Rader energizes NTS delegates
Excerpts from the keynote address by General Paul A. Rader (Ret.)
Salvationists are a company of the called… a call to belong to Jesus Christ; a call to holiness; a call to unity, a call to missionary obedience….one cannot understand the meaning of a call to officership apart from an awareness that it is set within that larger understanding of our response to the Gospel call.
Affirming Our Unity––our Oneness in Christ
We have been called to participate in the life of the one Body, made alive by the one Spirit, living under the sovereignty of one Lord, in the obedience of the one Faith. This unity…is organic…vital… interdependent…interactive… not static. It is growing and flourishing by love. And it is functional––as ‘each part does its work.’
Embracing Our Diversity
The colorful diversity of the Body of Christ is a gift of his grace…Cadet bodies have never been more diverse. Nor has there ever been a greater need for the range of backgrounds, experience, training, and gifting they represent if the Army is to fulfill its global mission….All of this is part of the emerging reality we are called to engage.
Engaging the Emerging Reality
Here are some salient features of the emerging future as I see it.
Increasing diversity… increasingly complex social reality…heightend levels of public scrutiny and accountability…
Families under fire–The need to enable cadets to model strong families has never been more critical, learning to build strong families and husband-wife relationships on the basis of transparency, integrity, commitment to the relationship, a willingness to share more equally the responsibilities of home and family, and a readiness to pray together and with one’s children…
Legacies less available …the ‘marinating’ of cadets new to the Army in Salvationist juices 24/7 in the residential training format may be more important than ever.
The emerging age is the EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image-oriented and Interactive, and Communal) age (Soul Tsunami by Len Sweet)….Effective training will require more creativity and risk-taking than ever before.
Priority of recruiting highly qualified cadets …all officers must be prepared to undertake a lifetime of disciplined learning, giving the accelerating pace of change in our culture.
Growing acceptance of our ecclesial identity, function and mission–to the people we serve, we are the church…an authentic expression of the New Testament concept of the church in mission.
Carpe Manana, Carpe Occasium–We have credibility… name recognition and a remarkable reputation…How important it is that cadets come to value their identity as officers…the uniform identifies us with the Body of Christ and that evangelical part of the universal Christian Church which is The Salvation Army.
We must not lose sight of our primary mission to the least and the lost…
Facing a Daunting Enemy
If ever there was a time when we need to be a people of prayer, it is now… prayer that flows out of genuine worship and a fresh revelation of the Lord Christ whom we serve.
Claiming Certain Victory
Whatever else we give the cadets as we prepare to launch them on the trajectory of God’s purpose in mission in the emerging age, we must set them aflame with this vision––a vision of our risen, reigning and one day returning Lord. They need to know with clarity and conviction whom they are working for and what they are working for. Then they will know and experience the wonder and working of him who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…Amen.”