Online presence of Boundless 2015 connects Salvationists from 157 countries! From Cyprus to Kazakhstan and Somalia to Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands of people swelled the numbers to follow events in London every step of the way!
In 2000, on the occasion of The Salvation Army’s previous international congress, Facebook and Twitter had yet to be invented and internet usage was typically via slow, unwieldy dial-up connections. Since then, the web and social media have truly come of age – the power of which was harnessed by the international communications team at Boundless – The Whole World Redeeming in early July.
The March down the Mall to Buckingham Palace
The Boundless 2015 website attracted more than half a million page views – a quarter of a million heading straight for the live blog. Thousands of contributions from Boundless delegates and those watching from home were incorporated into the coverage. Scores used the website to record that they had committed their lives to Jesus, rededicated themselves to God or responded to a call to Salvation Army officership.
The technological advances over the last 15 years are evident in the fact that more than half of visits to the Boundless website were from tablets or smartphones. Live streaming of the main sessions was a popular part of the online coverage, with more than 50,000 viewers having watched the opening celebration live or via the “watch again” facility.
…. Salvation Army Today (USA Southern Territory) provided daily bulletins, capturing all the atmosphere and colour from events all around The O2. The official Boundless program and daily newspaper Boundless Today were made available online, to help “remote” delegates feel just as much part of proceedings as those present in London. These international partnerships were vitally important in the promotion of the congress and engagement of Salvationists around the world during Boundless.
A one-off “Thunderclap” on Founders’ Day – July 2 – reached a million social media users across Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Subsequent sharing and retweeting achieved a social reach of 3.3 million people. The #Boundless2015 hashtag, which delegates were encouraged to use in their own social media output, was seen by 16.1 million Twitter users – at one point being a more popular topic of online discussion than the famous Wimbledon lawn tennis championships.
The streamed video content, along with electronic copies of Boundless Today and the engaging “social wall” remain available at www.boundless2015.org.
One of the "remote" delegates taking part in the celebrations, along with those present in London, was Elizabeth Hogan-Hayduk, Canada. She shares with us her personal reflections on Boundless-part three of five-
Challenges, Choices, and Resolve Resulting from the Boundless Congress.
I am so thankful for the timing of the Boundless Congress. I experienced a spiritual awakening and renewal of hope through the compelling message of God’s love via stirring music, pragmatic teachings, and reassuring prayers. An important choice that I have made is to share some of my new understanding with you, in the hopes that you will also be encouraged and blessed. I will briefly note several songs that nurtured my spirit—both traditional Army songs and modern worship songs, discuss the effect the teachings and prayer had on my perceptions of God, and the reminder that our service stems from God loving us and us loving Him in return, beginning with the wonderful ministry of music.
My heart and spirit were stirred and challenged by the old and familiar songs of The Salvation Army (e.g., Make the World with Music Ring, by Charles Coller; Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb, by Elisha Albright Hoffman; We’re an Army Fighting for A Glorious King, by William James Pearson; and We’re Going to Fill the World with Glory, by Commissioner Harry Read), as well as the more modern worship music and songs (e.g., Lord, I lift Your Name on High, by Rick Founds; How Great is Our God, by Chris Tomlin; and Shine, Jesus, Shine by Graham Kendrick).
Coming back to distinctly Salvation Army music, in the 3rd session, “A Serving Army—Founder’s Day” there was a song, O William, that really spoke to me. A modern-day Salvationist (Stephen Burn) sang it to the actor playing William Booth. Some of the lines include: The time has come for me to speak a public word of thank you to a certain Mr. Booth. For on that fateful day when you stepped out to find your destiny, though he didn’t know it then he found mine, too… O William, I’m so glad you listened when God spoke and told you what to do. For I’m a soldier in the Army sharing in the work that you began. When you found your destiny you found mine, too…When I stand up to testify I tell the congregation if it wasn’t for the Army, I wonder where I’d be. The Army that you started brought Good News of Salvation and makes such a difference to folks like me.
Having served in The Salvation Army, both as a soldier and an Officer (now a former Officer), I definitely identified with the truth that when William Booth found his destiny, he found mine, too. When I was in the Army, there were many opportunities for service, and the uniform opened many doors; of course, I’ve also discovered many avenues for service since then, too. Finally, the Founder’s song, O Boundless Salvation continues to be a favourite song, because it captures the essence of the Gospel message and that which is needed to move from being alienated from God to being reconciled to Him.
What have I learned, or been reminded of, from the teachings (a.k.a., “messages” or “sermons”) during the Boundless sessions, and what has challenged me? I will focus on the actual truth that spoke to me through the speakers’ messages, which reinforced the teaching of Scripture via exhortation (i.e. through emphatically urging me and other listeners to action, because faith without works is dead, James 2: 14-17).
The past several months have been very difficult for me and my family. It was hard to join in on the congregational song, Holy, holy, holy…though the darkness hide Thee…. I’ve been feeling, not unlike the Israelites in Egypt, that God moved our family from Montreal, Canada, to the Upstate of South Carolina, with clear signs and confirmations. However, that was 19 years ago, and I’ve been struggling for over a year with feeling forgotten by Him, wondering, “what next?” So, my heart was moved by the Moses drama in session 3—A Caring Army. The narrator stated, “Behold, the cry of My people has come to Me, and I have seen their oppression. I am concerned about their suffering, so I have come down to rescue them,” (Exodus).
Watching the drama reminded me that the Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years, but that God wasn’t ignoring their pleas for help and for deliverance from their painful and difficult circumstances. In fact, He raised Moses up from the crowd, which reminded me that God always raises individuals in time of need (e.g., William Booth, Mother Theresa, and individuals like you and me). So, when one of the Congress speakers asked, “I wonder who the people are who have encouraged you, challenged you, helped you in some way to encounter Jesus,” I began to reflect upon the people that God had put in my life. These folks either reached out to me or allowed me to reach out to them (not an easy thing for me to do), and I’m thankful that they were sensitive to my needs. Moreover, although I have always found it much easier to give than to receive, God obviously knew what I needed—assurance that He hadn’t forgotten me. One of the most powerful ways that He conveyed that message was through the prayer of Commissioner William A. Roberts, Chief of the Staff (of the International Headquarters of The Salvation Army). He prayed:
Our Father in heaven, we give You thanks because You hear the prayers of Your people. You listen to Your people and to the concerns of their hearts, and we give thanks for Your strong and obvious presence with us during the days of this Boundless Congress. There is no doubt in our hearts and minds that You have been here; because we have heard You speak to us. We have heard Your voice. You have spoken to the deepest needs of our hearts. You have heard us when we’ve cried out to You. And we give You thanks, because You are a God who cares for His people. And now we gather this morning, Father, in the name of Jesus. We believe there is still work to be done in our lives and hearts; and we pray that during the moments of this meeting, we will be strongly aware of Your presence with us. Help us to listen to Your voice, because we know You want to say something to us. And when You speak to us, Father, through the exercises of this meeting, help us to listen; and after we have heard, help us to respond to You in the way You call us to. And so, Father, we commit this entire meeting to You. Have Your way. Accomplish Your purposes. Bring honour and glory to Yourself through what happens here today. And we make this strong prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Your Son. Amen [Commissioner William A. Roberts]
END PART THREE