By Colonel Bill D. Luttrell
I have recently participated in two Territorial Officer Institutes: auxiliary captains and first year officers. One represented men and women who have committed themselves for full time service as a “second career.” The other was comprised of “new lieutenants” who have just completed seven months of ministry “on the field.” These two groups of officers possess a wide range of personalities, gifts, education, experience and talent. Additionally, their countries of origin symbolize the broad spectrum of ethnic backgrounds in our officer ranks. Their varied “color,” languages, dialects and history are indicative of the effectiveness of our ministry in reaching new people throughout the territory. While we continue to give evidence that people do count in our mission, their presence in our officer ranks is further confirmation of our effectiveness in this area.
The meetings of these officers gives further emphasis to the opportunity of ministry for men and women who are called by God for full time service. While the “new” lieutenants represented those who have responded to the call by attending the College for Officer Training, the auxiliary captains exemplify another avenue of service that brings opportunity to men and women who are moving into another “career” and responding to the call in mid-life.
These different approaches to full time service find common ground in service and commitment in the challenge of fighting the war against sin. This “war” is not the prevailing focus of these officers, rather their attention is given to the cause of Christ represented in the forgiveness of sin in the life of the believer. While each of these officers will attest to the presence of sin and the power of Satan in the world, they choose to emphasize the positive power of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus Himself said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work He started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a look at what’s right in front of you…these fields are ripe! It’s harvest time!” (John 4:34-35 The Message)
In fact these officers know that the opportunity for ministry has never been better because it is harvest time! The emphasis draws together the prevailing presence of sin and the eternal effectiveness of the Power of the Holy Spirit to yield a harvest! The harvest, though intense and prevalent, is not limited to the training or strength of the individual officer.
The Message further clarifies “Now the sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, Triumphant. That’s the truth of the saying, ‘This one sows, that one harvests’.” (John 4:36 , 37)
The challenge to our movement is to recruit those who will engage in the opportunity. We currently have 857 active officers serving in the Western Territory. This is not a sufficient number to keep pace with the growth of our Army in the West. What about you? The harvest opportunity is here and if God has called you to full time service, either through the College or as an auxiliary captain – see your corps officer!