Saunders resists change recommendations

dialogue on changeTo the editor:

I was amazed, encouraged and disappointed when I read the various views on the officer survey in the June 2, 2000 issue of New Frontier. I was especially concerned regarding survey questions #8 and #18, which discussed the lifelong covenant officers are required to make, and asked officers to consider the benefits of short term officership.

[Someone making] a lifelong commitment in service to God as a Salvation Army officer is going to be diametrically opposed to considering the value of offering candidates and officers the option of short term officership. While short term contracts are both acceptable and practical to meet the needs of the employee and the secular business or company, it does not seem to me to be compatible with the biblical concept of dedication to God. What works for Microsoft does not necessarily work for ministry. When something is given to God, it should then cease to be “in our control,” it should be his to use as he sees fit. If not, we are not offering a sacrifice to God, we are merely offering a loan.

What we are talking about is a commitment that is supposed to be sacred…As Christians, we are against couples “living together” for many reasons, but isn’t that what short term officership is being likened to?

I realize, of course, that marriages break up, just as commitments to officership break up. However, I can’t help but think that these individual situations should continue to be dealt with on an individual basis, rather than offering a carte blanche easy-out policy prior to entering into the “relationship.”

There are times and places where the Army could and should benefit from short term contract ministry, but let us call it just that–contract ministry!…The calling of God should not be diminished to the lowest common denominator, but always be reaching towards “our utmost for his highest.”

In response to the suggestion of “cadet loans based on cost of education”–that diminishes ministry even further down to indentured service. Because you educated me, I owe you five years service, and if I don’t comply you will make me pay you back? Which army are we talking about, Salvation or US?

When God called me to serve him, he asked for all of me–not just in the spiritual or physical sense, but also in the temporal sense. He took me with all my past, all my present, but he also asked for all of my future. I gave it freely to him. He called me to serve in The Salvation Army my entire life as an officer. I have to say that even back then, lay ministry sounded ap-pealing, but I knew that was NOT what God meant for me.

Those who have answered the call to officership, with a lifelong commitment, have burned their bridges. We have sold our homes, we have packed away our certificates, our diplomas, our “network of connections.” We have turned down this road humming the tune, “I’ll not turn back…”When considering my needs, please remember that I am not an employee, I am not a temp, I am not an indentured servant, I am not a loan. I am an officer, and I am his FOREVER.

Leticia Adams Saunders, Captain
Dunstable Corps
United Kingdom

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