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Guiding Coalition Convenes

by Lt. Colonel
Sharon M. Robertson – 

“We will use what works. We will discard whatever proves to be ineffective.” (Source: the Western Territorial Vision Statement, “Vision 2000 & Beyond…Recapturing the Vision & Reawakening the Passion.”)

Few provisions in the territorial vision statement have generated quite so much discussion­ and perhaps quite so much skepticism­as the two short sentences quoted above. “Are we really going to be free to cut out any programs or procedures that we want to? Even those that have been ‘untouchable’ in the past?”

Not quite.

In his recent address to the Coalition, the territorial commander, Commissioner David Edwards, made it very clear that while change will take place, “quick fixes” are out! As we move toward realization of the territorial vision, every operation, from field to THQ, will need to assess its programs, practices and goals in light of the local vision as well as that of the territory. We will not “discard” a program or practice simply because it is something we personally do not like or want to do. Each must be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness in moving the unit toward vision implementation and the accomplishment of the mission of The Salvation Army.

The territorial vision means that we are going to have to change the way the territory does business–and that every corps, every ARC, every social services program, will need to do the same. We are going to have to take a close look at our policies and practices, and evaluate them in the light of the vision–we will have to decide what’s working, what may not be working now, but could with proper attention given to fixing it–and what is obsolete or ineffective, and needs to be discarded.

At the territorial level, the Guiding Coalition has been restructured to focus on moving from vision to implementation. Members have been challenged to “run reconnaissance” in the advance toward vision realization, scouting unfamiliar terrain, identifying priorities and discussing vision-based goals and strategies.

Some of the issues facing the coalition–and the territory:

1. Identification of Priorities

The coalition task force is focusing first on identifying those critical issues which should be given priority in moving the process from paper and abstract principle to internalized motivation and action.

2. Territorial Goals

Using the vision statement and identified priorities as a starting point, the coalition will work with the cabinet, THQ staff and the Territorial Executive Council on the formulation of vision-based goals which are specific, measurable, realistic and timed.

3. Strategies

How do we get from here–a fellowship of committed Christian soldiers with a dream, to there–a church that is Biblically authentic in motive and mission, a relevant and vibrant expression of Christianity, culturally diverse in methods and mission, compassionately active in serving humanity. How will it happen? What are the action steps that must be taken? Are we courageous enough to face the surgeon’s knife–and steadfast enough to stick it out, to endure the pangs of continuing, multiple corrective surgeries for the sake of the spiritual health God has in store for us?

4. Measurement

How do we measure vision accomplishment? What are the qualitative or quantitative standards that will help us evaluate whether or not this vision, which we believe to of God, is being actualized in The Salvation Army Western Territory?

These are exciting, challenging days! God grant us the clarity of vision and the commitment to mission that will accomplish his purposes for our Army.

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