PERSONAL REFLECTION

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Burnout, change and humility

by NATHAN KIRBY – 

New Frontier continues to provide thought-provoking and challenging columns by officers and soldiers. In “Quest for Humility” Major Doss says, “Those who consider themselves humble, usually aren’t; and those who think themselves arrogant are often the only humble people in the room!” During my “recovery” from possible “burnout” from seven years as a soldier then “drop-out”(! ) I think back to my joyful days as a soldier—always being ready to volunteer at my local corps while observing the inevitable turnover of officers each summer. Each new officer felt he had to change something in the way the corps operates. Soldiers would ask why is this being changed? The answer came, “Because that is the way the Major wants it done.” End of discussion! Of course, the Major always being right would never have anything to do with arrogance. No sir! No way!

I hope officers do read this column and maybe think twice before making arbitrary and even capricious changes just as soon as they take over a new command. If they don’t desire to “think twice” but rush headlong into changes then I hope they at least consider trying to discuss the changes with soldiers first and give good reasons for making changes. Maybe they could have truly open minds and truly listen to input from soldiers in their corps. I sometimes wonder if any officer in The Salvation Army remotely considers himself “arrogant” or admits maybe they can do something arbitrary or capricious. The Army command at all levels should meditate on whether it is “in toto” arrogant when it devalues input or suggestions from soldiers. Then the Salvation Army command (corps, division, and territory) wonders why it is so difficult to find soldiers, much less those who are “ready and eager” to volunteer for local ministries. Could it be that soldiers soon find The Salvation Army has little value for the intelligence, dedication, or ideas of soldiers and they decide to “drop out” or just “move on” to other churches?


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