Moves: “That and better will do…”

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by Paul Seiler, Major – 

by Major Paul SeilerWho can forget the phrase of William Booth, “that and better will do…”

I must admit there are elements of that phrase that seem to discourage rather than encourage…but I want to look at it another way, as an instruction for leaders and for all Salvationists to constantly pursue building on the past to improve the present and future. Making small gains every day, spiritually and organizationally, should bring a big difference for God over time.

Matthew 25, with its description of the servants with various amounts of money to care for, brings us the clear direction that being faithful in the smaller things will bring us greater rewards. So, in an effort to meet the battle cry of this office from the first day (“fewer moves,” “let officers stay longer”) there are some specific steps that have been put into place with the intention of improving stability and fruitfulness in the long run.

There will be no more planned August or January moves, only June moves. All others will be in response to specific need, and as minimal as possible. The territorial commander has directed that only 20% of the officer force should move in any command in one year.

The plan is now for four-year appointments, with a solid rationale for a move prior to that. We will work to stop the occasional practice of moving an officer rather than working through issues.

The good news? Things are improving! During the year 2001, 31% of officers moved. During 2002 only 25% moved, and in 2003 23% have moved.

We’re looking at reasons for moves, and hoping to better address the issues involved. In evaluating the recent June move, for example, we estimated that 14% were initiated by THQ, 55% initiated by the command head, 7% related to mission priority changes (ethnic needs, missionary needs, mission team ministry needs) and 24% were initiated by the officer or location.

Officer initiated moves are not always a bad thing, but include a variety of reasons such as soldier or advisory board request, health or family issues (timing of children in school, aging parents, marriages), candidate spouse, or some type of breakdown in the officer/appointment match.

This means on a positive note related to stability, 77% of the officers remained in their appointments. We must be careful, however, that in a desire to build relationships and stability we do not become tied to a formula and stifle some appropriate deployment of the right people at the right time to the right place.

That is why we pray seriously about each one of these opportunities, and give consideration over a six-month period to allow God to work through the deliberations.

I know you’re thinking….“Major Seiler, that and better will do”…and we will!

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