Needhams Installed; Begin Western Service
Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards, territorial leaders of the Army’s work in the West, installed Colonels Philip and Keitha Needham as territorial chief secretary and territorial secretary, women’s organizations. “God has provided leaders,” Edwards said in recognizing the Needhams. “He will empower you in your new responsibilities. Look at the people. I charge you to preach the Word, to stand by the flag, to help raise officer candidates, to minister to the needy and to administer the work of the Salvation Army in the West.”
Commissioner Doreen Ed-wards offered a dedicatory prayer and asked God to bless their ministry–“a ministry to build God’s Kingdom.”
Both Needhams responded in a very warm and open manner that immediately bonded them to the audience. They noted that they felt very much at home, and those present felt that same connection with them.
Needham noted the great affection he felt for the Edwards who served for several years with his father, Commissioner John Needham, when he was territorial commander for the Caribbean Territory. He also noted the image of the West held by many throughout the world. “The West has a reputation for being on the cutting edge, and it’s wonderful to be a part of strategies for change.” He then noted the importance of a personal vision being even more important than a corporate vision and key to our success. “I’m talking about what God has given you–your life, what you do, what you are becoming.
“What is God’s vision for you?” he asked. “Your life won’t come together until you discover it. Some have, but many haven’t. They move through life without focus–without any sense of what God wants them to be.
“In the Army we talk of a ‘calling.’ It has referred primarily to officers. That’s disturbing. All vocations are potentially a calling. If you are struggling in finding it–get a vision. Ask God to show you your future. Your personal vision defines your calling. No officer is called to officership alone. We are called to a ministry.”
He urged his listeners to discover their vision by starting with what they currently have, and then identified criteria to assess the quality and direction of the vision. They are:
1.Who benefits if your vision becomes a reality? If it’s you, the vision doesn’t come from God; 2. What kind of deep change will the vision require of you? If it doesn’t require radical transformation, it’s not from God; 3. Whose vision is it? Sometimes we get confused because there are so many loud voices in our lives; 4. Whose counsel should I seek first? Start with the Holy Spirit, and then recognize that he has many helpers available to us–mentors, pastors, those sent your way as guides; 5. What will your vision cost you, and are you willing to pay the price?