Vision for mission

Commissioning 2006

The Visionaries—commissioned and ordained


Clockwise from top: The Visionaries sing the session song during the service of appointments. Valedictorian Daisy Darnell speaks during commencement. A drama team from the Golden State Division performs during Windows of the World. Special guest Commissioner Earle Maxwell speaks on vision.

On Sunday morning, the music of the Seattle Temple Band swept through the hushed auditorium of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, furthering the transformation of this venue into a chapel housing the Holy Spirit.

Lt. Colonel Donald C. Bell, chief secretary, welcomed those assembled and led the opening song, “We Have Caught the Vision Splendid.”

To increase their knowledge of this service, the congregation viewed a video, The Meaning of a Commissioning Service, with text written by Training Principal Major Donald Hostetler. Those present learned that as they observe these cadets being ordained as ministers and commissioned as captains, they are a witness to the trust The Salvation Army has bestowed upon the cadets to enter a mission partnership and build God’s kingdom. Having proven themselves worthy of that trust over their 21 months of training, the cadets now stand prepared to be dispatched to accomplish a specific witness for God as a Salvation Army officer. They have been obedient to God’s call, studied and trained diligently, and, in a private ceremony witnessed by the territorial commander and the training principal, signed a covenant affirming their dedication to the mission—the salvation of the lost their first priority. It is a sober and holy occasion.

Led by Hostetler, the assembly sang the chorus, “All There is of Me, Lord,” prior to the entrance of the Visionaries Session, who proceeded to the stage in a stately procession, following the Army flag. In opening prayers—Major Charleen Bradley in English and Lt. Colonel Alicia Burger in Spanish—thanks were given to God for this time of worship and dedication.

A cadet team led the audience in praise and worship, offering the songs “You Are My King,” “The Potter’s Hand,” and “He is Able.” Fifth-generation Salvationist Cadet Terrence Masango then came forward with his testimony, telling of his difficulties growing up in Zimbabwe with an alcoholic father, of the life-changing, life-saving invitation of a friend to a Christian camp, and of his resistance and final surrender to God’s call to officership. Applause and cheers greeted his vision to go forth “to preach the gospel—with passion and urgency.” (Full text in the June 11, 2006 New Frontier, Vol. 24 No. 11.)

The congregation viewed a second film on the significance of the ordination service; it continues an apostolic tradition—unbroken from the first church until the present—of ordaining ministers of the gospel. Ordination is a lifelong covenant; the affirmation of the entire church is symbolized through the laying on of hands.

At last, the cadets stood, poised on the future, ready to fulfill their promise. Hostetler commended them to Commissioner Swyers. They recited The Salvation Army doctrines, and in an expression of faith to their territorial commander they vowed to maintain these truths. Swyers exhorted them “to walk worthy of Christ, to uphold holiness, to let God’s light shine so that others may see Jesus in you.” He reminded them, “When God empowers you, he will never leave you,” and urged them to fight a good fight and finish the course; to exemplify, “Jesus, thou art everything to me.”

After Cadet Marcos Marquez Conley sang “Love,” with Irene Lewis (director, Los Angeles Red Shield) performing interpretive dance, the cadets stood, and each individual or married couple, in turn, came forward to center stage and knelt before the holiness table. During this time of prayer, as the intensity filled the room, tears were shed and the Holy Spirit was near. The commissioner placed his hands on each cadet, stating, “I commission you and ordain you as a minister of Christ in The Salvation Army. You will be his servant with the rank of captain and our prayer is that Christ will be seen in you. May you, like Peter, hold your calling like a piece of gold and refine it every day.”

After rising from the altar, they stood with the Swyers, and Commissioner Patricia Swyers read to the cadets the Scripture each had chosen; Commissioner Philip Swyers followed with words of encouragement.

Once the final cadet was ordained and commissioned, the session stood and sang their song of dedication, “Give me a Vision.” Commissioner Wilma Maxwell offered a prayer of dedication and the Seattle Temple Band performed an arrangement of “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

In his message, Commissioner Earle Maxwell spoke on vision and mission, and the ascension of Jesus. To his 11 remaining disciples, Jesus presented the vision of the mission of taking the gospel to the world—a global vision. Maxwell reminded all present that vision and mission belong to every Christian, and said, “Human spirit fails unless the Holy Spirit fills.” He queried, “Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit? Do we need to wait for the will of the Father?” And in conclusion, he urged, “May God equip us all this Sunday morning as we wait upon him.”

In a time of commitment, the new captains joined their families and loved ones in the auditorium for a time of prayer and praise.

Candidates’ Secretary Major Nancy Dihle then invited accepted candidates, potential candidates, and those hearing God’s call to officership to join her—the stage filled, end-to-end, with future Salvation Army officers.

Commissioner Patricia Swyers prayed over them, and for those hearing, but not yet heeding, God’s call.

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