by Colonel Esther Sather –
Some things wear out and other things just seem to get better as the days go by!
In the ’80s we were introduced to a new phrase called ‘planned obsolescence.’ It meant that products were built only to last so long. Whether it was one year or 10 years…whether it was a car or a watch. We were told not to expect quality anymore because it was to be a part of ‘planned obsolescence.’ It was disconcerting because my generation had grown up with items, things passed down from grandparents to parents and then to me.
Now into the ’90s…we are told that planned obsolescence isn’t really working. People aren’t happy with things that fall apart: they want to depend on things working the way they were intended for a long period of time. For people over 50 it is a good thing, but there are those under 30 who cannot understand what our problem is.
Since the beginning of Home League there has been one constant in the programming. No matter the yearly theme, no matter how small or large the group, no matter the territorial contest, the constant has been the matter of “fundamental purposes.”
What is counted as the fundamental purposes? The number of women who find Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Because that is the fundamental purpose of the Army’s ministry to women since its inception. To introduce Jesus Christ to each woman, to have her accept Jesus Christ into her heart and into her life.That is the fundamental purpose of our ministry to women in The Salvation Army.
As a corps officer it would have thrilled my heart to have one, two, even three women accept Christ as their Savior in a year. The majority of my women in Home League were believers, whether from the Army or other churches. I looked for the opportunities to help my women grow in the Lord, making re-dedications of their spiritual commitment as the weeks and months went by.
Across my desk, as the territorial Women’s Ministries secretary, have come the numbers for fundamental purposes for these first 10 months of 1998. It is wonderful to see how women are finding the Lord as their personal Lord and Savior. Six hundred and forty-six accepted the Lord for the very first time. Three thousand three hundred and twenty-three made re-dedications in their spiritual work. God is Good!
Each week in each community of our Western Territory, the fundamental purposes of our ministry to women are taught, shown and explained. With the new focus groups a new freedom is being enjoyed to experiment, to find what works to bring women together. Women not always churched, women being exposed to the Word for the first time. We do find ourselves on the threshold of a new millennium with many unknowns. We do find ourselves with things that wear out intentionally, but there are things that just seem to get better as the days go by!
On behalf of those 646 who found the Lord this year, and the 3,323 who took another step in their spiritual walk, I must say thank you, faithful officers and leaders of Home League and now focus outreach groups.
There is no “planned obsolescence” here. The fundamental purposes of Women’s Ministries is alive and well.