Making the Mission work in the West

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Concert Series: The Mission-Driven Corps

by Sue Schumann Warner – 

In a unique partnership, The Salvation Army Western Territory is set to utilize Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, and the 40 Days of Purpose Campaign as the foundation for the West’s new two-part Concert Series, slated to begin September 25.

“The ‘Purpose Driven’ materials will provide the basis for first part of the Concert series,” said Major Linda Manhardt, assistant to the secretary for program. “The second part will focus on the West’s Six Mission Priorities and explore practical ways for Salvationists to incorporate them in their lives.”

The goal of the second half, she added, will be to look at the Army’s mission and, with the motivation gained in the 40 Days of Purpose, become actively engaged in ministry—in the corps, community and beyond.

“Although we have six clearly-stated Strategic Priorities for our Territory,” Manhardt said, “they are not widely understood or applied in local ministry. Involvement in this Concert Series will help officers and soldiers to ‘own’ these priorities, and find their own ‘mission-driven’ ways to live out their commitment to God through involvement in their local corps.

“The West is blessed to have clear direction, by way of its Mission Statement and clearly-stated Strategic Priorities. In order for the Army to fulfill its mission, officers and soldiers must have the spiritual experience that compels them to participate in ministry, and understand and apply the Strategic Priorities in a practical way.”

Struck by the success of The Purpose Driven Life, and seeking a means for Salvationists to understand God’s call on their life and mission, Manhardt obtained permission from Warren to adapt the materials for use by the Western Territory. Materials will be available in English and Spanish.

Each of the West’s 10 divisions has a person assigned to directly relate to Saddleback Church’s Purpose Driven support team.

How the Concert Series: “The Mission-Driven Corps” will work

Part One: Purpose Driven

The Concert’s kick-off will take place September 25 in conjunction with Saddleback Church’s national Purpose Driven Life campaign. Each division will arrange a large-group viewing of the campaign’s simulcast at three locations within the division.

For the next five weeks, Salvationists will meet at a time and location (Sunday school, daytime or nighttime meetings, home meetings, etc.) determined by the corps, to use the Purpose Driven study materials. “Some may want to use them in Sunday school, and others might want to use them in small home groups,” said Manhardt. “It’s up to the corps to determine what works best for them.”

Each week’s meeting will include a one-page worksheet supplied by The Salvation Army relating the topic to one of the Six Priorities.

The schedule for Part One:
Week 1: Introduction—What on Earth am I here for? Special event—Purpose Driven Life Simulcast
Week 2: Worship—You were planned for God’s Pleasure
Week 3: Fellowship—You were formed for God’s family
Week 4: Discipleship—You were created to become like Christ
Week 5: Ministry—You were shaped for serving God.
Special event—Ministry fair
Week 6: Evangelism—You were made for mission
Special event—Missions fair
Week 7: Special event—Celebration Sunday

Part One will conclude November 7 with another large group meeting at the three locations determined by the division.

Part Two: Implementing the Six Priorities

Materials will be available November 1; corps may start with this as soon after November 7 as they wish. Many corps will want to use this time to review the materials for implementation in the new year.

For the second part of the Concert Series, THQ has produced materials that use Purpose Driven principles and apply them in a practical way to each of the territory’s Six Strategic Priorities.

“We’ve looked at each of the priorities and come up with ‘Outcome Objectives’ for corps officers and soldiers,” said Manhardt. “We’re trying to help the corps understand the priorities as they relate to the corps, and assist them in incorporating them into corps life and the soldiers’ daily lives.”

This will be done for each of the Six Priorities through:
• Bible studies
• Sermon outlines
• Active learning segment
(appropriate for youth and young adults)
• Program resources and ideas
• Group discussion guides
• Reflective writing (personal
journaling) guide.

Six teams of writers from the West have each been assigned one of the Priorities, to develop holistic study materials for that topic.

Outcome objectives for the materials focus on:
The Head (intellect):
Understanding, skills, and education
The Heart (emotion):
Inspiration, motivation, conviction and
The Hands (actions)
Resulting in action and ministry

Materials for these objectives might include:
• Bible studies, sermons, educational materials, information
• Group discussions, reflective writing, drama, small group activities
• Involvement in ministry, soup kitchen, food pantry, weekend missions trips, community care ministries

“The Six Priorities show us what we are about—but determining what that looks like at the corps level can be difficult,” Manhardt observed. “My hope is that this series will empower, encourage and motivate soldiers—that it will impact them in a way that reveals God’s calling on their lives.”

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