17 Nov 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.