Peacock Reports On Territorial Visioning Process
by Lt. Colonel Raymond L. Peacock –
Admit it. You either had a child or knew one who, shortly after the journey began, asked “Are we there yet?” Or, “How much longer until we get there?” You know, its the same with the territorial Visioning Process now going on across the territory. We’ve just begun the journey, but there are those who want to know if we are at journeys end yet. No, we are not. But I suspect, you would like to know where we are in the process.
Elsewhere in this issue you can read about the divisional Visioning Rallies that launched the visioning process before Christmas. In the first two months of 1999, all corps/centers are encouraged to conduct four meetings with their selected corps/center visioning team. These meetings are in actuality four simple steps toward developing your corps vision statement. The four meetings will launch, build, refine and finalize two reports: a vision statement report form and a form that tells how headquarters can help implement your corps/center vision.
Those two one-page forms are due at divisional/command headquarters by March 1. Your corps officer or center administrator should share those reports with all soldiers and interested friends via a corps celebration rally or newsletter.
During March and April, your corps/center vision statement begins a journey. It will go first to your divisional or command headquarters, where it will be combined with other corps/center vision statements into a divisional or command vision statement. Then, in May and June, the 10 divisions and two command vision statements will be combined into one draft territorial Vision Statement by the territorial Guiding Coalition. That statement will be reviewed by territorial administration and a final version will be shared with all officers, soldiers and friends of the territory in the fall.
During the months of May through September what will be happening on the corps/center front lines? You will be moving into phase two of the visioning process. Phase one was “vision casting” Phase two is “mission alignment.” Essentially, this is dialogue between your corps/center and headquarters regarding how your vision can be strengthened and how it aligns with Army distinctives, plus the viewing of a Bill Hybels video titled “Turning Vision Into Action.” This consultation, and opportunity to view this video, will partially fulfill the promise made in the Vision Discovery Kit provided to each corps/center that “you can anticipate receiving additional help to implement your vision. In the months ahead, your leaders will provide resources to help you put a plan into action.”
Further fulfilling that promise of additional help will be an action plan kit that will be provided to every corps/center in the fall. That kit will launch the front lines into phase three of the visioning process, goal setting and strategic planning. This kit will prepare the way for phase four, “turning vision into action,” or the implementation of vision phase.
By the time you read this article, your divisional and command leaders will have met with cabinet for the Territorial Executive Conference. Your leaders are integrally involved in the vision process. Each of the foregoing steps have been discussed with them. Their input has been sought and frequently resulted in amendment of the process. Their expertise and insight is valued. The fact that they are listening to the soldiers on the front lines is recognized. There is an awareness that this process is primarily about strengthening the front lines.
If you have followed the timeline thus far, you see we have projected action into the fall of ’99. It would be reasonable to expect that each corps will eventually have an action plan to be implemented covering 2000 and Beyond. That action plan will be uniquely suited to each corps. The action plan will no doubt cover the first five years of the new millennium, maybe even ten. On the Way to Where? We are on the way to creating an action plan uniquely suited to each and every corps in the territory: an action plan that is designed, constructed, owned, implemented by and prayed for by the soldiers of the corps.
In the aforementioned Bill Hybels video he says, “There is only one thing more exciting than clarifying and casting a God honoring vision. It is achieving and turning that vision into action.” He mentions that without an achievable destination, noticeable progress, the troops can only stay fired up so long. When we begin to ask are we making progress, we come to a defining moment. I truly hope that is happening at your corps. I hope you are approaching the defining moment when the necessary vision and action to go forward is becoming clearer and clearer.
I think a few recent words from our former General, Eva Burrows (R), may be helpful as we move towards our defining moments and eventual destinations. She reminds, “Every organization has a tendency to lose its initial thrust; to run down like a mechanical toy. So, for movements and people, there is the need for periodic renewal–and the Army is going through that now. The Holy Spirit is enabling us to face the reality of renewed mission in this fast-changing world, to be energized, to grasp and do the new things he wants us to do.”
Burrows goes on to say: “We don’t have to be afraid, or pessimistic. When you look at the Army in comparison with other denominations and para-church groups, ask yourself:
- Who has wider experience in proclaiming the gospel and serving with compassion?
- Who has so closely knit and highly disciplined a movement?
- Who has so high a credibility and holds the confidence of the public?
- Who has so broad a mandate for mission as The Salvation Army–an Army God can use in this global age?”
No, we are not there yet! But,we are on a journey to define just where God will lead us in 2000 and beyond.