Thursday, February 21, 2013

We Need Officers ATTRITION SERIES Part V


While some loss is inevitable, one must question why there is such a seemingly steady flow of SA officers leaving their ‘call’?

The Lord says,
‘Do not cling to the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already you can see it now!’…”                 Isaiah 43:18-19 GNB

“Ronald Reagan, while President of the United States, said, “status quo is Latin for, the mess we’re in”.

Are we seeking to protect the status quo or are we finding it impossible to break free from it?

“Those still active tell us they're 'too busy within their own commands' to give attention to the additional concerns represented by those contemplating resignation and those already gone, no matter the urgency. And for those in a position of leadership the question of officer retention appears to be far removed from the list of daily demands; 'left to the handful at the top'. “ (Major Jo Ann Shade)

The oft-repeated excuses range from,‘non-officers are filling the roles formerly held by those ‘called’ by God’. This translates to, at least to some extent, compromise; are the officers whose desk jobs are now filled by lay staff serving elsewhere? And to dismiss the losses by saying that similar losses are being experienced across denominational lines sounds trite and hollow.

What then, if anything, is being done to thwart the loss of present day and future officer leaders? More specifically, is there a role for the FSAOF to provide in helping to turn the tide?

Change that is going to make a difference must be Spirit-led, timely, radical and deep, sustainable and needs to start with a revamping of the organizational model itself. A maturity of thinking is needed, one that guides, feeds, nourishes, nurtures, heals and proffers reconciliation.

And the SA contact/lead persons need to bring more than corporate weight and political correctness. The persons needs to see the ‘former’ not as a mission, but rather to embrace them as  loved members of the SA family.

“The ex-officer, no matter what was the cause that resulted in his loss to our fighting forces, is still a child of the Army. He entered the sacred circle. He became one of us, sharing our joys and sorrows, losses and crosses. He received the commission of a divinely appointed authority to proclaim Salvation, build up men and women in their most holy faith, and help to win someone to God.”
General William Booth, Field Officer (December 1900) pp. 453-4.

A corporate policy is only as good as the abilities and attitudes of those who are charged with carrying out that policy. Combating the losses is an uphill battle and will be a stretch. It requires moving into unchartered waters, adopting a new attitude-thought process working in partnership with 'formers' to identify and provide for their needs at all levels. It requires first-class communications skills, an analytical mind set and a thorough knowledge of the resignation consequences in order to identify their specific needs. The SA appointed contact person must demonstrate flexibility and an objective and unbiased approach.

The Rev. John H. W. Stott shared in a conference I attended, “Vision is the result of a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo”. Stott went on to say that, “our dissatisfaction with the status quo ought to move us to action formulating in our minds a new vision for our churches.“

Sven Ljungholm
Former Officer
SA soldier
Birkenhead Corps


Anonymous said...

I was from the Soulwinner session 1954-55 eastern USA...
My husband and I were faithful officers and when he passed suddenly it left me serving alone with 2 pre-school children. I carried on for 5 years. One difficult issue was having so many different female assistants residing with our little family of 3. Some of them were awesome and we still maintain contact with much love. But still it was difficult making adjustments as a young mother/widow to total strangers moving in with us lock stock and barrel so to speak. Never met some of them before and we were required to suddenly jell and blend and all of that, regardless of personalities, convictions, etc, etc, etc. It was really difficult and it showed in so many ways. I had assistants that were top notch and so when there was an opening in another corps, it did not take long for them to be snatched away. I can only tell you with truth and grace that when I was introduced to a fine gentleman in our community with a sterling Christian testimony we both knew very early on that this relationship was God given. We have been married going on 41 years. Often our children tell us we ALL have been so blessed. That indeed is the reason I resigned. I still love the SA..Why should I not? My parents were officers as well as 3 of my brothers. My dad was presented with the first "Distinguished Father Award" when my younger brother was commissioned. We have no corps in our nearby community or we would be supporting it..

Anonymous said...

Just read a book titled On We March. A daughters story of her parents who served 29 years . Then when they asked for an easier appointment because the wife ahd health issues and were told to resign and told they would not receive a pension having only served 29 years. The father went on to be a Methodist minister. The Methodists asked him to join their church. Interesting reading about what they went through in each appointment and how things turned out.