Choosing Officership Takes Preparation, Prayer
Life Service Conference
by Jennifer Ragan and Cadet Lisa Smith –
We have all been called to serve the Lord. Some will serve as teachers, plumbers, musicians, or youth directors. For many young adults, however, the call is to serve as an officer in The Salvation Army.
This year’s Life Service Conference proved to be an excellent opportunity for these candidates to come together. The weekend provided time to meet with cadets and training college staff and to ask questions about the practical, everyday side of life at the college as well as how to prepare oneself for officership. The weekend also allowed time for discussion of the spiritual issues surrounding God’s calling.
Robin Perrine, of the Tustin Ranch Corps, was glad to learn about the “mechanics” of the College for Officer Training this year. Last year, he and his wife, Donna, participated in the Officership track where the Lord confirmed their calling to be officers. This year on the Candidate track, they were able to learn the specifics of what they will need to accomplish before entry to the college this September.
Why are young adults taking on the challenge of this calling from God, committing themselves to a lifetime of service? The answers are as diverse as the people who respond to this call.
Matt and Emma Spencer have recently come to the U. S. from England to be youth pastors at the Santa Barbara, Calif., corps. Both followed the Officership track during the Life Service Conference and claim a firm and specific calling from God to be officers in the Army.
Before they started dating, Matt had a very definite calling to be an officer. Emma, as the daughter of officers, felt that she had, in many ways, already “lived the life of an officer,” and was willing to be an officer if it was God’s will. She did not, however, want to base her decision simply on “feelings.” She wanted to be sure it was God’s calling on her life.
As a graduate of theology, Matt knew that the only job he would ever get would be in the church! However, Emma, as a speech and language therapist, spent all her time working with people and became very aware of their needs, which, she says, “went far beyond speech therapy.”
“The people I was working with needed so much more than therapy,” Emma says, “and I wanted to be in a position where I was able to minister all the time, not just ‘once a while,’ if the opportunity happened to come up during a therapy session.”
In fact, both Matt and Emma came to understand that they would not be content with “occasional” opportunities, but that they were called by God to work together in full-time ministry. This led the Spencers to the United States, where they were given what they call “the perfect opportunity” to work in lay ministry together as youth pastors at the Santa Barbara Corps.
Since moving to the United States, and particularly at the Life Service Conference, God’s calling on their lives has been confirmed and they look forward to a life of ministry as officers. “We believe that God has a work for us to do now in Santa Barbara and that he will show us the right time to enter the training college.”
For each person making the commitment to officership, the individual story is different, but a common thread runs through them all. God has specifically put his hand on the life of each one, and these young adults are finding that God’s plan for their life is well worth their total and complete commitment.