Let’s Dream a Little
By Commissioner David Edwards –
The year is 2020, my wife and I have long since left the Western Territory and retired from active service. We are back, however, on a visit to the West at the invitation of the Territorial Commander and her husband. They want us to see the west once more. Since leaving, this is our first time to return.
We have been looking forward to this visit. We particularly want to see the impact of Vision2000 and Beyond… that exercise in visioning which took place in the late nineties and the first half of the year 2000 A.D.
We are pleased with what we see…
We see a territory that has grown significantly. Evangelism is a priority. Officers and soldiers are passionately committed to winning others for Christ. There are strong Salvation Army congregations in every community of more than 50,000 people. ARC recovery corps have become very much the norm.
We see a territory where commitment to prayer and holy living have become exceedingly strong. Prayer partnerships now exceed 30,000 persons. People meet regularly for prayer. Half nights of prayer are not unusual. God is answering prayer. The miraculous is now an everyday occurrence. Holiness of life is the number one priority in the lives of the soldiery.
We see a territory where the people have become totally committed to the world-wide missions of the church. Personal giving to world services has increased through the contribution of one month’s salary annually on the part of every member in corps congregations across the territory.
We see a territory where approximately fifty percent of the corps in the territory support someone serving on overseas mission. An average of one individual per corps commits to spending at least one month per year involved in some mission-type ministry in or outside of the United States of America.
We see a territory where the people on the front lines of ministry are encouraged to experiment, to take risks for the sake of the Gospel. They have a strong sense of ownership. The ministry is theirs. They are not afraid to take the initiative. They are willing to make sacrifices. They will try new things so long as it will win others to Christ.
We see a territory that has worked assiduously at recruiting, training and developing people competent to lead in ministry, whether it is in the local corps or as officers. A Center for Training and Education, established shortly after entering the new century has contributed greatly to this development. It has a highly qualified staff and is fully occupied all year round.
We see a territory that has intentionally reached out in service and ministry to people of every generation, within all races and cultures. The walls that previously existed between peoples of different ethnicities have now been broken down. The barriers which separated people no longer exist. There is a much greater understanding of the fact that we are “all one in Christ Jesus.” More and more congregations have become multi cultural because of these developments.
We see a territory where corps congregations have become directly involved in the delivery of service to their communities. No longer is this work left entirely to professionals, but the members of the corps give sacrificially of their resources in time and money to help meet the needs of their communities. They are actively involved with the poor. They show that they personally care.
This is no mere dream. These are the hopes and expectations God has placed within the hearts of people across this territory. He has awakened a passion within us to see these things happen and become real. And they will! You can be sure of that.