Our Territory has a renewed vision for how we deliver and support our mission. Launched by Territorial Commander Commissioner Clive Adams at Social Services Conference — and by corps officers on Sunday 22 March — this new strategy, called Transformational Mission, outlines four priorities to focus all decision-making and unite all expressions of our movement.
The four priorities of the strategy are Transformation, Integration, Discipleship and Effectiveness, which spell TIDE:
· We will commit to Transformation, ensuring life in all its fullness for people and communities is the aim of everything we are and do
· We will commit to Integration, engaging the whole of the Army to reach the whole of the person through the whole of our mission
· We will commit to Discipleship, equipping and inspiring people to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ
· We will commit to Effectiveness in being fit for the delivery and support of God’s mission.
This is a truly shared vision and was born out of talking together to take a fresh look at how we deliver and support our core ministry to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity. We engaged with leaders at every level, met with the Territory in regions for discussions, and conducted The Great Mission Conversation — and from the responses identified the priorities for mission.
The new strategy is the first complete outcome of the Fit for Mission (FFM) process. Launched in November 2012 by the then Territorial Commander, Commissioner — now General — André Cox, the importance of mission strategy as the foundation for FFM was clear from the beginning of the journey. Strategy existed but the Army needed a common focus for mission and an all-encompassing strategic plan that would be a foundation for the Territory’s future mission.
We now have a renewed focus on the ‘how’ of our (unchanged!) mission, which is to bring honour and glory to God by engaging in mission that will transform us and bring about transformation in ourselves and in our communities. TIDE is a framework we are urging you to use as you seek inspiration from our loving Father, sending Saviour and empowering Spirit.
Transformation requires that we place community at the heart of mission; provide spiritual transformation in every expression of mission; and seek to develop people and communities to attain their full potential.
John Gowans wrote: ‘I believe in transformation, God can change the heart of man.’ Dealing with a person’s immediate physical need creates the space for God’s grace to operate, because only his transforming power can change the heart, recreate, restore and bring life in all its fullness for people and communities.
Regardless of the activity or programme, if we believe in the transforming power of Jesus this means allowing time and space in our ministry for relationships to develop. Jesus helped people and then shared life with them — often over a meal — and the forming of a relationship led to a transformation.
General Linda Bond cast a vision of ‘One Army, with one Mission, proclaiming one Message’ and we need each other to deliver the holistic mission of the Army. Integration means moving deliberately from independence to interdependence — acknowledging that no individual or single expression of Army life has all the resources, gifts and skills that are needed for effective mission. Take the initiative! Reach out and make connections, rather than putting the onus on others.
Being integrated outwards means every expression of the Army coming together in local areas working in mission focus groups — supporting each other, working together, listening to and learning from each other to address issues and to seize opportunities for mission. Let’s be integrated inwards as a family, ensuring each part does not operate independently but that we develop community together through pastoral, practical and missional support to each other.
When FFM analysed the responses from the Great Mission Conversation, the issue that surpassed every other response was discipleship. People said that, whatever else we do, we must get back to the call of Jesus for every disciple to ‘follow me’.
As believers, we know that if we think we’ve arrived we’ve reached the wrong destination! Discipleship is transformation lived out in our everyday as a testimony to the initial, ongoing and ultimate transforming power of Jesus. Our connection with Jesus can only happen through a strong devotional life, sound relationships and active kingdom service. Let’s be intentional in spending quality time with people to talk about their lives and spiritual journey.
Yes, we are an Army, and we need soldiers but it is not simply to persist with a symbol about our understanding of church. Soldiership is a radical expression of discipleship, which in turn is a radical commitment to Jesus Christ. Modelling a better way — living out the transformation we advocate and preach — then we are glorifying God’s name.
Being fit for the mission of God is both for individuals and for every aspect of the Army to consider. Effectiveness involves using our resources wisely and building a culture of involvement to empower each other and to hold each other accountable. We need to mobilise and equip people to live radically transformed lives that can actually change the world, starting with ourselves, our family, our friends, our neighbourhoods, our local community, and beyond.
Transformational Mission booklets and pocket-sized versions, for everyone to carry around as a constant reminder, are available to download and in print from your local corps or centre.
As we prayerfully align ourselves with God's purposes for the Army, let’s unite around this strategy. Help us place God at the centre of all we are and all we do, so that we are truly a movement that is mobilised, energised and Fit for Mission.
Working together, let’s make this happen!