General Linda Bond welcomed
Army’s new international leader challenges Salvationists to take Jesus’ message to the world.
General Linda Bond kept the focus on Jesus at her welcome and dedication meeting, held April 17 at the Lancaster Hotel in London. Bond urged Salvationists everywhere to accept the flow of God’s grace that leads to freedom from bondage, and to take hold of the fullness of power offered by the Holy Spirit.
Declaring war on mediocrity within the Army’s ranks, Bond asked, “Who would not want the fullness of power of the Holy Spirit and who would want to be a mediocre Christian? Mediocrity is a sin for us. We cannot be content with mediocrity in our Christian living when the fullness of Jesus’ power is available through the Holy Spirit.
“We must not be content to play at being Army,” she said. “It cannot be business as usual. What corps doesn’t want revival? What corps doesn’t want to be free of bondage and division? What corps doesn’t want the Spirit of unity or the gifts of the Spirit?”
“The world is fractured and needs the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit,” she said. “We cannot keep the Army moving forward in our own steam. We need the Holy Spirit.”
Bond outlined her vision for the Army to be Spirit-filled, relevant, united and moving forward, taking the message of Jesus Christ to a hurting world. Emphatically proclaiming her allegiance to him, she said, “I want to spend all my time as General standing for Jesus Christ. I never want to be ashamed of Jesus and I want The Salvation Army to always stand for Christ.”
As the General challenged Salvationists worldwide, she said that the Army had been given as a gift to the whole world: “We were never made to stay within four walls. We must move out to change the world with the transforming message of Jesus.”
Cadet Christianne Zünd represented all Salvationists in welcoming Bond. She recalled Bond’s own words at the beginning of the High Council (before her election as General) when asked what she was looking for in a General: “I wish the new General to be unafraid to take risks, to inspire us, to make us proud—a General who is a true Salvationist, who follows the mission with great focus and who loves to be with people.”
“Surely this is the General we now have in you,” Zünd said.
During the dedication, General John Larsson (Ret.) explained that there is no installation ceremony for a General as “that is the privilege of the High Council—but ours is the privilege of sharing in this moment of dedication.” He then prayed, thanking God for raising and sustaining The Salvation Army and for calling and preparing, in every generation, the leaders the Army needs.
During the meeting, Chief of the Staff Commissioner Barry C. Swanson read from Hebrews 12, World President of Women’s Ministries Commissioner Sue Swanson read John 7:37-44 and Zünd quoted Romans 1:8 and part of Psalm 119. The International Staff Band and Songsters provided music.
Viewers in 35 countries watched a live web stream of the welcome and dedication meeting—with all continents represented. A recording can be seen at https://sar.my/welcome on the International Headquarters website.
From a report by Lt. Colonel Laurie Robertson