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Resource is a soldier's kit for a modern army

Resource is a soldier's kit for a modern army

Resource is a soldier's kit for a modern army

7 May 2020

Artwork by Darryl Whitecross

By Darryl Whitecross

The Salvation Army has released its first truly national resource for use around the country to explain what it means to be a soldier in modern society.

The resource is called Exploring Soldiership and is the work of the Army’s Mission Resources Department.

General manager for Local Mission Delivery and Resources, Rod Yule, said it took nine months of collaboration with a team of people around Australia to produce the resource.

“All the divisional commanders of each division nominated officers that they thought would be good to engage in this process,” Rod said. “A lot of different people at different levels fed into the development of the resource.”

Included on the team were Commissioners Robert and Janine Donaldson (Australia Territory leaders), Lieut-Colonel Lyn Edge (Secretary for Mission), Lieut-Colonel Terry Grey (Higher Education and Academic Dean from Eva Burrows College) and a cross-section of other officers, from the experienced, relatively new and retired. 

The development of the resource began with a survey of officers across the nation to determine whether a kit that explored soldiership would be helpful and what it should contain. Rod said another “significant first” is that it is available in Chinese.

“I think it’s the first time that The Salvation Army has produced, at the same time, an English and a Chinese version,” he said. “We deliberately wanted to be inclusive and recognise that we live in a multicultural Australia. Our videos include soldiers from a diverse range of cultures.”

The resource integrates the 11 doctrines that are the foundation of the denomination and the practical lifestyle commitments of the Soldier’s Covenant, which was once called the Articles of War.

Rod said some of the key principles behind the development of the kit were that it was biblical, integrated doctrine and practical lifestyle commitments and was accessible for people who might not be familiar with church or Salvation Army life.

“Our survey indicated that officers were keen for it to be an exploration of soldiership rather than a preparation for soldiership,” he said. “It doesn't assume that you're going to be a soldier at the end of it.

“By doing it, you grow as a follower of Jesus; as a disciple of Jesus and you’ll be in a better position to decide whether soldiership is the right thing for you or adherency or if you are going to stay on with the Salvos as a fully engaged member or not do either of those.” 

One member of the consultation team, Lieutenant Natalie Frame, Corps Officer at Bayside Corps in Brisbane, said the resource “fits a lot better than what we had”. She said that, previously, any soldiership classes were made up of resources and information cobbled together from across the country.

“I think it (the resource) looks really great. I’m quite impressed with the final version,” she said. “It definitely fits a lot better than what we were using. I think it is a really nice combination of tradition with the doctrines but really trying to apply it to today's life. It has the Bible aspect; it's got the discipleship aspect and the doctrines aspect and ‘how to live it’ aspect in a nice document.”

Rod said the course could be done in a one-to-one situation or in a small group context, with a range of delivery options. It includes short video presentations, among them an introductory clip from Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson. 

In his comments, Commissioner Robert Donaldson said the Exploring Soldiership resource would help people on their journey of faith as it looked at the beliefs, values and behaviours that were the foundation of the Army.

Exploring Soldiership comes in hard-copy form – PDF and PowerPoint – which can be downloaded from the internet. Hard-copy books are being published too.

Rod said he was keen to see existing soldiers do the course with one another in a corps setting “to remind themselves of what they signed up for, sometimes 30, 40 or 50 years ago.”

To access the resource, go to https://my.salvos.org.au/exploring-soldiership/

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