What’s Next?

I’ll never forget how foolish I felt a few years ago after The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary celebration at the magnificent O2 Arena in London. My wife, Kathleen, and I were there helping to lead the media team supporting the event and hosting the film festival, and everything had gone off without a problem. So, during one of the breaks, I took a walk around the perimeter of the arena to see all the displays on the history and impact of The Salvation Army through the years.

That’s when I walked into the store. It was a huge space that featured books, teaching materials, music and musical instruments. The instrument section was pretty much all brass (as you would expect), and I found myself thinking how much music had changed in the last 150 years. Where were the guitars and amplifiers? How about drum sets? What about keyboards? I thought to myself that the days of brass bands are over, and during the next day’s parade throughout downtown London, a brass band would probably be an embarrassment.

But to my shock, the next morning, when the Salvation Army band rolled through London, the streets were packed! People were standing 10 deep in line just to get a glimpse of the passing musicians. They clapped and cheered as if it was a scene happening 150 years earlier.

At that moment, I was reminded of the power of tradition.

In a world of electric guitars, rock bands and contemporary worship, Salvation Army brass bands stand out. They are unlike anything else in the music world, and because of that uniqueness, people notice.

As I write this, I’m back in London during the centennial celebration of the Armistice that ended World War I. The events surrounding the anniversary have reminded me once again that traditions are wonderful. They cause us to pause and remember heroic events from our past, and they remind us of the awesome calling of great men and women who have gone before. The Apostle Paul says in Hebrews that a “great cloud of witnesses” is watching us, and great traditions remind us that we are part of that eternal story.

However, the problem with “traditions” is that we often forget they are a “reminder” not a “destination.” As traditions remind us of the great moments in our faith, we tend to get stuck in those moments and forget that while God and His Word never changes, everything else does.

In a world where people, styles, trends, culture and ideas change, we need to speak the language of that world if we’re going to be effective sharing the Gospel. And keep in mind that speaking the language of the culture doesn’t mean compromising our theology or principles. I’m reminded of just how much Jesus shook up the thinking of the religious leaders of His time. As if they were stuck in marble, He had to chip away constantly at their preconceptions, arrogant thinking and self-centered living. When they asked Him questions, He shocked them with his answers.

They just didn’t do things that way…

The truth is, change is hard. Changing a ministry team’s thinking is even harder—sometimes, nearly impossible. And yet, we all know that in today’s world of disruptive, 24/7 change, responding well is critical to our success. Jesus chastised the religious leaders of his day, because they couldn’t read the signs of the times. Yet, these days, those signs seem to be rushing faster than ever. As you struggle to shift the thinking of your leadership team, employees, volunteers, donors and those in need—and before you jump out a window in frustration—it’s good to have a reminder of the reasons why people work so hard to resist change. Figure out which of these applies to you and how to overcome it, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing the birth of a transformed organization.

Here are a few key reasons why people resist change:

  1. Self-Interest. Change is an unfair imposition on their territory. Silos and walls happen, and people want to control their turf. They need to exert control over their immediate surroundings and want to feel as though they have a say in their own futures. Like it or not, we human beings are territorial and want some sense of power—or at least control.
  2. Misunderstanding or a Lack of Trust. What people don’t understand, they will resist. Just because you see why you need to change doesn’t mean everyone else will. Realize that you have knowledge they don’t have, so that you can make sure you’re helping them understand all the issues and options.
  3. Differing Ways of Assessing Things. People have opinions and may see the cost as greater than the benefits. As a supervisor, you might not think much about where the coffee break room is located, but as a secretary, knowledge of its location could be very important. That’s just a small example of how different issues and policies mean different things to different people.
  4. People Lack Confidence in the Decision-Making Process. Sometimes, they don’t believe all the relevant info has been included in the process, or they don’t trust the person in charge of implementing the change. If they’re not confident that the cost is worth it, they’ll fight against it. The key here is to be sure they’re aware or involved in the process.

Knowing WHY they’re fighting change is half the battle to position your team for “what’s next.” Years ago, I actually consulted with a ministry organization that hated change so much that it held department-wide meetings about how to get rid of me. This was in spite of the fact that my plan brought in record fundraising, greater awareness of their work and other positive changes.

Most people struggle with change, so to position yourself for “what’s next,” you need to figure out where they’re uncomfortable. Then you can focus on what really matters—becoming the leader God has called you to be.

The questions are—How often do we get stuck in our own methods today? Just because an outreach worked well in 1989, does that mean it still works? Are the methods we learned early in our careers the methods that work today? How has technology affected the ways people accept or reject the Gospel? Is it time to rethink your attitude toward the ideas and suggestions you receive from younger members of your team?

Answers to these and similar questions could help make the difference between success and failure for ministry outreaches in the 21st century.

Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a media consultant and producer based in Los Angeles. His wife, Kathleen, is on the national board of The Salvation Army, and he’s just released a new print planner called Unique: The Ultimate Planner for Creative Professionals. Find out more at philcooke.com.

The Greatest Commandment

In His last week of ministry on Earth, Jesus was pelted with questions by three different groups whom He had constantly confounded. The Herodians, who advocated that collaboration with the ruling party was the best course, asked Jesus whether it was lawful to pay taxes. His unexpected answer silenced them (Matthew 22:16-22).

The Sadducees, known for their liberal watering down of the Jewish faith, were next. Using a scenario that stumped most people, Jesus not only answered them but rebuked them for their lack of faith (Matthew 22:23-32).

Finally, the Pharisees stepped up. Their name meant “pure ones,” and while many were sincere followers of God, most showcased a religious conceit borne of the conviction that only they knew the true essence of religion. They were particularly noted for their keeping of the law as revealed to Moses, which they had divided into 613 precepts, 248 of which were commandments, while 365 were prohibitions. They were further divided into those considered “weighty” and those that were “light.” However, there was constant disagreement as to the order of importance. This perplexing issue seemed like a good one for Jesus to consider.

A teacher of the law asked, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, ’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

Jesus said we were to love the Lord with all our hearts. In biblical days, it was thought that the heart was the seat of the emotions and the will. The Bible accepts that people have emotions which are important to being fully human. Emotions reinforce our decisions and empower us to move forward. They are God-created, and as such, each emotion is valid. In fact, some things can only be seen properly through emotions. Being a parent is more than following a book that tells what time a child eats, sleeps and plays. Parenting only works through love.

When Jesus spoke of loving God with all our hearts, He meant that all of our emotions can be engaged in loving Him: joy, sorrow, fear, hope, shame, anger and contentment. God wants our lives in Him to engage the fullness of our feelings, so that we love Him with everything and in every way our hearts can feel and act. Adam Clarke noted, “He loves God with all his heart who loves nothing in comparison to Him and nothing in reference to Him, who is ready to give up, do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify Him.”

Then Jesus said we are to love God with all our souls. This involves the development of our spiritual lives to please God and devote ourselves for His glory. It means to have allegiance to Him above all others with no rivals. At a time when many gods were worshipped, Jesus said that there was only one true God who demanded His exclusive place in their souls and who demanded all their worship.

An alternative idea is to love the Lord with all our lives. That’s all of life’s energy, all of the days allotted to us and all the best that I am, whether I am 25 or 95. Through all the stages and circumstances of life, we are to love God steadfastly with all our souls. An old Salvation Army chorus conveys this idea.

All my days and all my hours,
All my will and all my powers,
All the passion of my soul,
Not a fragment but the whole,

Shall be Thine, dear Lord,
Shall be Thine, dear Lord.

– Edward H. Joy

The Song Book of The Salvation Army #566

Finally, Jesus said we were to love the Lord with all our minds. The original Greek indicates that this referred to our intellects and thinking capacity. This means that we love, not because we can’t help it, but we love God as a deliberate and voluntary choice. It is to subject our ways to Him, our thoughts and our plans. It is to set ourselves on giving our best efforts to Him, to develop whatever skills, talents, education and resources for His glory. It is to embrace self-discipline and self-denial in order to seek God in all things.

Jesus added another commandment to this one. We are to love our neighbors.

That means we are to seek our neighbors’ good, to look out for their interests and to promote actively what is best for them. Above all it is to seek their salvation. Our regard for our neighbors must reflect our acknowledgement that they have been created in the image of God and are fully deserving of God’s love and all God has for them.

Love like this extends beyond those close at hand. The Bible is quite clear about the social component of holiness. In the Old Testament law provision was made for the poor. Grain in the corners of the field and unharvested fruit were to be left for the poor. Hebrew servants were to be freed after a specified time. The poor man was to be given back his cloak each day to warm him at night. All of this means we have an obligation to live differently in the world. That primarily is shown in how we treat people.

We must change the world in which we live. We are to love as Christ loved – for love’s sake alone. We must love them whether or not they treat us well, whether or not they accept our Savior, whether or not we are noticed or appreciated, even when doing so means loss to us. If there is no love of our neighbors, there is no genuine experience of God in our hearts.

The measure of what we are is in what and how we love.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee is Editor–in–Chief & National Literary Secretary.

Picking Up the Pieces in Indonesia

The Salvation Army in Indonesia is flourishing, even though it is part of a religious minority in the most populous Muslim nation in the world. The constitution of Indonesia guarantees religious freedom to its citizens, and that has allowed respectful relations to exist between faiths in most of the country. This has not only allowed The Salvation Army to operate in its religious activities but to make an impact with its social ministry as well. Scattered across the islands, the Army operates hospitals, clinics, nurses’ training facilities, children’s homes, nursing homes and student hostels. By far, the most impressive work is in its 107 schools concentrated mostly in the central section of the island of Sulawesi. 

