Returned late last night from officers’ councils at Swanwick. This year’s theme was “Entrusted with the Future”. As always, some attended reluctantly. After five previous sessions, we arrived expecting at least one meeting to speak to us. Nevertheless a few days away always recharges our batteries.
Some years we have spent most of our time with friends, but this year it was mostly the two of us. We probably benefited most from the extra sleep we had! Whilst not ignoring the difficulties of The Army’s current situation, the message of councils was upbeat. God still sounds the call to reach the lost and serve the needy, and we can and should respond.
I’ve never been able to remember the official SA mission statement, so I was greatly relieved when the TC declared he was going to accept General Gowan’s call:
Grow Saints and
Serve Suffering Humanity.
This is also a better focus for TSA then NEWSS.
The TC also emphasised reconciliation as a central theme of the gospel – reconciliation to God in Christ, but also with each other and those who have “gone away”. There was also an acknowledgement that the world is part of this process – referring to Paul’s observation of “creation groaning”.
Commissioner Betty took some time to remind us that it’s all about Jesus – worship, fellowship, social programme and evangelism all need to connect people with the person of Jesus. If we omit the Saviour we offer no more than the government’s social workers.
Whilst most of what we heard was not new, the boldness with which our territorial leaders called us back to basics was both encouraging and challenging. Let us praj that they’re able to carry this passion through all their ministry. And I pray that I too may keep the focus on Jesus.