The Salvation Army in the UK is currently emphasising TIDE – Transformation, Integration, Discipleship and Effectiveness. On the matter of effectiveness, it was the management guru Peter Drucker who said some years ago: ‘The Salvation Army is the most effective organisation in America. No-one even comes close to it in respect to clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results, dedication and putting money to maximum use’.
Looking at each of these points, can we ask ourselves ‘how are we doing?’
- Clarity of mission. Jesus was very clear about his purpose. His opening words in Mark 1:15 were ‘The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news’. He was announcing the good news of the kingdom – not just in words, but in deeds as the rest of the chapter shows. Our mission is also to bring the kingdom near in word and deed. Every corps and centre should be clear about this, should encapsulate it in a mission statement, and ensure that every activity is aimed at achieving it.
- Ability to innovate. The opening shots of the American War of Independence were fired at the battle of Concord in 1775. The British troops insisted on marching down the road in formation, while the American militia men hid among the trees and took pot-shots at them. The British lost the battle because they failed to adapt to the terrain. Our social and cultural terrain is constantly changing and so we need to innovate to remain relevant and effective.
- Measurable results. Acts records that 3,000 were saved on the Day of Pentecost and the Lord ‘added to their number daily’. Every few chapters we read that the word of God spread and the church grew. These were measurable results. That’s not to say that everything good can be measured. Much valuable ministry cannot be estimated in terms of numbers or tangible outcomes. But effective ministry and mission will have some measurable results, whether it’s in terms of attendances, membership or numbers of people helped.
- Dedication. Back in the 1980s Roy Castle presented Record Breakers. At the end of every show he would sing the theme song: ‘If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need’. Yes, it is what we need even if we aren’t planning on breaking any records. Dedication sometimes goes unrecognised and unrewarded, but it is vital for our effectiveness.
- Putting money to maximum use. Whether we’re entrusted with money given by our own members, by the public or by government agencies, we have a responsibility to be good stewards. Careful planning, budgeting, accounting and spending are all part of this. Money is a kingdom resource – let’s use it wisely and well for the kingdom’s sake.
So, how are we doing?
Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts