29 Sep Unpacking the vision
I’ve never been a fan of watching wrestling matches during the Olympics. A match is usually over in a matter of minutes. I also don’t see much point in following those gigantic specimens from Japan roll around a ring in nothing but adult sized nappies trying to inflict pain on one another. The only strategy I can surmise from wrestling is to make the first move in order to be in a position of power. To some, wrestling may be considered skill, but to me it’s just another excuse for me to read a good book. However, not all wrestling is lost on me.
Over the course of the last weekend, over 40 Salvos gathered in Geelong in the pursuit of ‘Leading our Vision’ for The Salvation Army in Australia. The weekend was the culmination of months of work as we presented our national vision to local Army leaders who will take this message to hundreds of Corps and social centres over the next two months.
In Geelong, there was a lot of wrestling going on. None of the Olympic or Sumo variety, but wrestling with the fact: Is the national vision for The Salvation Army truly a vision God has ordained for His Army here in Australia? For some, it wasn’t an easy topic to engage their minds. There were frank, honest and deep conversations about how the vision will work out at Corps and program level. It was two days of tough work, wrapping our minds around topics the heart more easily embraces, but I believe transformation happens when we unpack with the topics that aren’t initially straightforward. By Sunday, our Vision Facilitators took ownership of the vision and are now enthusiastic about uniting our movement under this one vision.
This is a healthy and positive kind of wrestling. The kind of debate God wants us to have with him. Like the apostle Paul, he lived and labored in the grip of a heavenly vision. Paul’s vision produced in him a holy ‘wrestle’ in the pursuit of presenting the Gospel to those in far-away lands and to prioritise the evangelism, organisation and nurture of the Gentiles in the Christian faith. “There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
This week has also been an opportunity for me to reflect on the life and service of General Eva Burrows with the announcement that our national Training College will bear her name. Undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and significant modern leaders of our movement, General Eva was a true visionary. I recall her understanding of what the demise of the then Soviet Union meant for the Army’s expansion back into Russia when she was world leader. She proclaimed a bold vision and recognised this political meltdown as a God moment, and cast a vision of possibility and gave the Army an opportunity to preach the Gospel to a people that we would have never dared to proclaim years earlier.
I firmly believe God has given His Army in this nation a persistent plea to initiate a vision, germinated in His heart, then ignited in the hearts of His people and shared with passion and conviction throughout the land.
There have been many significant moments in the journey of Australia One; and each one of significance. But whilst there are many current activities underway as part of Australia One, the foundation to all of this work is the mobilisation of our national vision. Without it, all other work will be in vain and will fall short of the impact that we anticipate Australia One can and must bring to the Kingdom through the establishment of this vision for The Salvation Army in Australia.
As you are introduced to our national vision, I encourage you to wrestle in your own heart and mind in order to see the new thing God is doing in you and this nation.