-coated their hearts.”

“If we continue to do the things we’re doing, our numbers will continue to drop and we’re going to die. We have to adapt! We’re not going to water down the gospel message, but we need to find ways to make sense to our target audience. We can adapt – if we have the will!”

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