Top-Down Is Out!
Mission2000 Seeks to
VISIONARIES– (l-r) Dr. J. David Schmidt, Commissioner David Edwards and Captain Donna Ames visit prior to Schmidt’s presentation at the conference.
by Robert Docter –
In a dramatic challenge to those committed to The Salvation Army as a valuable, vital, dynamic and daring arm of the Christian church, the MISSION2000 Council in conjunction with territorial leaders has set in motion a plan whereby local units, corps and social service centers will have significantly greater control of their own destiny. In pursuing MISSION2000 goals, servant leadership will emerge to increase grass roots power, foster positive change, and facilitate the process of “re-inventing The Salvation Army” for the next century.
In summarizing the total experience for himself, Dr. Jack Anderson, council member from Pasadena Tabernacle, stated: “This was a wonderful day of sharing ideas about visioning for the future. What qualities will the corps officer of tomorrow possess? It felt like the Commissioner and staff really wanted to know what officers and soldiers are thinking.”
With all 50 council members reading the MISSION2000 vision statements aloud, Commissioner David Edwards, territorial commander, strongly articulated his commitment to this vision as entirely fitting his core beliefs and challenged the entire territory to examine these statements. He emphasized the final statement, which reads: We will know that MISSION2000 has been accomplished when the Salvationists of the Western Territory are seeking the mind of God for 20/20 VISION. The momentum of MISSION2000 will be projected over the first two decades of the 21st century into Kingdom-building ventures that are visible to the eyes of faith.
Edwards also emphasized the importance of beginning with a total assessment of the current “state of the territory.” He stated: “In order to build credibility with the grassroots–with the attendees, soldiers and officers in the field, we must have an objective survey in which everyone is involved. This survey will help each corps, each division and the territory understand themselves–who they are, what they believe, how they worship, what they give, to whom they minister. It is from these data that each local unit will begin their own visioning process for the development of the Kingdom where they live and work.”
Edwards then noted that once a corps, a division and the entire territory has a sense of their current situation — once they know where they are, they can begin the process of determining where they want to go next. This, he stated, is the visioning process. It focuses on goals and direction, and it is a very local question. The third step, after knowing where we are currently and determining where we want to go, is to examine how we want to get there. We will by then have insight into ourselves, we will have a focus on self-set goals, and now we can assemble our strengths and focus on the means to achieve the ends.
Edwards also reminded everyone that while we can’t predict what the world will be like in the year 2020, we can examine trend lines and change factors as well as the thinking of futurist scholars concerned with the church. He announced plans to initiate a “guiding coalition” to coordinate the campaign as well as a group to explore future issues and societal changes which could impact the Army in its ability to fulfill its mission.
Lt. Colonel Ray Peacock, program secretary, provided a historic look at the MISSION2000 campaign beginning with the challenge by General Eva Burrows, the Army’s international leader at the time. She urged the territories of the world to push for growth. He reminded the group that much of the early goals of the campaign were quantitative. Without sacrificing our desire to grow numerically, Peacock reiterated Edward’s desire to move toward qualitative goals which will institutionalize a continuing process of change and renewal for the territory.
He then called on Captain Donna Ames, territorial evangelism/cross cultural and adult programs secretary, to introduce a new phase of MISSION2000 which will be available to corps for immediate use and which Edwards has stressed. It pertained to an extension of the campaign from the PEOPLE COUNT phase to what will be termed DISCIPLES COUNT. Ames noted that “the great commission is not simply to win souls for Christ, but to make them disciples. It is a biblical priority,” she emphasized. “It is not a new program. It is a continuing extension of the entire MISSION2000 effort as we work toward the never ending cycle of finding, winning, and discipling new converts.”
Peacock echoed a theme also stressed by delegates during the weekend concerning the absolute goal of spiritual renewal. He urged delegates to stimulate the “prayer partner” program coordinated by Lt. Colonels Mervyn and Shirley Morelock. “We need to present the claims of Christ, ” Peacock said, “and we need his help in doing it. That comes with continuing prayer for souls, for our corps, for our officers and leaders, for the Army worldwide. This is a vital element.”
Edwards stated: “I pray that the people of the Territory will experience the power of prayer–that people will have a desire to pray, a passionate desire to know God, to search for him, to open their lives to him, to fall in love with him.”
Lt. Fred Kim of the San Francisco Korean Corps stated: “All other elements of this campaign should be supportive of the great commission. No matter what good things we do, unless we save the soul as Christ commanded, our calling and activities are meaningless. I praise God that He has allowed me to be here and recommit myself to my first love, to save others through Christ. Praise the Lord.”
Much of Saturday morning was spent with Dr. J. David Schmidt, a consultant in facilitating strategic planning in faith based organizations. Schmidt, who has also worked extensively with the Eastern Territory, explored The Visioning Process with the delegates.
The youthful and energetic son of a minister began by noting that “God wants to give us a sense of destiny.” Quoting A.W. Tozer, he said “God has set eternity in our hearts and we have chosen time instead. He is trying to interest us in a glorious tomorrow and we are settling for an inglorious today.” Schmidt then emphasized that organizations without a strong sense of vision, without a common mission, without a sense of destiny, die. “We must keep the vision. I’m bullish on the Army. I see some obstacles, but they are only there to be overcome.”
