Sink the Complacency, Raise the Urgency…
by Lt. Colonel Raymond Peacock –
Our Army stands at the threshold of a new millennium. Alvin Tofler, futurist and author, calls the span from 1950 to 2025 “the hinge of history.” Another labels the coming millennium as the “cosmic divide.” Russell Chandler reminds us that the 21st century actually begins December 31, 2000, but goes on to predict the hearty party will be on New Year’s Eve 1999, one year earlier. Precisionists will await 200l while those who party will celebrate the new millennium on January 1, 2000.
Jesus often identified with and told his best stories about those who came to the party. One of my favorites is the story of the dinner party found in Luke 14:15-24. In The Message it begins with a response from a dinner guest who determines, “How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!” Jesus followed up, “Yes, for there was once a man who threw a great party and invited many.”
You know this story about the dinner party well enough to know that many given invitations were complacent about accepting them. Their property, possessions and priorities were more important. The master who issued the invitation was outraged and told his servant to go out to the city streets and alleys and issue invitations to the misfits and homeless, and when that wasn’t enough he said go out to the country roads and drag them in. “I want my house full!” His invitation was pregnant with urgency.
Of course, we know Jesus was talking about God’s house, God’s party. God extends invitations to the whosoever so that his house might be full. He is not pleased at those who are complacent about the invitations and always seeks those who understand the urgency of acceptance. Note the invitation is extended through his servants who go out into the highways and byways to urge and invite individuals to the party.
The Western Territory has just launched a visioning process to seek the mind of God for our Army in the year 2000 and beyond. By the time you read these words, many of you will have attended a divisional visioning rally. At that rally, the corps visioning discovery kit was unpacked and the visioning process explained. This kit is designed to help your corps sharpen the focus for its ministry in the years to come. It was developed by David Schmidt and Associates following a year of dialogue and surveys of officers and soldiers across the territory.
The corps vision discovery kit is the finest tool to be placed in the hands of corps officers and soldiers that I have seen in my 35 years as an officer. But, hey, don’t take my word for it. Sink your complacency and find out for yourself. Since your corps needs to complete the visioning exercise by March lst, it is urgent that you ask your corps officer about this discovery opportunity now.
Speaking further of urgency, we cannot be complacent about what our territorial survey taken last spring revealed. For instance:
- Our average corps in the Western Territory has only 45 in Sunday meetings.
- Half our corps are not providing organized training to build disciples.
- Half our officers say their corps has plateaued or is dwindling in size.
Urgency is often increased by crisis or opportunity. It is likely your corps is experiencing both. To my thinking, every corps’ greatest opportunity just now is to engage the visioning process. Open those vision discovery kits and you will find it helps you ask and answer the hard questions like the following: Where do we go next as a corps? What should we be doing to minister more effectively? What are we doing that is non-productive and should be changed? How can we grow our corps in the years ahead? What can I share with divisional and territorial leaders that will help them serve me and my corps more effectively?
The future of our corps, our Army, depends on answering these questions as well as the big question, are we being faithful servants and urging everyone we can to accept God’s invitation? Remember, he wants a full house. If this interests you at all, it is urgent that you inquire now about the corps visioning party being held soon at your corps. Don’t stay at home on this one. You come to the party. The future of your corps depends on your doing so.