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Local Mission Delivery: it’s in our DNA

Local Mission Delivery: it’s in our DNA

Local Mission Delivery: it’s in our DNA

24 April 2019

Sharing about Local Mission Delivery was a key part of the Still Others conference last December. Photo: Matt Holliday.

By Lyn Edge

A friend of mine came to The Salvation Army seeking help with his addiction to alcohol. The program he was attending brought him into contact with the local corps, and the Christian faith.

Many years later he is flourishing in health, relationships and spirituality; intellectually stimulated and often found serving others.

He came with one specific need in mind, and encountered a community that embraced and cared about his whole being. It expressed the good news of Jesus in both word and deed.

Holistic mission is a founding commitment of The Salvation Army. It’s an essential part of our DNA. However, we’ve sometimes had an inconsistent approach to delivering our mission.

At times we’ve worked in silos, some parts focusing on the spiritual while others caring for physical needs. At other times, we have worked collaboratively and holistically. It was often ad hoc and dependent on the personal relationships between leaders of our different mission expressions in an area.

Local Mission Delivery brings together all our expressions in a geographical area to intentionally work holistically. This means that across Australia, the leaders of every mission expression in an area now meet every four to six weeks to collaborate on holistic mission.

It’s our new way of working together for the communities in which we serve. Our focus is not on ourselves, but reaching out in love to Australia and its people. Themes of a broad and embracing holistic mission abound in the Scriptures.

In the Hebrew Bible, ‘salvation’ is deliverance, from any and every circumstance and any negative power that prevents full, joyous life in community. Isaiah’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17-25) has worship and prayer, along with a very concrete image of individuals and communities flourishing in every dimension of life – safe neighbourhoods, affordable housing, meaningful work, health care and equality.

Dualistic thinking [the separation of the sacred and the secular, the material and the spiritual] was imported from one strand of Greek philosophy by the Early Church. But when Jesus says, “Your faith has saved you”, it accompanied physical healing and renewal of the economic, political and religious dimensions of life (Luke 7:50, 8:48, 17:19, 18:42). Jesus taught that God’s kingdom is here now; it has broken into our world. He taught us to pray, “As above, so below” (Matt 6:9, The Message).

The Salvation Army founder, William Booth, understood this. His quote, “Making Heaven on Earth is our business” adorns the walls of our 614 Project community and worship hub in Melbourne, as true today as it was then.

Faith and practice cannot be compartmentalised. The people of God are called to a mission not of fractions, but wholes. Local Mission Delivery continues The Salvation Army’s incarnational, holistic tradition, faithful to our DNA and deeply in tune with God’s intentions for the whole created order.

For more information on Local Mission Delivery go HERE.  

Lieutenant-Colonel Lyn Edge is the Territorial Secretary for Mission.

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