by Commissioner David Edwards –
I trust that you have all read David Schmidt’s report in the September 10 issue of New Frontier. This was his report of the territorial survey that was carried out earlier this year by his organization.
The survey went out to 325 corps and was completed by 7,267 attendees from 295 corps and 514 officers/leaders from 274 corps. In the New Frontier article, David Schmidt mentions that this 90 percent response was overwhelming. From his experience in this business, he considered it an exceptionally high percentage.
A satisfactory level of return
Speaking personally, I am quite pleased about the level of returns. I find it very encouraging. If the response to the survey is anything to go by, then I would like to think that we have been given the indication that we were hoping for. This response suggests to me that we are on the way to creating the atmosphere of trust within which the process of visioning we are about to begin should take place. At this point, I feel that the chances are quite good that the territory will develop a vision that will be owned and accepted by everyone concerned.
Planning for the process
Those of you who are regulars to New Frontier will recall that we began talking a year ago about this business of developing a Vision for the territory for beyond the year 2000. We talked about engaging in a process that would seek to involve the entire territory in this visioning exercise. Over the past 12 months much planning and preparation has gone into making things ready for the process to begin. It would be true to say that the survey exercise was indeed part of that preparation. We are now at that point where we are about to begin.
The first set of visioning rallies, or if you prefer, visioning conferences, that are to be held in each division have already begun. At these rallies, we are endeaving to encourage every corps to become involved in this exercise of visioning.
You have already been informed of the task force, referred to as the Guiding Coalition, and consisting of representatives from every division, which has been formed and given the responsibility to put together from information received from the field the final statement that will convey the vision for the territory. If this exercise is to succeed, as we hope it will, every corps has to get involved, therefore giving an opportunity to every soldier to become engaged in seeking God’s mind for the Army just where they are. This is God’s time for action. And when God says “move” we have to move.
In speaking at the welcome to the new session of cadets named “Forward 2000,” I pointed to the experience of the people of Israel recorded in the book of Exodus who, when running from Pharaoh’s army, found themselves with nowhere else to go but forward into the Red Sea. At God’s command to “Go forward” they did just that, only to experience a miraculous deliverance from the forces intent on returning them to slavery in Egypt.
In the situation in which they found themselves, for the Israelites to go forward required from them a tremendous exercise of trust in God’s power and personality. I believe that it is God who is urging us to “Go forward.” Let us do so in faith.
A call to keep faith with the goals of MISSION2000
As the march to the year 2000 continues and the pace quickens, we will keep faith with the vision of MISSION2000. Wherever it is possible to open new ministries, new Army programs, we will continue to do so.
To make the salvation of people a priority
I continue to call on every Salvationist right across this territory to make the salvation and the transformation of people a priority. I call on you to continue to make every effort to get people saved, to keep them saved and to teach them how to get others saved. We must continue our efforts to help people grow and become disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To become more a people of prayer
I continue to call on Salvationists across the territory to become more, every day, a people of prayer. I believe that God wants us to be a people of prayer. We are an Army at war with sin and Satan. Prayer is the weapon that will give us the victory. If you have still to become a partner in prayer, make sure that you register to do so. This past year we have proved the unmistakable power of prayer. Prayer must undergird all our efforts. So let us all keep in touch.
To engage in the Spiritual journey
Finally, I call upon Salvationists across the territory to all get involved in the journey of spiritual discovery. Join me in praying for God to show us the way forward.