Better Stewardship is a must
Better Stewardship is a must
25 July 2018
To start us off, Mark, can you tell us what “better stewardship” means?
It’s really about us sitting back and asking: “How can we better utilise what God has given to us?” I think we’ve got to get better at two things. One is financial sustainability and, two, living within our means, both exercising a good level of faith. But it’s not just about money; it’s about buildings, property and, first and foremost, people.
Some Salvos have questioned the addition of a third Territorial Headquarters (THQ ) building in light of the better stewardship goal. Can you help us understand why THQ Glen Waverley was needed?
Previously we had two territories with proportionate numbers of administrative staff on two THQ buildings (Blackburn and Redfern). As you would expect with our national headquarters being located in Melbourne, we’re now seeing more staff in Blackburn, less in Redfern, but less overall. Glen Waverley is an overflow to cater for the short term.
So there won’t be an increase to THQ officer and staff numbers?
Perhaps initially there might be, because we have the Transition Support Team helping us up until the end of the calendar year, but eventually there will be less officers and staff at a THQ level.
What other things are being put in place to help us achieve better stewardship?
We’re looking at the relationship between Salvos Stores and Family Stores. Could Salvos Stores manage Family Stores and give allocations to corps and manage it that way? It’s a question I think we need to consider. Then there’s Salvos Funerals – I think that has been a great initiative. Financial sustainability is not always about cutting things, it’s actually about the income side as well. And our national property team is looking at how we can utilise our properties more efficiently so that we house a number of expressions of The Salvation Army on one property. These are just a few examples.
If I’m working on the front line, will I have more money to spend or will I be asked to spend less?
It’s not about, “THQ’s going to give me another $100,000 a year that I can do what I like with” for every corps. I think it’s quite unrealistic to expect that.
But I think those on the front line will find a new level of freedom in decision making. In the past, our levels of bureaucracy have sometimes strangled innovation and suffocated people’s leadership.
We’ve streamlined the leadership structure (with all divisional leaders now national leaders, and area officers close to the front line) which should help with this.
We’re also introducing an authority matrix which will give more authority to the front line. So if you’re within your budget and your income is going well, you have every right to spend your budget.
You don’t need to go back to DHQ (divisional headquarters) for approval; you can get on with it! So from a stewardship perspective, they might not get more but they’ll have more authority and responsibility over what they have.
So better stewardship is not just the responsibility of a few?
It’s on all of us, from the National Commander down.
Is there anything else you would like to say to Salvos around the country about this topic?
Major Phillip McLaren mentored me for a while when I commenced in the public relations team. He would talk about 2 Samuel 24:24 when David said: “I will not offer to God that which has cost me nothing.”
Real sacrifice comes at a cost. There has been a cost to people at every level throughout our national transformation, in all sorts of ways – financially, emotionally, good people – and I want to acknowledge that.
The thing is, if we want to offer something to the Lord that’s better, it will cost us something.
If we want to be known for being a spiritual movement that’s transforming Australia one life at a time with the love of Jesus … better stewardship is a must.
Claire Hill is Communications Coordinator for the Transition Support Team.