A Conversation for those involved in the Salvation Army in Scotland - with a heart for mission!
Saturday, 2 November 2013
Commissioner Clive T Adams on Mission Scotland
Mission Scotland Weekend - Keynote Address (abridged) by Commissioner Clive T. Adams We are about transformation – the sinner to the saint… that is our mission. Mission Scotland is a process, which seeks to examine the practices, procedures, perceptions and parameters allowing the Army to be the ‘Army’. Mission is the reason for our existence. I want to remind you of three aspects of The Salvation Army's missional perspective: It is our Foundation - our heritage for our mission is grounded in our past. It is our Focus - our context for our mission is exercised in our present. It is our Future - our potential for our mission is motivated by a promising future”. 1. Our Foundation We need to value our heritage - our history gives us our grounding in and for mission... A. Our heritage provides us with our identity and, as a consequence, determines our activity, because who we are determines what we do. By all means, get rid of all traditionalism, but hold on tight to the traditions - the essence of whom we are as The Salvation Army. Yes, we are a needs-based movement, we respond to the challenges we see, we readily engage in the fight against sin and against society's evils and ills. Our history is a story of devotion to God and dependence upon God. We are a people of God - he motivates us for mission, he moves us to mission, he ministers through our mission. B. Our heritage gives us our theology. A theology which becomes the impetus for and basis of our mission. I want to remind you of three important elements regarding our theology. Firstly, it informs our values as a movement - Secondly, it affirms us as a sacramental movement. Our history confirms our belief in the immediacy of God's grace in and through the believer - our outstretched hands become his hands whenever we touch, and wash and heal in His name. Thirdly, it confirms the Army's ultimate message (yes, there's salvation for you!) to a world that is falling short of its own standards, a world that is constantly moving the goal-posts because it constantly misses the mark. 2. Our Focus We need to understand our context. We are surrounded by a host of "isms" - humanism, secularism, extremism, consumerism, radicalism, fundamentalism, relativism, post-modernism and post postmodernism. It's a world undergoing constant, and rapid change and it is hard to keep up. We are expected to do mission in a context where intolerance is often disguised as tolerance; where social exclusion and social inclusion occur side-by-side; where the concept of the global village competes with growing feelings of narrow nationalism and xenophobia; a time of open borders and closed minds; of the empowerment and degradation of women; where children have obtained universal rights but continue to be abused; of enormous riches and appalling poverty; of deep spirituality and militant secularism; of humankind's ingenious solutions and its abject failures; a time of peace brokering and warmongering; of unselfish service and deep-seated corruption; where values and morals diminish. "To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill, o may it all my powers engage, to do my Master's will". This is has challenging today as it was in Booth's day. However, our situation is not hopeless, to think so is to deny the very dynamic of that message we bring 3. Our Future At an officer's Councils last year, I heard a lieutenant say, "I wish that, for the Army, out was in!" My heart resonated with that statement on several levels. I wish to highlight three. There's the Geographical element - the fact that we are a sent people for "As the Father has sent me, so I send you", Jesus said (John 20:21b). God is a missionary-God. There's the Cultural element - Paul wrote (Romans 12:2) "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mould". Part of our mission focus must be the witness we should be to our message through transformed lives. There's the Sacrificial element - the fact that this will cost us, "If you choose to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me!" The Army, yielded, doing mission! Where does this leave us? For me, at our core is the ability to do mission. But it starts with me, with you – willing to be out – geographically, culturally and sacrificially, Being, the Army, out there, doing mission”.