Open air


 

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15 NIV)

A friend sent me a photo from a trip the Melbourne Staff Band made to a regional area just a week ago. The band played and ministered at a local Corps, but also took the band to the streets, sharing the love of Jesus with the local community with an inspiring ministry of music and message from God’s word. They were in the open air!

From the early days, our Founder’s goal was to bring hope to millions living in poverty by preaching the gospel at every opportunity. This included the open air. It is a long history of the way Salvos have spoken into the lives of millions of people throughout the world. Wherever they are in the open air we invite them into the safety, sanctuary and fellowship of our citadels and centres to share the love and nurture of Jesus.

Going into the open air helped make the Army VISIBLE. It identified us in the marketplace as the ‘go to’ for people who are lost and outcast by society. We realised early on that winning the world for Jesus wasn’t going to happen in a citadel, church or behind a desk. We needed to be ‘out there’ as a visible presence. That ministry has been a significant calling card of our lives as Salvos and we will not change.

Open air is a euphemism for making time and space for allowing our situation and opportunity speak to us with clarity, certainty and conviction. And then apply that to our ministry as we positively contemplate and consider the transformation happening in our Army and society today. I for one can be guilty of not stopping to realise the magnitude of what is God is doing in us now. But I deliberately take the time to spend several moments with God, asking Him to guide me and give me inspiration as a person in a position of spiritual leadership.

As we approach a busy time for us as Salvos – the Christmas period – may I encourage you to give yourself and your mind some time in ‘open air’ to realise afresh this new thing God is doing in His Army and His people.

My email inbox has been inundated recently with correspondence from Salvos across the nation who are experiencing what it is to bring our new national vision to life. The essence of this God-inspired vision is being caught by people far and wide and there is a clear energy emerging where people are eager for transformation to take place to make their impact greater.

At this moment, I’d like to quote an old Army chorus, relevant to my thoughts of the open air above:

There’s something in the open air

That really makes us do and dare

There must be something in the open air!

Let the fresh air of our daily exposure to the Holy Spirit clarify our reflection and thinking and energise our doing as we continue to transform Australia one life at a time.

1Comment
  • Pam Stamos
    Posted at 14:55h, 20 November Reply

    We hear leaders talking about Australia One in such glowing terms but the people I talk to are definitely not echoing those sentiments. Change is good, but change for the sake of change is never good. There are other ways to save money that do not involve reducing influence. The Lord has grown the Salvation Army in Australia over many years. Do not stunt that growth by reducing access points, where people can physically connect. Australia is growing rapidly. We should be ever more available by increasing not reducing.

    We need to plan for growth not decay. We need to look at ways to recruit more cadets. Yes we need to cut costs, while continuing to grow, but cuts in education, reducing numbers of new qualified well equipped workers will not do this. Booth College in Sydney is an ideal location because of its closeness to the airport and the city. The money saved in transport costs must be huge. Do not throw away such a wonderful, valuable treasure.

    Booth College at Bexley North should be doing all of the Non-residential Cadet training, Staff development courses, courses for Corps Officers wanting to further their studies, Intensives, distance and on-line courses, higher education courses for non-Salvation Army students and Vocational Education programs. In other words, Booth College at Bexley North should provide all higher education and Vocational Education courses other than Full-time residential Salvation Army cadet training.

    I know the decision has been made but I believe that the School for Officer Training (full-time residential) should continue to be both in Melbourne and Sydney.

    Who made the decision to send Higher Education down to Melbourne and why? Booth College in Sydney was doing such a good job and had so many excellent people teaching and servicing theological students alongside the Sydney based cadets. Who made such a decision? Whoever did make the decision to choose Melbourne over Sydney did they first take a good look at what was happening in Sydney or did they just choose Melbourne because that was where everything else is going. Did anyone notice that the college at Bexley North (Sydney) is in a perfect location as far as being close to the city, train station and Airport? Any savings made by having everything in Melbourne will be lost in transport costs and reductions of student numbers.

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