The World for God
I love The Salvation Army Yearbook. Many of my friends tease me for my over-excitement at receiving a Yearbook on my desk. For those of you who have not yet experienced this gem, the Yearbook is a publication which includes statistics, details of programs and success stories from The Salvation Army worldwide. It is a snapshot of The Army’s international mission in action. In a turbulent time for the Army, a quick flick through this book provides a much-needed hope and joy at the work being accomplished by the Army in God’s name across the world.
However, the Yearbook is not simply a piece of Salvation Army propaganda – a “feel good” reference for those of us who need a boost. The reason I love it is because it is a report on what is actually happening around the world. It is a testament to the sacrifice and effort being put in by Officers, Soldiers and workers across the world, who are doing their part in bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth. It is the story of how God is using The Salvation Army today.
The Salvation Army is currently active in 126 countries across the world. From Angola to Zimbabwe, there are Corps, programs, outposts and advocacy efforts that are declaring the love of God on a daily basis. Additionally, The Salvation Army has been engaged at The United Nations since 1947, and is currently active there through its International Social Justice Commission.
The motto for the 2013 Self Denial Appeal was ‘Local Corps, Global Mission’. It is on this premise that The Salvation Army has operated throughout its existence. Our global organisation is made up of local engagements in thousands of communities.
The programs and efforts that you take part in at your local Corps are contributing to the global mission of The Salvation Army. The Sunday School class that you teach, the rough sleepers’ ministry that you do each week, the chaplaincy program that you take part in, the disaster relief soup kitchen that you help at, the Corps band in which you play – all of these are contributing to God’s global mission for The Salvation Army.
This ‘Local Corps, Global mission’ idea is the very thinking behind the existence of Territories and Divisions – our operations simply became too big to handle through one central office – Praise God! The model of operating locally towards a global mission is a great one, and it puts The Salvation Army in a very unique position.
We live in a world that is shrinking by the minute. Globalization, technology and an increasingly vigilant media have made access to information about countries other than one’s own much more available. Interactions between governments, and therefore countries, occur at a much more rapid and active pace than ever before, and as a result, it is sometimes difficult for people to keep up with the goings on of not only their own country, but in the rest of the world. This constant inflow of information can become overwhelming, and at times, the world simply seems too big – as if there are too many people in need for one person to be able to make any real impact.
Praise God that we are not in this on our own. He has raised up hundreds of thousands of individuals to do their part, through The Salvation Army, at achieving His global mission. Bit by bit, our little efforts contribute to God’s greater mission in His world.
When Evangeline Booth wrote the words, “The World for God”, she was referring purely to the world of which she was aware. “The world” and our knowledge of it have expanded much since then, yet God has continued to raise up Salvationists to reach the growing need.
Today, in 2015, let us not forget that to which God is calling us. Let us all declare as individuals, “The world for God! I’ll give my heart, I’ll do my part; the world for God!”.
*The Salvation Army Yearbook is available through Salvationist Supplies