Strickland Responds for Session Mates
by Cadet Derek Strickland –
(Ed note: The following is taken from Strickland’s speech at the Welcome of Cadets.)
Forward 2000…30 cadets embodying the newest session for officer training in the West. We are comprised of accountants, service personnel, youth workers, managers, former officers, business people and students. You will find a mix of cadets new to the Army and those who have spent their lifetime growing up in it. God has built our multi-talented and multi-cultural session to serve in the years to come.
Forward 2000. What a name! Call it vague, bland, trendy, worldly, even un-biblical. We feel somewhat severed from the rich tradition of other sessions that have gone before us. This first impression however, changes upon a deeper reflection of our one-of-a-kind name. We are not just followers, guardians, proclaimers, builders, messengers, ambassadors, intercessors, warriors, or crusaders. We encompass ALL of these as we press forward with our hearts to God and our hands to man, saving souls for Jesus Christ. We go forward with vision to save this dying world.
We, the Forward 2000 Session, must be ready to minister to this confused, lost, and hopeless world. We are motivated by Paul’s instructions in Philippians 3:14 “I (we) press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me (us) heavenward in Christ Jesus.” As officers, we must be ready and willing to be missionaries to our communities, able to meet the needs of our those around us–just as we’ve done over the last 133 years.
We must not forget the path that our predecessors have carved into this hardened world. Deuteronomy 21 verse 5 says “The priests, the sons of Levi, shall step forward, for the LORD your God has chosen them to minister and to pronounce blessings in the name of the LORD.” We must follow their footsteps and eventually carve a new path into this hardened world. We cannot forget the sacrifices that other officers have made. I pray that we never lose the desire to constantly seek God’s perfect plan for our lives. We need to continue our learning after we have left these halls and always maintain a teachable spirit. We must never forget or lose sight of our commitment to holiness. As officers, we shall step forward, marching with the Army into the next millennium to save the lost.
I leave you with this charge from our Founder William Booth; “If, my comrades, you are not satisfied as to the call of Jehovah–not sure what he wants you to do in the matter–go and deliberate, consider, inquire, pray, but, when the light has come, and you see clearly the Divine will and the guiding hand, cease inquiring–the time for asking questions has gone by, and the hour of action has arrived. Away to your post.” We, the Forward 2000 Session, are ready to serve God and The Salvation Army.