Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Mission Statement of the Salvation Army: What's your personal mission statement?

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This is a personal blog. The views on this blog do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Salvation Army, it's employees, or partners. The views on this blog are solely of those making them, based on the teachings of the Bible, in the Spirit.

We’re looking at the Salvation Army mission statement and how that is applied to ministry work. My own personal mission statement is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in full time ministry. For my ministry career my mission statement will be functionally the same as that of the organization I work for, the Salvation Army. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, my own mission statement will be synonymous with that of the Salvation Army, which states: “The mission of the Salvation Army is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” 

What is your mission statement?  Does it jive with the organization or church you serve with?  We should each take a few minutes to write down our mission statement for life, and consider how we'll accomplish it.

The mission statement of the Salvation Army jives perfectly with my own personal mission statement. It reflects well the dual emphasis of Jesus Christ to carry the message of the kingdom, and to meet the temporal needs of the people in his context. Jesus Christ fundamentally did two things: He spoke about the kingdom of God and he performed acts of healing, mercy, love, and compassion. That is my life mission, to preach the gospel, and to meet the needs of those around me.

The theological basis is two-fold: Make disciples of all nations and meet the needs of people near me. This is the core imperative of the scriptures. It is not a full demonstration of the entirety of the scriptures. It is a concise definition of a primary imperative. That’s how I draw my imperative from the scriptures. 

 There are so many things that could be listed off, like “loving God and loving others” or “worship and praise” or “evangelism” but fundamentally what is the chief imperative? The chief imperative is to make disciples and meet needs. The primary imperative that flows out from the revelation of the kingdom of God, the gospel, is the great commission to make disciples of all nations and meet human needs (Matthew 28:19, Matthew 25:31-46). That’s what Jesus did, that’s what he taught and what he lived.

So if this is the theological basis, if this is the profile of the full revelation of the scriptures the question becomes: What are the core ministry values that emerge from this scriptural exegesis?

If we are looking at a holistic approach to the kingdom program of God revealed in the scriptures, then I see four core values that emerge from the words of Jesus in practicing the core theology of scripture: Worship, evangelism, discipleship, and meeting needs. These four key values are derived from the scriptures, and the kingdom program of God. Therefore, they should be the primary concern of my ministry.

It's interesting that people with a certain passion in ministry, they often tell us that we have to be passionate about it too: prison ministry, social justice, multicultural ministry, and all these various concerns. It is true that we are all gifted in many areas. But there are a thousand different things we can do in ministry. And if we don’t have a primary imperative then we’ll run ourselves thin trying to do a little of everything. My mission is to teach about Christ and to reach people for Christ. I’ve got to do this through the most direct means I can summon.

Worship is an absolute must. We have to worship to grow in fellowship with God. That’s why worship comes into the four basic areas. Worship is vital, in gathering the community together, teaching the Bible and singing songs of worship. That’s the basic format of the church community. And therefore it is vital.

Evangelism also comes very high on the core ministry functions. Evangelism is about sharing the gospel with non-believers. It’s about doing the real work that Christ taught us to do. And it’s absolutely vital. Especially in our broken world and de-energized church, where young people no longer see faith as a viable option regarding the meaning of life, more and more we’ll have to go out on the streets and carry the gospel to our neighbors through evangelism. Of course there is no good “evangelism program” evangelism instead will have to be baked into everything we do as a church movement.

Discipleship is absolutely vital as well. Christ taught us to make disciples of all nations. That requires really digging into the scriptures and moving into a deeper, more mature Christian walk. Discipleship is necessary, otherwise we’ll never mature as believers.

Meeting needs is absolutely vital as well. What is the point of evangelism or worship if we aren’t really living as Jesus did? We have to live it out and show our faith through acts of love and mercy. That’s what Jesus taught us to do, so we must do it. Meeting needs is important, but it shouldn’t overtake the other areas, which seems to have happened to a certain extent with the Salvation Army. The main goal has to always be at the fore-front, of carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The core values that I see in fulfilling the mission statement of the Salvation Army are worship, evangelism, discipleship, and meeting needs. Each of these are absolutely necessary to living out the gospel given in the sacred scriptures.  I want to challenge you: What is your mission statement?  And, what does fulfilling it look like in practical ministry?  Figure that out, and you'll be able to fulfill that mission.

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