The operation of the schools is done against a background of grossly inadequate funding, needed improvements in teacher recruitment and training, and aging and sometimes crumbling buildings with furniture that is often better used as firewood than as places for young learners to sit. As if those obstacles were not enough, recent events have made the work even more difficult where the schools are most densely located—Central Sulawesi.

On September 28, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake centered in Central Sulawesi shook Indonesia. The quake also generated a tsunami of over 20 feet in height that swept across the densely populated region that includes Palu. That region is home to around 500,000 people. Landslides destroyed roads in the mountainous rural areas, while collapsed and washed-away buildings claimed over 2,200 dead. Another 10,000 were injured—4,612 seriously. Adding to the woes was the flood of refugees tallying over 200,000 from the 70,000 homes that were damaged or destroyed. The Salvation Army was among the first organizations to respond, even though, like the people it serves, it suffered fatalities and injuries and saw homes and facilities destroyed.

In addition to corps buildings damaged, a number of Salvation Army schools suffered damage, while others were leveled. Fortunately, because of the time of day when the disaster hit, the schools were unoccupied. Twenty schools were affected—nearly a quarter of the schools in the area. Almost half of those damaged were assessed as being totally unusable or destroyed and in need of replacement.


Before and after earthquake — from promise to devastation.


Despite the losses suffered, determined teachers and administrative staff scrambled to begin classes again. Some have done so under tarps that in the tropical sun see temperatures rise to unbearable levels. Benches and crude desks have been cobbled together, with students sharing the space even though they are in different grades with competing lessons being taught. School hours have been adjusted to try to ease some of the issues, but even with this, the education process has been hugely complicated.

The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) at USA National Headquarters had partnered with the Indonesia Territory to aid in upgrading their schools and educational system long before the recent earthquake and tsunami. Now, with the disaster damage, that partnership is even more valuable.

“We did a needs assessment recently that has clarified where we can come alongside and aid in the Army’s schools moving forward,” said Douglas Bell, SAWSO’s sr. technical advisor for Education. “We identified needs in improved facilities, long term solutions to the financial needs, community and parent involvement and teacher as well as administrative staff training. We’re helping them to improve the quality of education they offer and strengthen their capacity and resilience.” SAWSO advocates a strategic systems approach that gauges its success on student learning outcomes. Simply stated, our success hinges on the success of the students.

Historically, much of the teaching in large parts of the developing world is based on rote learning that entails massive amounts of memorization. What has been lacking is the development of critical thinking skills to employ knowledge in real-life situations. Focusing on the teacher’s skill as the primary means to make improvement, SAWSO has helped teachers to improve their practices, provide a more learning-enriched classroom environment and employ better curricula.

The Indonesia Literacy Foundation (YLAI), Sanata Dharma University, and the State University of Makassar have all partnered with The Salvation Army in Indonesia, and many useful resources have been provided through USAID. We are providing ongoing professional development and coaching for teachers and using tablet-based apps to track school quality.

teacher-classroom-students-Salvation Army

Teacher reviews children’s lesson plans at the Salvation Army primary school in Central Sulawesi.

For its part, even with various limitations, the Army has made a significant contribution to the life of Indonesia. The schools that have been a part of this are notably open to people of all faith backgrounds. Schools are largely self-sufficient, charging very small tuition so as to be affordable to the very poor. Many involved with the schools are rendering sacrificial service, with some teachers and staff receiving equivalent pay of less than US $10 a month. Even given the lower cost of living in Indonesia, this is below the poverty level. The spirit of service, the mammoth tasks being accomplished and the determination to do better are nothing short of inspiring.

We continue to pray for Indonesia’s long recovery following the earthquake and tsunami and thank God that the Army continues to aid not only the victims of the disaster but the youth as they develop into the leaders of tomorrow.

If you would like to know more or if you would like to contribute toward the mission of The Salvation Army in Indonesia, please contact SAWSO at www.sawso.org. Please include an additional note if you would like for your gift to assist with the educational needs of Indonesian students. Giving opportunities for other parts of the world are also possible.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee is Editor–in–Chief & National Literary Secretary.

Bible Study — “The Life of Holy Wholeness”

January 2018 Banner Image Abraham and Sarah with Baby

Part I: Walk Before Me

In this new Bible study series, explore how the problems Abraham, the father of faith, faced are precisely what many Christians face today. If we want to be “wholly holy,” as God has intended for us to be, we need only look to Abraham for inspiration. Read more [...]

Holiness unto the Lord — high priest, incense, prayer

Part II: Holiness unto the Lord

For the High Priests, every article of clothing that they wore represented how we should live our lives before God. They were dressed for the Lord. Are you? Read more [...]

