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A season of new beginnings

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by Amanda Reardon, Captain – 

Forget January, fall is the season of new beginnings. I offer my own sixteen-year-old son as proof: he cleaned his room. He’s been waking up early. These things are practically revolutionary in our house.

You know how it is: School starts, and you kind of clean up your act. But you don’t have to be in school to get that sense of a fresh start. Just look at any second grader in her new school clothes, her unscuffed shoes, and her hair coiffed to perfection. She’s an inspiration: the very image of the promise of a new fall season. While we recommit ourselves to the pace of normal (read: not summer) life, we do it with a sense of expectation.

Students anticipate their new classrooms and teachers. Church members hope for new faces in the congregation. Football fans have renewed hope for their teams!

God seems to be a proponent of newness and change. In the book of Isaiah he said: “Forget the former thing; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43: 18,19)

More than I can ever remember, I’ve become acutely aware of God doing a new thing among Salvationists. We are willingly and frequently testifying to the love and faithfulness of God. We are praying often, and with fervor. And we are thinking outside the box when it comes to ministry. The climate in the Army now communicates to people that they can do new things in the name of Christ. I especially notice this when it comes to young people. They feel emboldened.

I can only speak for my corner of the world, I guess. But here, where I am, I see a movement among the young people that I almost envy. These kids and young adults aren’t just excited about band and songster practice starting up again (though that, too, is exciting in my opinion). They are excited about engaging in corps ministry. But more than that: they are engaging in ministry at home, school, wherever they circulate.

My friend, Erin Dabis, organized a ministry called UNMET that goes into the streets of Seattle and ministers to the people who dwell there. She’s not an officer or the corps sergeant major. But she is a young woman who has vision and a calling from God. (I’m disturbed that the UNMET ministry seems like a novel idea when it involves soldiers instead of paid employees. But that’s another column.)

I believe the Army is gathering steam. It’s starting with the young people, which is only natural. But I’m not willing to let it stop with them, are you? I want to be part of the force that is going to sweep across my community and change it forever. God is doing a new thing, and he can use you and me to make it go forward.

Here’s a confession: Last fall I started a Bible club for children in my neighborhood. Not wishing to overwhelm the parents in my neighborhood, I told them we would meet for five weeks, finishing right before Christmas. I thought that we could reconvene in the new year, if there was interest. There was indeed interest, but we never reconvened. Do you know why? Because I was too busy.

This fall season, I’m restarting the club, and I plan to carry on until the school year ends. If I get too busy, I’ll push something else off my plate. If I am “too busy” to teach the Bible to eager children, I have become ambivalent about the eternal status of my neighbors, and failed my ultimate mission. Nothing else could matter more than sharing Christ with a lost soul.

Maybe you are “too busy” as well. What ministry has God called you to do, and what excuse might you think you have for not doing it?

My son has new ministry opportunities in which he is engaging himself this fall. This means, however, that he will most likely need to forgo the school play. During his first three years of high school, his fall seasons were utterly consumed by the school play. Now he is a senior. I expected the play to mean more to him than ever. But he didn’t even think twice about it. If the play conflicts with ministry, then the play has got to go.

Maybe our Army is emerging from a long summer season: a season of leisure and self-indulgence. Maybe we are heading into our fall season: a season of vigor, joyful effort, and harvest. If so, we’ll enjoy success in proportion to involvement. So polish your shoes, and get a move-on. The new fall season is here.

You can contact Capt. Reardon at:
Amy_Reardon@usw.salvationarmy.org


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