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DVD series to inspire collectors

DVD series to inspire collectors

DVD series to inspire collectors

19 May 2016

By Bill Simpson

This month, in the lead-up to the Red Shield Appeal doorknock weekend on 28-29 May, Salvation Army corps and centres will be encouraged to show, as part of their Sunday services, a series of videos about the annual campaign. Titled “Why I Love Doorknock”, the videos will be made available online for Salvation Army corps and centres to download. They will feature stories shared by Salvationists about their experiences of the Red Shield Appeal; some heartwarming, others a poignant reflection. Here, Pipeline brings you a preview of what to expect from the series.

Warm welcome led young collector to Christ

“We can [by collecting] say to people that we are here when you need help. We can also give someone the chance to come to know Christ”

Robyn Lewis (pictured above) discovered Jesus after her first experience as a volunteer collector for the Red Shield Appeal. She was 12 years old and, at the time, a recent recruit to the then-Townsville Corps junior band. She had been invited, along with fellow students, by a school music teacher (a Salvationist) to play in the band. Until then, she had not had any contact with The Salvation Army.

Her band leader asked his players if they would like to be volunteer collectors for the Red Shield Appeal that year. She was among those who accepted the opportunity. It opened a whole new lifestyle for the young Robyn. She got to know people in the local corps, who invited her to other activities, including Sunday services. She became involved. As she heard more about God and his plan of salvation, she accepted Jesus Christ as her saviour and was enrolled as a senior soldier at 15.

Twenty-seven years later, Robyn is still a member of the now-Townsville Riverway Corps and is The Salvation Army’s Fundraising and Public Relations Manager in Townsville. She is married with two children. “I remember my first doorknock as if it was yesterday,” she says. “It was very hot. The church people wore white. So we [junior band members] wore white as well. There was so much activity. It was so exciting to be part of it. It was exhausting. We were tired and hungry, but back at the corps there were all these people with food and drinks. They were so welcoming. I felt like one of the most important people in the world.”

In her fundraising and public relations role, Robyn, this year, is offering the same opportunity she received many years ago to others in the community. “If I met someone with no exposure to The Salvation Army, the first thing I would say is: ‘Do you want to help somebody. If so, I can give you the opportunity’.”

To Salvationists, she would say: “The doorknock is an opportunity to show the community who The Salvation Army is. We [collectors] are the feet on the ground – not only to raise money, but to invite them to our corps. We can [by collecting] say to people that we are here when you need help. We can also give someone the chance to come to know Christ. That’s what happened to a little 12-year-old girl.”

Act of thankfulness inspires 'shift change' in corps officer

The sight of an African refugee kneeling and giving thanks to God for the money they collected has changed Major Craig Todd's approach to the Red Shield Appeal. Photo: Stephen Mejorada.

A refugee woman from Africa knelt at the mercy seat at North Brisbane Corps with a distinctive white bag in front of her. The bag contained the proceeds of her collection during last year’s Red Shield Appeal residential doorknock. She didn’t know how much she had collected, but she did thank God for it. And she asked God to bless the money and use it for his purpose.

The sight of the woman kneeling at the mercy seat stunned Corps Officer Major Craig Todd. He had not seen this before – and he has participated in many annual Red Shield Appeals. It changed his perspective of the Red Shield Appeal. “I think I have always had a good attitude toward the Red Shield Appeal,” he told Pipeline. “I am a supporter and I like to think I encourage a good attitude toward collecting. But I think the lady’s approach has produced a shift change in me. Seeing her giving thanks to God for whatever she collected was a very pleasant surprise.

“We have a counting house at North Brisbane Corps. We usually rustle collectors through when they return with their collections. But, this lady said she would like to go to the mercy seat before handing over her collections and thank God for what he had provided. It reminded me that this woman was from a background where every dollar is sacred; where every dollar is a blessing from God. Her actions changed my perspective from the Red Shield Appeal being mostly about fundraising to see there is a deeply spiritual side to the appeal. She has taught us a valuable lesson.”

Major Todd said he would be reminding his corps members of the woman’s story as this year’s appeal approaches. “I think we will make the hall available if people want to come to the mercy seat after collecting and offer thanks to God for the money and ask him to use it. We won’t force people to do that. But I think it would be a nice thing to do; to remind ourselves that the Red Shield Appeal is a spiritual exercise as well as fundraising.” 

To watch the videos, go to mysalvos.org.au/redshieldvideos

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