Territorial Commander outlines radical change
Territorial Commander outlines radical change
8 January 2019
Radical change is coming to The Salvation Army in Australia through exclusive youth worship style, innovation incentives, new corps and the way Red Shield Appeal doorknock money is distributed. The Australia Territory leaders, Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd, signalled the initiatives at the official launch of the new single territory for Australia on 30 November.
The initiatives included:
A review of the approaches to and effectiveness of creating vibrant corps and communities of Christian faith in 27 Areas across six divisions, looking at each Area opening new corps and faith communities in the next three years.
An intentional commitment to establish a Gen Z-focused faith community (people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) in each state capital city in the next two years.
Funding of up to $5 million to be allocated from the annual Red Shield Appeal doorknock to assist corps and centres actively involved in local mission. The amount to return to each area will relate directly to how much is raised in the doorknock locally.
The release of at least $2 million in the first six months of 2019 to enhance innovation at the front line of mission through an Innovation Fund. The funding would serve as a catalyst to fresh and creative expressions of mission with ongoing contributions to the fund in the annual budget provision.
Others spoke to Commissioner Floyd Tidd and asked him to elaborate on each of these initiatives ...
New corps and faith centres
Who will have responsibility in each division/area to get this started?
We would expect that those who know the local settings best, will be best suited to get this started. It will be a part of the divisional leaders’planning, but we anticipate that the Local Area Leadership Team, comprised of leaders from the varied expressions of The Salvation Army in an Area, will work together to determine where and how this will work best in each Area.
How do you see this happening?
This will be one of the key opportunities for local Area Leadership Teams to collaborate together on, determining the needs and opportunities within their Area. There are so many connections and relationships that we have as a Salvation Army in each of our Areas that working together we can dream and build a new expression that is more than any one leader, corps or social program can do alone.
Will these new corps/centres look different to current models?
There is a freedom here to find a way to create an expression of The Salvation Army in a given Area that will share the love of Jesus by caring for people, creating faith pathways, building healthy community and working together for justice. We need to determine the validity of the expression of The Salvation Army not by the “model”but by the missional outcomes: Are people taking new steps of faith, being connected in caring communities which are stronger and healthier for all and are we growing an Army of people working for justice?
How do we justify opening new corps when we have been closing/merging existing corps?
Closing and merging corps is a natural and necessary part of the lifecycle of communities, including individual churches. This is necessary and appropriate where we see the effectiveness of the corps diminishing. It has always been a part of how we do ministry. What is necessary is to be always looking for new opportunities to move into the neighbourhood and bring salt and light. The closing and merging to match the needs of some situations allows for the redistribution of resources and support to create new expressions of effective Salvation Army corps/churches as communities of Christian faith serving local neighbourhoods.
Gen Z faith communities in each capital city
Why do you think this is necessary?
The numbers are in and the numbers don’t lie. Both the Australia Bureau of Statistics results from the 2016 Census and also the National Church Life Survey results provide a confronting picture of a movement that is losing its young adults. Nearly two-thirds of those who worship on any given Sunday with The Salvation Army are over 60. Many of our young people resonate well with the claims and call of Jesus and with the mission of The Salvation Army. Where they so often struggle is in finding places of Christian worship and community within The Salvation Army that match that with an approach that fits their generation. Creating a fresh expression of The Salvation Army focused on Gen Z will provide opportunity to address that disconnect.
Will it not take young people away from existing corps, leaving the existing corps without a youth base from which to grow a corps and maintain a leadership progression?
The sad reality is that too many of our young adults have already left our corps. This approach will hopefully provide an opportunity for them to yet remain connected to and responsible for the growth of an Army amongst their own generation to reach their generation through the mission of The Salvation Army.
Would the Gen Z faith community be only for young people?
All of the doors of The Salvation Army must be open to anyone. The focus, however, is determined to be specific to the Gen Z realities and cannot be broadened to be seeker-sensitive to all lest we lose the true emphasis required for this generation.
Who would run it and how?
These are questions that I should not answer. They need to be answered by those of Gen Z and closest partners to them. The Territorial Youth and Young Adult Coordinators will work with divisional counterparts and youth leaders to hear and lead Gen Z in the establishment of plans to create the best expression of The Salvation Army for their own generation, starting with one in each state capital within two years. I should not answer, but I and others of my generation and surrounding generations must pray and actively encourage and support those who can and will answer the questions and the call to their own generation.
Red Shield Appeal money back to corps
Does this mean that any corps/faith community/centre that actively raises money from the residential component of the Red Shield Appeal will automatically get to keep that money?
The plan is to make this a new normal reality, rather than automatic. That is to say there will be necessary guidelines and criteria for the utilisation of these funds.
What conditions will be placed on the use of that money?
The exact details need to be provided early in the new year but foundational principles that will guide the details include a focus on community and social service ministries. The funds generated through the Red Shield Doorknock appeal are given with an expectation of supporting our communities, building stronger communities as we connect and care deeply for people in our neighbourhoods.
Will a corps still get the locally raised money if there are existing Salvation Army services operating in its area which are funded by the Red Shield Appeal?
There are details that need to be worked through to ensure that the best use of our funds are ensured to deliver hope where its needed most. We see this as an opportunity to strengthen our doorknock campaign and raise more funds than we ever have before to deliver more and better services to our local communities.
How do you see that working?
This is certainly an exciting initiative and has started up the “dream machine”again. A group of proven innovators will be brought together to determine how we best facilitate the development of an innovating culture. It isn’t just about money being released! The money is a helpful support, but the catalyst for innovation lies within individual soldiers, employees, volunteers and officers. We need to find ways to release that catalytic energy as people respond sacrificially in response to obedience to God’s leading.
What type of projects would be acceptable?
That will best be answered by the innovator team. What I would be looking to see in the project proposal will be the difference the innovative project will make in people taking new faith steps, creating connections for caring, strengthening the local community and mobilising Salvos to work for justice in the local and global setting.
Would there be a ceiling on the amount given for each project?
We will leave that to the team to determine. We want to support and encourage as many innovators as possible while ensuring that the amounts provided complement local investment and are appropriate to see the outcomes anticipated.
Where do you expect The Salvation Army in Australia to go now that the new territory has been launched?
We have reached a milestone in what must be a continuing journey. We celebrate the completion of the transitioning to function as one territory with an aligned vision and united voice. We will continue to journey together in ongoing transformation to be more innovative, strengthen our partnerships, continue to improve our stewardship. All this in the commitment to make a greater impact for the Kingdom.
Is there still more to do with regard to getting everything in place?
Yes. We will continue to evaluate what we do and how we do it, including our administration, support and frontline mission delivery. This will then lead us to understand and commit to the next steps necessary in transforming to be the movement that General Peddle describes as “battle-ready ... taking responsibility”that we might be best prepared and available to God as he transforms Australia one life at a time through the love of Jesus.
Other than the removal of two territories and reduction of divisions, what difference will we see in The Salvation Army in Australia?
What we will see in The Salvation Army Australia is truly in the grasp of local Salvos to embrace as led by God to create and unveil the new thing he is doing in them and through them. What we are anticipating we will see is a movement that is prepared to be transformed and be used to transform lives. A movement that lives out of a pioneering spirit again doing whatever it takes to share the love of Jesus. An Army with a focus upon expressing its holiness tradition in ways that reflect our God in practical and purposeful ways to a 21st century Australia. We will see a growing, vibrant, spirit-filled Army stepping boldly into places of injustice and hardship to live, love and fight alongside others, just the way Jesus did and continues to do.