By James Knaggs, Commissioner
Throughout the territory there’s a renewed buzz about People Count. Taken from a theme of a previous time in the territory, this label identifies an effort to affirm mission imperatives and establish that people are important.
Each corps and social service institution is being asked to submit a weekly report, providing the following four numbers that reflect the priorities of our mission in The Salvation Army.
1. People saved: This is a count of those individuals young and old who have come to saving faith in the past week. We are The Salvation Army. This is our mission. Typically, these numbers would come from the section 1 and section 3 seekers.
2. People in worship: This is a count of the attendance at worship meetings through the previous week. If there is a Sunday morning meeting and a Salvation meeting, add them together. Don’t forget any mid-week worship meetings as well. This is an attempt to measure something of the discipleship-making that is taking place, not unlike that which is mentioned by Jesus in the Great Commission.
3. People made members: This is a composite count of newly enrolled junior soldiers, senior soldiers and adherents. For social programs this number would be those clients who have been referred to a corps. People need to belong. We want them to belong to The Salvation Army.
4. People helped: As The Salvation Army, we help people. How many were helped last week? This remains an important part of our ongoing mission and should be connected at least in some way to the three previous mission priorities.
In addition to these numbers, we are asking for short stories about how God is moving in these corps and institutions. These are two or three sentences reflecting an abbreviated version of what God is doing among us.
Following the submission of these four numbers each week, the corps or social institution will receive an email that includes a short video from me or another territorial leader to give a fresh update, a graph of the four mission imperatives revealing weekly progress over a two-year period, random recounting of the short victory stories that have been submitted, and hyperlinks to corps and institutions where people have been saved in the past week. When you click on these links, an email is generated for each of us to drop a simple note to those identified ministries to express gratitude to God for those saved and an affirmation to those who have had a part in a person’s salvation.
What will this do?
It will be a regular reminder of what’s important in all that we are doing, stressing our role in helping people toward salvation, discipling them and welcoming them into our fellowship. With all the things we do from day to day, we need to be reminded of our true objectives.
In all this, people count. The Scriptures are replete with examples of the importance of counting people to demonstrate the glory of God. We need to do so willingly and gladly to give factual representation of God’s great work among us.
These records, including the graphs, are available online so that every soldier and every officer can witness the grace of God in this way. Salvationists can reflect on their corps, other corps, institutions, the divisions and the territorial counts as well. In all, we can celebrate together what God is doing.
Last year in the territory, 38,000 people were saved within our ministries. That is wonderful. When you look at it in other ways, that means more than 700 each week and more than 100 people each day on average are coming to life-changing faith. By the way, that adds up to a person being saved every 13 minutes and 50 seconds. Praise the Lord.
In the USA Western Territory, people count.