Life Service challenges many

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by Karen Gleason

DELEGATES TO THE Life Service Conference gather at Crestmont College. Over 117 attended the event.

At the recent 2004 Life Service Conference, 117 Salvationists convened for a weekend at Crestmont College. The mission of the annual event is to help soldiers between the ages of 18 to 45 discover opportunities for ministry within The Salvation Army as a soldier, local officer, or officer.

Led by Major Nancy Davis, territorial candidates’ and recruitment secretary, the conference offered a ministry track, moderated by Major Marcia Smith, director of special projects and events at the School for Officer Training, and an officership track, moderated by Captains Kyle and Lisa Smith, territorial youth secretaries. Captain Lisa Smith also led praise and worship music throughout the weekend. Special guests Steve and Sharon Bussey from the Eastern Territory brought the message at the three general sessions.

The ministry track was for those delegates who feel God is calling them as laypeople to develop their ministry within the Army, while the officer track was for those who feel called to Army officership. This track included sessions on leadership and calling, specifics on life as an officer and spiritual preparation for the ministry, and information on Training School life and requirements.

Each general session explored the theme, “It begins where you’re at,” reminding delegates that God is calling them to his work wherever they may be. Different speakers developed this idea, including: Major Chuck Gillies, territorial corps ministries and spiritual formation secretary, CSM Fred Mateo of Leeward, Hawaii, CS Charlie Dexter of Fairbanks, Alaska, and MS Dick Davenport of Tustin Ranch, Calif.

Saturday afternoon and early evening the delegates and staff joined in ministry with some of the Southern California Division’s social service programs: Westwood Transitional Living, The Haven, Harbor Light, Booth Memorial and Alegria.

One of the delegates, Ray Dihle, summarized the culmination of the weekend: “At Sunday’s call to life service for the Lord, dozens of people came forward; over 40 responded to the call to officership. I prayed that God would light all of our paths as I recalled the theme verse of the weekend, ‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.’” (Colossians 3:3 NIV)

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