Implementing the strategic priorities: part 1

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by Donald Bell, Lt. Colonel – 

by Lt. Colonel Donald BellImplementation of the six strategic priorities of the Western Territorial Vision has been highlighted by all commands with reports coming to our attention from command reviews, letters from the fields, and reports prepared by corps and divisional staff. There is much I would like to share, so this article will highlight some of the first three priorities while a future New Frontier article will cover the priorities of casting a global vision, identifying training and developing leaders, and directing resources to mission. The following reports demonstrate clearly the Holy Spirit’s working around the Western Territory.

Making the field a priority:

Eight brigades of cadets from the Crestmont College School for Officer Training proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ in locations throughout the Western Territory during the annual Spring Campaign blitz. Besides conducting evangelistic campaigns, the cadets were involved in vacation Bible schools, Sunday school programs, social service ministries, and other corps programs.

We continue to add spiritual resources to the territorial website, including “Tide of Prayer” initiative, prayer requests, and praise reports. We also share with the public the Army’s ministry in communities across the West via the new “Around The West” and “Did You Know” features, as well as with breaking news/disaster releases.

The territory is participating in the “E-Quip for Success” program being coordinated through national headquarters. The Army has partnered with the Beaumont Foundation to provide computer equipment for low-income persons to develop computer literacy, provide internet access, and otherwise complement Army programs meeting human needs. The computer equipment is available through the Beaumont Foundation as part of the settlement of a class action lawsuit. The Western Territory submitted 76 proposals for use of this equipment in after-school computer labs, in Adult Rehabilitation Centers, in senior residences, and in homeless shelters and transitional living facilities. If all of the proposals are approved, it will result in over 1.5 million dollars in new computer equipment for these programs in the fall of this year.

Promoting holistic ministry: Phoenix, Arizona, ARC enrolled four adherents. In the last year, four became soldiers at Phoenix Citadel. Many corps with girls’ programs are now aware of the territorial project of Overseas Children’s Sponsorship and are becoming more active in their support.

The Fairbanks, Alaska, M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) outreach group has been assisting a group called “Newborns in Need.” This is a group of interested citizens helping families with babies in crisis (i.e., preemies, infant death, etc.). Items collected are diapers, care items, yarn for making baby clothes, and ready-made clothes. These are great examples of the Cradle Roll program as it was originally designed. Phoenix Central Corps used a baby shower as a means to join together the women. This proved to be a great way to reach out to the community, and as a result seven women accepted Christ.

The Denver, Colo., Red Shield Home League women learned a timbrel routine (performed for their senior citizens’ meeting), continued their “Coffee Cup Counseling” series to help friends in scriptural ways, and have begun an amazing new group, “Red Hats on High.” This is part of the “Red Hats” groups that have formed across the country based on the poem, “When I grow old, I will wear purple with a red hat.” It is fast becoming a fun group, an attractive group to new people, and a special linkage with the community and youth center programming. The Gateway Home League ladies are always waiting and ready to help provide food, manpower, comfort, and clean-up services for memorial services and funerals. This “Martha” ministry is available to both corps members and other community people who desire to use the corps building. They do their best to make sure that the grieving families do not have to worry about the logistics of a memorial or funeral service.

Las Vegas is working on a project called “Warm Up America” where volunteers are creating afghans for distribution to the Salvation Army homeless center. San Francisco Turk Street has a League of Mercy member who is a great evangelist. He loves to witness to the street people who live near the corps in this inner city neighborhood. He does many acts of kindness, provides food and clothes, and influences them to attend the corps. He also sends cards, visits the sick in the hospital and homes, does telephone ministry, and helps and encourages those in the substance recovery program.

In Alamogordo, New Mexico, each month, a team of five League of Mercy members goes to the prison and holds a workshop and service with the inmates. From the commitment of these members, an ongoing letter-writing program known as the “Bridges to Self-Sufficiency” has developed. This program allows the inmates to correspond with others.

Men of the Santa Monica, Calif., ARC helped build play equipment for a day care playground. The San Jose, Calif., ARC started a fathering program for beneficiaries so they will return to their families better equipped to love and serve them. The Oakland,

Adult Rehabilitation Center was the recipient of the 2003 Award for Program Excellence at the Salvation Army’s National Social Services Conference in Orlando, Florida, in March. The center was cited for its holistic approach which includes a solid spiritual program, exceptional education efforts, effective personal and group counseling, and an innovative “fathering program” that seeks to help men with children or grandchildren to learn parenting skills and reconnect with families.

Salvationists in Moreno Valley, California, provided water, personal items, and Scripture material to Marine reservists en route to the Middle East.

Make Ministry to Youth a Priority: Committees have been formed to discover how we can emphasize the importance of Sunday school and spiritual formation for youth and how to integrate them into the church body. The Youth Councils tour began in March. This year’s theme is “Get In The Game!” Hundreds of delegates have come forward for prayers of salvation and recommitment. The events have been planned to include strong Biblical teaching and opportunities for corporate worship. Also included has been time for each delegate to consider full-time service as a Salvation Army officer. We have met many people expressing their first-time interest in officership. Youth Councils have also provided us with the opportunity to reach out to youth leaders with new training seminars and resources.

The youth website,, has been redesigned and relaunched. We are now able to update the site on a daily basis to provide resources directly to the field via the Internet. Eighteen young adults have been selected to serve on the 2003 Summer Service Corps teams that will be serving in Mexico, Germany, the Marshall Islands, and the Pacific Islands.

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