Cover Image Article Cleanse Me — dark heart

Part III: Cleanse Me

After living a sinful life, David pled to the Lord for mercy. We examine David’s Psalm 51—the product of his penitence and a source of inspiration for us all. Read more [...]

Holiness unto the Lord

A constant theme throughout Scriptures is God’s requirement of holiness from His people. Sometimes God says plainly, “You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be My very own” (Leviticus 20:26). Other times it is by the example in people’s lives such as Abraham. Still other times God shows His expectations through symbolism. The clothing of the High Priest provides symbolic teaching as to the nature of the holiness God expects from His children.

When God instituted the Tabernacle as the place to signify His presence among His people, He also established the priesthood to minister before Him and on behalf of the people of Israel. Part of the priesthood included one individual who was the High Priest, the only one allowed to enter the Holy of Holies on the annual Day of Atonement. All that was entailed with the High Priest’s duties, including the garments he wore, represented how God’s people should conduct their lives before Him.

The first thing that happened in the consecration of the High Priest was a blood sacrifice to atone for his sins (Exodus 29:10-14). In the same way, the first step for us is to be cleansed of our sin by the blood of Christ. This was provided for us through His sacrificial death on the cross. After the cleansing was finished for the priest, he was now ready for service. Not until we have been cleansed of our sin by Christ are we ready for our service to Him.

The first item of clothing to consider was the white pants and long white gown. The purity represented by white is symbolic of the need to be pure in our inner self, the sanctuary of our secrets. Holiness begins in our deepest parts and works its way outward. The High Priest always bathed before putting these on and so we must be clean in our inner parts. An outward show of godliness is betrayed if our hearts are not clean.

The next article to consider is the robe (Exodus 28:31-43). It was one seamless piece of cloth. In the same way, our experience with the Lord must be seamless, whole and without defect. God wants our hearts to be wholly His, not fragmented or frayed.

The robe was blue in color, a reminder of Heaven. When we are in Christ, we are actually citizens of two worlds. We are very much a part of this one with its every day cares, its opportunities and its problems. But we are just as much citizens of Heaven, our hearts always longing to be fully in the presence of God. There will be no impurity in Heaven (Revelation 21:27) so blue reminds us of that.

Golden bells were sewn into the bottom hem of the gown (Exodus 28:35). They served a sobering purpose. If a High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and failed to do so as God dictated, he could be struck down by God. As long as the bells sounded as he moved around those outside knew everything was going well. But if they didn’t sound for a while it was assumed that the High Priest was struck down by God. A rope tied to his ankle was used to drag his body out of the Holy of Holies! The bells, then, were symbolic of our need to approach God with reverence. His holiness demands nothing less.

The robe also had an interweaving of scarlet and purple representative of the blood of sacrifice and royalty. While at first that might seem to be a strange combination, it reminds us of our absolute dependence upon God for our salvation but also when we are made His children, we become His royalty. Revelation 1:5,6 says, “All glory to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God His Father. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.”

The next part of the High Priest’s garments was the ephod, a kind of chest covering made of two sections joined at the shoulders by two onyx stones set in sockets of gold (Exodus 28:4). On the ephod was inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Four colors were interwoven: scarlet (blood sacrifice), blue (Heaven), purple (royalty) and gold (divinity). The ephod represented responsibility. The holy life is never concerned only for itself. Ours is not a religion that encourages hiding out from the world but living in and affecting it. We carry the concerns of our brothers and sisters in Christ but we also have a burden for those who have not yet received Christ into their lives. We always have a responsibility for others.

Holding everything together was a decorative sash (Exodus 28:8) that held the ephod to the waist. The sash represents service – not always showy but always needed.

Along with the ephod and the sash was the breastplate of gold (Exodus 28:15). It was approximately nine inches tall and eighteen inches wide. In it was a pocket for the Urim and Thummim, the names meaning “light and shadow.” Although we are not certain how they worked, they were somehow used to determine the will of God. They did not work, however, if there was sin present.

The breastplate had twelve precious stones, each with the name of a tribe of Israel, similar to the ephod worn over the heart. The breastplate also represented responsibility to bear others’ burdens and to seek their highest good before God. Worn over the High Priest’s heart, it was there to call to mind the need to keep these things uppermost in our thoughts, emotions and actions.

The final piece of the wardrobe was a white hat or bonnet. On it was a blue ribbon inscribed with the words “Holiness unto the Lord” (Exodus 39:28). On top of everything we do, our priority must be holiness to the Lord.

How are you dressed for the Lord? If your heart was adorned with outward clothing would you look like a beggar or a priest of the Lord? It does not matter what station you are in life. It matters whether you have been made holy by God.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee is the Editor in Chief and National Literary Secretary

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