Soon after the High Council of The Salvation Army elected Brian Peddle as its 22nd General, effective August 2nd, he detailed with IHQ Communications Secretary Lt. Colonel Brian Venables his assessment of the Army, his hopes for it, and what has prepared him to “forge a path to the future.”
Lt. Colonel Venables: How did you come to The Salvation Army?
General-Elect Peddle: I credit my mom and dad, who were not Salvationists, but were uncomfortable with things that were happening in their local church. In obedience to God they started to go to the Army. Sometimes I would go along. Early in that experience they found a good place in the Army where they were welcomed and embraced. Before I knew it, we were attending!
I was used to a very quiet, formal liturgical experience. I was immediately taken by the music, by vibrant preaching. I remember the animated and enthusiastic preaching and the testimonies.
Because I came in between ages 14-15, I skipped some of the formative things that many of our Salvationists get to enjoy. Strangely, that was never an issue. I soon became a soldier and was sensing a call to officership. The rest is history as I now get to lead this incredible Army that gave me space and a spiritual home as an uncertain teenager.
I admit I was attracted, pulled in and warmly welcomed and embraced by corps officers and people who displayed God’s love and genuine interest in us. A month ago, I had the privilege of going back to that corps, Trinity Bay South, in Canada to lead the 125th anniversary celebrations. All I can say is that God is faithful.
Lt. Colonel Venables: What is your vision for the Army?
General-Elect Peddle: We come to this role at an excellent time, where the Army is able to work out of a position of great strength. Moving forward and moving from strength to strength—I come back to the phrase “forging a path into the future.” I am deeply aware that I need to be the 21st General for the 21st century.
We stand on the shoulders of many good people and we honor them. They worked with the issues of their day to build a great and much respected Army. We have to grapple with the issues in our day. We cannot be ambiguous about things that are of concern to our people around the world, yet we must do that within a reality marked by tremendous diversity.
The Army must again live up to its call to be mission-focused: every soldier, every officer accepting responsibility to be of value where we live. This means that the two significant aspects of our mission statement—preaching the gospel unashamedly and serving suffering humanity—need to remain connected.
One of my concerns is how we help our young people become disciples in today’s world. I’m concerned about those very formative years. My priority is to redirect resources to make sure we reinvest energies in our unique mission focus, engaging with our officers and soldiers while articulating as clearly as possible God’s present call upon the Army.
We are an international Christian movement. We cross many cultural boundaries and need to understand and respect the cultural context.
We live in a rapidly changing world. I intend to lead One Army, and keep that One Army intricately connected and focused so we continue to impact the world for good, by God’s grace and with the prayers and support of His people.
Lt. Colonel Venables: What is your view of the current state of affairs in The Salvation Army?
General-Elect Peddle: I look to the Army—and confess my knowledge of it is substantial—and I see it, warts and all. We are not perfect, nor do we have everything right, but you would have to be a very pessimistic person to not see what God is doing.
I want Salvationists to believe that God is doing a new thing among us. I refuse to limit God or consider for even a moment that our best days are behind us.
What I would like to see is every junior soldier, every soldier, every officer engaged in the mission of the Army—winning souls, caring for suffering humanity and knowing that the Kingdom of God is growing.
Read the General-elect’s full interview in the August issue of the War Cry available a your local corps or subscribe at thewarcry.org/subscribe.