In examining the contributions and focus of MISSION2000 Schmidt stated: “You are doing exactly what ought to be done. The process brings strength.” Using the experience of the children of Israel in the desert as an example of organizational fatigue, he noted that “somewhere around years five to seven they got tired of the manna. They wanted chicken or something else and complained. We get that in campaigns around five to seven years old. But the goal of MISSION2000 is found in the process of glorifying God rather than in the achievement of a specific number.
Problems and Solutions
Schmidt also highlighted the point that “Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions.” In this regard he quoted Ecclesiastes 10:10: If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success. “How sharp is the ax here? How has it become dull? We seem to put out more energy, time and money when we use a dull ax. God wants to sharpen your ministry.” He told the story of visiting a church with his father which for many years had been dominated by rigid, older individuals unwilling to accept the need for change. As they left, his father said: “What this church needs is a few good funerals.”
Schmidt then stated: “There have been great solutions for problems of their day which have now become problems for this day. The world has changed. Many solutions of the past should be both celebrated and buried.”
Schmidt then examined the stages of developmental change which are evident as organizations mature. (See chart) Each stage emphasized to varying degrees aspects of (1) vision; (2) inclusion; (3) program; and (4) management. He noted that at birth an organization is heavily engaged in visioning with little emphasis on matters of inclusion, program or management. Inclusion, program and management are introduced into the process into organizational adulthood. Then, in organizational maturity, visioning begins to be reduced, then inclusion begins to disappear, then program until the only thing left is management. (l-r) Lt. Col. Raymond Peacock, Gordon Damant, and A/Captain Barbara Sloan discuss Council events.
“Is it possible to break free from this developmental cycle?” he asked. “Yes! New people bring new vision. It’s happening here in the corps of the West. All we have to do is teach them the visioning process that crosses the bridge to the future. (See chart) Knowing where we are now, and knowing where we want to go, we can figure out how to get there.
“What is vision?” he asked. “Great vision excites people to great things. It is challenging — it moves people to action. It is emotional — and generates enthusiasm and a desire for change. It is achievable — perceived as possible and manageable in two to three steps. It is focused and directs energy toward one clear outline.
“Why do we need vision?” Vision opens our minds and our hearts to God and his will for his Church and our part in it. Vision lifts our eyes from petty distractions. It lifts our spirits as we contemplate the possibilities of what might be. It binds us together and brings us into an alignment with each other.
Schmidt noted that the questions asked in the survey will provide profiles of growing corps and begin the process of providing ideas that seem to work in some settings. These ideas can then be tested in other corps settings. He emphasized that the process is both an extension of MISSION2000 and something new. He quoted Proverbs 24:3-4 as he began discussing aspects of survey research: Any enterprise is built through wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.
Concurring with Edwards’ strong emphasis on ownership of our goals with local determination of means, Schmidt noted that process really matters. “Two-thirds of the value in strategic planning is in the journey, in the process of discovering the future together.” Everyone will be involved in the process. This research is a census, not a sample.
Lt. Robert Marshall, Compton corps officer, said: “Perhaps the most meaningful thing coming from the MISSION2000 conference is the open dialogue focusing on the hard issues facing our Army today. We seemed to be of one mind in order to make the Army what it should be to bring glory to God.”
Where are we?
The first step — determining where we are through a survey of the entire territory. Questions for the survey will be submitted to MISSION2000 council members and will be based, in large part, on the products of their Saturday afternoon and evening discussions and reports. They looked at key concerns facing the Army today in six general areas. These are: (1) Spiritual Life; (2) Personnel; (3) Worship; (4) Youth; (5) Identity and Mission; (6) Corps Development. (Committee reports will appear in the next issue of New Frontier.)
Peacock led the assembled delegates in worship on Sunday morning around the theme: “Six Questions God Asks Every Visionary.” The first question: Where are you going? he drew from God’s interaction with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they had distanced themselves from God. “Christ said, ‘Follow me.’ If we are silent for a moment we will hear his voice.”
The second question God asks every visionary is What is in your hand? Here, Peacock drew on God’s interview with Moses as he called him to leadership. He underscored that God gives skills to each of us and we must be willing to use them for him.
The third question was What are you doing here? This is Elijah’s story found in 1Kings 19:9 when he took a hiatus after successfully defying the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. He had moved from the mountain top to the desert–from triumph to discouragement. He suffered from complete fatigue as he felt he carried the entire burden of relating his people of God. “Has organizational fatigue set in?” Peacock wondered. “If so, God says to you and to our Army–why are you here? You need my rest, my refreshment, yes, my revival.”
Fourth, God asks every visionary: What do you see? Here Peacock drew on verses from Zechariah 4. The angel asked him: “Are you awake? Do you see what is being revealed to you?” The angel answered concerning Zechariah’s concerns about re-building the temple: This is the word of Jehovah. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit. “It is through the spirit of God that our tasks will be accomplished,” Peacock said.
Fifth, God asks: Can these bones live? And here Peacock turned to Ezekiel 37 — the vision of the valley of dry bones. “It does not take genius to know that something is wrong in the Army today. While our Army stumbles into mediocrity, the world plunges deeper into sin. Yet there is hope. Dry bones can live again. We need to say ‘Lord, let it begin in me’.”
Sixth, God asks visionaries: Who will go for us? Here, Peacock read from Isaiah 6. This is a call for every person. The response of the visionary is: Here am I, Lord, Send me. “Who will go for God into tomorrow, into the future? Who will go for him into the haunts of sin and share facing this generation? Who not only sees the battle but sees, as well, the victory to be won.
“We are a Salvation Army. Our vision is getting people saved, keeping people saved, and getting other people saved. Your reaffirmation counts.”