Guests in the West
Raders, former international leaders, say they are pressing on.
By Bob Docter –
Ahead of their appearance in the Western Territory as special guests of the 2014 Commissioning events, General Paul Rader (Ret.) and Commissioner Kay Rader, spoke to New Frontier Chronicle.
The Raders served as USA Western Territorial Leaders from 1989-1994, until the High Council elected Paul Rader as the Army’s international leader. He served as General and she as World President of Women’s Ministries from 1994-1999, when the pair retired.
Upon leaving the office of General, the Asbury College Board of Trustees named Rader college president and he served for six years.
Since 2005, the Raders have continued to share their lives with the Army world.
In current days, Rader said his energy is consumed by “our own corps.” The pair also receives invitations to speak at events and conferences. They have ministered in all four American territories, as well as Australia, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Indonesia and Korea.
Early in the Raders’ officership, the pair served in Korea for 22 years. They have since traveled back several times and have visited North Korea on three occasions. Their efforts include work in conjunction with Christian Friends of Korea an agency raising $5 million a year in support of humanitarian aid for the people of North Korea. Teams work with the Ministry of Public Health, and check on the distribution of the aid in order to guarantee that it goes where intended.
Last November Rader traveled to China to visit Shanghai and Nanking in conjunction with the China Christian Council. “Do you realize that there are 100 million Christians in China?” he asked, noting that the “house church” movement is a major factor in facilitating this growth, but that the China Christian Council of churches are also flourishing.
“Around the world the Army enjoys unlimited opportunities. We now have access we’ve never had before,” he said. “Money can drive and also can silence our work. We must maintain our integrity.”
Kay Rader, who serves on the Academic Oversight Council of the Eastern Territory’s College for Officer Training, echoed a danger of feeling and thinking “entitled” over seeing our work as a “privilege.”
“We have a mission to fulfill,” she said. “We’re blessed with aspects of worship and tradition that seem to be coming more submerged. Whatever became of testimonies in our services? What happened to our street meetings—our open airs? Sometimes I fear we’re slipping away from our Wesleyan faith.”
Paul Rader said he believes that The Salvation Army is doing well in “serving suffering humanity,” but said, “we all know we need to focus more intentionally on growing saints.”
“People want to belong to something,” Kay Rader echoed. “We can serve that purpose.” She expressed concern about rigidity as a practice that inhibits membership. “Catherine (Booth) certainly wasn’t rigid,” she said. “Let’s let people be comfortable. We don’t exist for ourselves, we exist for others.”
Paul Rader said, “We believe in the Army and its mission. And we are pressing the battle around the world through God’s grace. Praise God, we’re pressing on.”