How We Got Where We Are
by Major Terry Camsey –
In retrospect, we can more easily see how far we have traveled and detect the guiding hand of the Lord. Change, even in an ever-changing world, is never easy and can be downright difficult in an arena of conflicting prior agendas. The West is on an exciting journey and it is appropriate for us to take that glance through the rear view mirror to see just where we have traveled and how the Lord has blessed us.
GENESIS – In the beginning
Upon election in 1986, General Eva Burrows (R) made church growth a major part of “Agenda for the Future,” stressing the supremacy of evangelism, leading to growth numerical and spiritual, quantitative and qualitative every soldier a soul winner. The USA Western Territory was quick to embrace this priority and almost immediately initiated a three-year thrust under the theme “Grow In the Strength of The Lord!”
Around 1990, each USA Territory was invited to submit to NHQ its long-range goals for expansion, including the planting of new corps. Research to explore the possibilities was conducted and divisional commanders were invited to submit estimates regarding the number of corps plantings planned during the next decade. General (then Commissioner) Paul A. Rader was particularly interested in exploring new models for corps life, especially those that might attract baby boomers.
A demographic scan of the territory revealed 523 communities without an Army corps presence, ranging in population from 10,000 to over 100,000. Twelve communities with a population of 100,000 or more were located, along with another 73 with a population of over 50,000. Since different people respond to different denominations, these communities represented literally hundreds of thousands of people unlikely to be reached by the gospel without an Army presence.
Early in 1991, following discussion and ongoing dialog between territorial administration and division/command leaders and staff, MISSION2000 was shared in the March 14, 1991 issue of New Frontier. A MISSION2000 Expansion Council was formed and a strategy emerged “fleshing out” the vision itself. This was unveiled in the Easter, 1992 issue of New Frontier in which every divisional commander committed support. A “Power Partner” prayer support group was also formed.
This, then, was the Genesis of MISSION2000. The following paragraphs detail evolution of the strategy to accomplish the vision.
ACTS – Tracing the journey
MISSION2000 Vision was expressed thus:
“MISSION2000 is a bold, faith-based venture to double the number of corps and corps officer/leaders, and to secure at least double the number of soldiers and Sunday attendances by the year 2000.”
This was no hastily conceived vision. Noting that, in the parables, stewards were rewarded by their master for doubling that entrusted to them and that when the master told the disciples to let down their nets on the other side of the boat for a catch…a catch that filled two boat loads… Noting that John 15 tells us we were chosen to produce abundant fruit…there was a strong conviction that the Lord was calling the territory to double its presence in order to multiply the evangelistic fruit.
At the start of MISSION2000, having already spent three years promoting corps planting as a most effective method of evangelism, we had about 200 corps. Divisional commanders committed to planting 120 corps in the decade and (then) Commissioner Rader desired to add 80 new model corps for a total of 200.
There were two basic components to MISSION2000 strategy: revitalization of existing corps; and planting new corps…conventional, innovative (i.e. recovery corps); and new model (New Life/New Heights Centers) designed to reach baby boomers
People Count–1995-1997: Early in 1995, Commissioner Peter. H. Chang, then territorial commander, put his stamp on MISSION2000 detailing growth plans for the next five years and, in introducing the People Count! strategy, noting that…“MISSION2000 is on track and on target and is moving full speed ahead again to reach the goals and objectives… It is clear that the soldiers, as well as the leaders, of the USA Western Territory are taking ownership of MISSION2000. Each division has established the locations and the years of the new corps openings from 1995–2000. Each soldier is challenged to recruit another soldier in the three-year period under the banner of the People Count! campaign.
The People Count! Campaign was designed to meet the MISSION2000 goal of doubling the number of individuals in regular attendance in Army worship services during the final decade of the 20th century.
Century 21 Network: In 1996, a pilot project was approved to “adapt to a true planting system as opposed to only pioneering of new churches.” Since this was primarily a systems approach, embracing the assessment of planters and establishment of a support framework, expectations were that “every church, every corps come to the ability of reproducing itself every three years. This would,” it was suggested, “have the impact of doubling the size of the territory every three to five years.” The College for Officer Training simultaneously established a planter training to give special instruction to second year cadets and, hopefully, see them appointed as corps planters on being commissioned.
Mission2000 Expansion Council Reconvened: This group was reconvened by the new territorial commander, Commissioner David Edwards, in September of 1997 and charged with the tasks of: evaluating the Territory’s progress on MISSION2000 goals; developing new strategies; creative dialog between grass roots and administration; renewed commitment to MISSION2000; and, beginning a planning process to take the territory to 2000 and Beyond.
TERLOC joined the MISSION2000 Expansion Council in interpretation of a survey conducted in connection with the 1997 Great Victory Congress. Issues identified were reviewed by administration and handed over, in January 1998, to the new visioning process to be started shortly after. J. David Schmidt and Associates, a consulting company which had already been working with the USA Eastern Territory, was retained in the fall of 1997 to assist and counsel in development of a vision to take the territory beyond 2000.
