Stepping on the gas
Stepping on the gas
21 March 2018
Something is happening! Can you sense it? Are you ready for it?
I love when I can share a word I feel on my heart, that is pertinent to the lives of many within the Salvation Army. These are my thoughts from a personal perspective, and I share them with you because I sense there is an element of the prophetic in what you are about to read. So read with an expectation that God is about to speak to you, and watch what happens!
I believe we have two clear options in 2018 for the Salvation Army. In 2018, we can either: accelerate or coagulate. Go with me for a minute.
To accelerate is when activities, development and progress moves forward at a faster rate than previously. To coagulate is for something that was fluid to become rigid and solid, like a blood clot.
The Salvation Army globally has awoken to the need for rapid change. The world is seeking our opinion on theological topics we used to brush under the carpet. Political systems are calling for greater accountability on how we work with and support people who are vulnerable. The changing landscape of faith in some countries is causing The Salvation Army to consider the way it lives and expresses its mission in the world.
And there are only two options. We can’t sit on the fence. The Salvation Army will either accelerate into the plans and purposes of God, or we will coagulate and dissipate into the annals of the local Salvation Army training college library.
I know people are a affected in varied ways by change and decision-making and restructures, but I want to lay my cards down and say that I’m pleased with 2017. First, though, let me backtrack to 2015 and 2016.
In 2015 and 2016, I believe that God was pruning The Salvation Army. You know the scripture in John 15, where Jesus says he is the true vine and his father is the gardener? He cuts off every branch in us that does not bear fruit while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes even further so it would be even more fruitful.
You know the illustration of the rose bush? Well, we have a few in our garden and let me tell you, the more you prune the better the results in the longer term. New growth happens beyond what you would expect because of the severity of the pruning. There was pruning in The Salvation in those couple of years. And the pruning hasn’t stopped!
Fast-forward to 2017, and we had a year where we became increasingly aware of the fragility of a movement that needed focus. So we continued to prune, but this time with intention and focus, believing that doing such things would be to the betterment of the movement. This was good. There were some rocky moments, but the realigning of our focus to kingdom work was surely pleasing to the Lord.
Now we find ourselves in 2018 and I feel the Holy Spirit saying: “Accelerate! Allow me to take what you have and accelerate it!” This is exciting. I think we are past wanting to curl up, shake hands with the devil and wave a flag of surrender.
We entertained the idea a few times, but then we thought, “No! God raised up this movement, so it’s time to move. Move back to the places long devastated. Move back to the poor and the broken. Move back into communities with the love of Jesus and bring hope to a world that needs to be brimming with light and love and salvation!”
We are sick and tired of considering what The Salvation Army looks like when it’s irrelevant. God knows we’re ready to live, love and fight to transform this world with the love of Jesus. So we are going to spend more time anticipating who God is going to heal, believing in whom God is going to save and serving the one that God calls us to serve.
We have pruned. We will continue to prune. But God is going to bring the increase. The faithfulness in pruning of years gone by, and the focus on God’s kingdom moving forward, will cause The Salvation Army to bear fruit, much fruit, fruit that will last (John 15:16).
I’m ready for 2018. I’m ready for the soldiers to get out of the proverbial trenches of biscuit eating, nice choruses and fellowship lunches. I’m ready for the people of God to take the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to a world in need. I’m ready for a movement to celebrate what it is good at instead of constantly bemoaning where it failed.
I’m ready for a collective of Salvos who cheer each other on when others succeed. I’m ready for a faith-filled, Spirit-filled, dynamic, passionate, Jesus-centred, God-focused Army that seeks to reconcile the world back to its creator.
It’s time to accelerate.
Captain Pete Brookshaw is the Corps Officer at Craigieburn. He blogs at www.petebrookshaw.com. Find him on Twitter: @petebrookshaw