BY LT. DEREK STRICKLAND –
(The following is a portion of Strickland’s speech as valedictorian)
Forward 2000. What’s in a name? When we stepped foot on campus almost two years ago, we wondered the same thing. For the first time in 77 years, a number was attached to a session name.
You could say we had something of an identity crisis. If you had asked us what we felt about our name, our responses might have surprised you. There was not a religious feeling to it. We were left to discover what God wanted from us as individuals and as a session. After two years of seeking and following God’s will we have come to cherish our session name as it has helped us forge our identity within The Salvation Army.
Not only does our name dictate action, it also captures the changing times in which we live. We are the session linking the 20th and 21st centuries. Simply put, our name represents change.
We, too, hope to bring about change in the lives of all we encounter. Each of us has looked into the past in order to understand the present, to see what God is preparing for us in the future. We believe the Army’s best days are ahead.
Several years ago MISSION 2000 was launched to push the Army into this century. The West is in the midst of Vision 2020. We are currently facing challenging questions surfacing from the International Commission on Officership. There is more discussion on the validity of our organizational structure.
The future is in-deed a big question mark. As newly commissioned officers, we are ready to become agents of change in the world. One promise is for certain, we can rely on the One who is constant and never changing to be the calming presence amongst the storms of life.
We, the Forward 2000 Session, want to bring about change in the lives of our people and our communities. We must be cautious and not seek to make changes based on our own instincts but to follow God’s leading and direction placed upon our hearts. We can bring about change by the example we lead.
As we progress, we will realize the changes in the Army by following God’s leading. We must continue to devote ourselves to prayer and be an Army that advances on its knees. We must be sensitive to the needs in each community doing the best we can, with what we have, right where we are.
We, the Forward 2000 Session, are ready to respond to God’s call on our lives. We are ready to adjust to the changing years as different needs come and go. We shall do so with ev-erything the Lord has given us.