MISSION2000 Bring Them In: This, in 1998, followed up implementation of the People Count! emphasis, a sub-theme of which was Disciples Count, placing prayer as the central discipline of four thrusts: Reaching them; Winning them; Enrolling them; and Discipling them
VISION2000 & BEYOND… recapturing the vision and reawakening the passion:
Commissioner David Edwards had indicated his conviction that the visioning process should evolve from grassroots up, rather than a “pronouncement from the mountain top.”
To achieve this, a visioning strategy was developed together with a firm time-line. In April 1998, an intensive survey of corps and officers was completed, garnering data to be used in the visioning process and assessing the impact of MISSION2000 to date. In the summer of that year, a territorial guiding coalition was formed.
Visioning rallies were conducted in every division and the ARC Command at which two key “tools” were shared. Representatives of all corps/centers were invited to attend and two key “tools” were shared: “The Salvation Army Who We Are” and a “Visioning Tool Kit” prepared by Schmidt & Associates. During January, 1999, all corps/centers worked on developing local visions which in March – were sent to commands for analysis, collation and reflection in divisional (and ARC Command) visions. CFOT had already produced their vision.
During a “visioning day” in June, 1999, The territorial guiding coalition…having previously considered the corps survey results, recommendations from the MISSION2000 Expansion Committee and the Youth Forum, an in-depth analysis of the International Mission Statement, the Spiritual Life Commission report, external trends, all input on perceived obstacles, expressed needs of corps/centers together with division/command vision statements generated a draft territorial vision statement for consideration by Com-missioner David Edwards, the cabinet and TEC. With a little polishing, “VISION 2000 & Beyond…” was accepted and will be the guiding focus of the territory for the next growth phase.
The vision that emerged is truly Spirit-inspired and reflects every single input.
Corps and Outposts: Between 1980 and 1989, there was an increase in growth in the number of corps from 174 to 204, an increase of 17 percent. The territory had–as has been noted above–already been involved in a growth thrust even before inauguration of MISSION2000 growth continued through the early years of MISSION2000 so that, by 1997 the territory moved dramatically to a total of over 300 corps in seven years, an increase of 46.5 percent. The trend in outposts was no different. At the end of 1990, the Army in the West had 10 outposts. New Frontier reported in June, 1997, there then to be 33 outposts, a growth rate of 203 percent. Taking a slightly longer period (1990-1998), corps grew from 210 to 307, a percentage increase of 46 percent.
Soldiers and seekers: Following the People Count! emphasis, 1,109 Senior soldiers and 568 Junior soldiers were enrolled by General Paul A. Rader and Commissioner Kay F. Rader at the Great Victory Congress in 1997. On that single occasion, senior rolls in the territory increased by 6.2 percent and junior rolls by 6.4 percent over the final 1996 figures. Compared to MISSION2000 baselines established in December of 1990, the number of Senior soldiers had rocketed upwards 20 percent while Junior soldier rolls increased by more than 12 percent over the same period. The number of “seekers recorded annually” by the territory between the commencement of MISSION2000 and the end of 1996 reflected a 54 percent increase.
Again, looking at the longer period 1990-1998 (year-end figures), soldiers and adherents rose from 22,572 to 30,650… a growth rate of 36 percent.
Officers and Auxiliary Captains/Attendance: From 1990-1998 grew from 749 to 839. An increase of 12 percent. Attendance at Sunday school and holiness/salvation meetings also rose from 1,796,867 to 2,068,483 for an increase of 15 percent.
Insights from the J. David Schmidt Survey: have already been reported in New Frontier but include some significant trends: a generational balance in attendees, a significant increase in non-Caucasian attendees, and a decrease in the number of second and third generation Salvationists; almost 50 percent attendees have received social services assistance from the Army; 61 percent attendees became Christians through the Army; ethnic diversity is increasing–64 percent who became Christians in the past seven years are of non-Caucasian origin…
REVELATION–So what have we learned?
First: The statistics are indisputable and illustrate, clearly, that without the planting of new units, the territory would–as many other Western world territories–be in decline. Second: It takes a great deal of time to secure a buy-in when changing from short one-year strategies (a new theme every year) to longer range goals Third: The primary “enemy” of growth is constantly at work within the organization. His strategies, as always…innuendo, confusion, misleading, half-truths. Fourth: Frequent changes of officers can lead to severe dislocation of continuity. There seems to be an ongoing urge (in-built, perhaps) to trample down the foundations built by others and rebuild our own. Fifth: We are most effective in reaching recipients of our social services. When Booth discovered the poor of London and had a vision of what Christ could do for them, he indicated he had found his destiny. The Schmidt research strongly suggests that we, too, may have rediscovered our destiny and that it is still bound up in reaching those who come to us for help and to find hope and healing, too. Sixth: ARC corps are a perfect example of mission and ministry tailored to a very specific target group, yet also capable of reaching out into the family networks of recovering clients as well as appealing to other substance abusers in the community. This ‘targeting’ approach can be just as effective for existing, traditional corps. Finally: We have learned much about the process of promoting and managing change which has stood us in good stead as the Vision2000 & Beyond…vision has been developed with greater input from all levels of the organization.
“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
Were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”
(Psalm 40:5, NIV)