Collaboration for increased mission
Collaboration for increased mission
3 March 2021
The Salvation Army is continuing to build a culture of missional collaboration in its Local Mission Delivery (LMD), despite having to navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19 over the past year.
The encouraging indicator is based on feedback received from an anonymous survey of more than 430 Area Leadership Team (ALT) members late last year. This is an annual survey conducted every November since 2018.
While heartened by the survey outcome and its evidence of strengthening collaboration, Australia Territory leaders Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson have emphasised that The Salvation Army is still in the early stages of its LMD journey and there remain areas where we can improve.
Across Australia, 65 ALTs meet every four to six weeks to partner in holistic mission – looking to serve their community with the love of Jesus in word and action. The teams include leaders from local mission expressions in a geographical area.
The latest survey feedback indicates that significant trust has been built across mission expressions since the ALT concept was launched in 2018. According to the Divisional Commanders and Area Officers who were asked for their observations on the survey, the ALT meetings are changing the culture and have “provided valuable opportunities to build relationships between mission expressions”.
Other areas of strength include:
- people continue to feel valued as members of ALTs;
- they feel safe to raise issues for discussion in that environment;
- they understand the purpose of the ALT;
- they understand each other’s roles in the mission of The Salvation Army, and;
- they feel they are actively contributing to the ALT.
“In 2020, it was anticipated that COVID-19 would negatively impact the ALT survey results,” said the Donaldsons. “However, the results tell a story of resilience and support. People have found innovative ways to connect and work with the restrictions.”
While there is much to be pleased about in the survey response, the feedback did reveal areas where teams are looking to better live out our mission. They include:
- Only 38 per cent of respondents (an increase of 1 per cent) strongly or mostly agree that the ALT has improved Salvation Army engagement with the local community, and;
- Less than half (46 per cent – and an increase of 7 per cent on the 2019 figure) strongly or mostly agree that the ALT explores innovative ways to create faith pathways for people.
Another key consideration raised in the survey was the need to recognise the different context of each ALT, based on such things as physical distance and geography, the mix of different mission expressions in an area, and the history of The Salvation Army in that part of Australia. In effect, an acknowledgment that mission will look different in each area and will have different mission outcomes.
“The Local Mission Delivery model is still a relatively new structure, as is the process of learning and change,” said the Donaldsons. “The information we get from these surveys helps us to continually learn and build on our experience and practice.
“We are pleased that the feedback from the survey is encouraging about ALT’s being more collaborative; however, while this is good, it is not the end game. Collaboration is for a purpose; that is, serving the community better and strengthening connection with faith pathways. These are the end game.
“That being said, we are both heartened by feedback about what ALT members appreciate; that they feel cared for and valued, that there is greater vision and perspectives on mission, there is the breaking down of silos across mission expressions, and that the ALT members feel increased support and connection.”
For more information about Local Mission Delivery (LMD) in The Salvation Army, click HERE