As an employee of The Salvation Army with a grand total of thirteen months experience, I set out to Atlanta (Southern Territorial Headquarter of The Salvation Army) with my wife to take in the Ordination and Commissioning of 66 soon-to-be officers.
Let me first say, I love working for The Salvation Army, it is by far the best place I have worked in my career. I was honored to be invited to the ceremonies. So as a communications professional, I felt it was my duty to experience something that gives me an idea of what The Salvation Army is. I want to understand why someone would sign up for two years of “college”, receive an appointment that changes every three years and join the forces that serves the hungry, homeless, and poor across the world.
I mean it has to be a true calling, right?
I know the officers I have met are true men and women of God, many with several years of experience, but how did they get to this point? It all started with THE CALLING.
Let me be perfectly upfront about what I mean by a calling. A calling means God has spoken directly into your life about what he wants for you. Some choose to ignore His call and waste years trying to avoid what will happen while others step right out on their faith in Him and move forward.
In this session of cadets, the Heralds of Grace, there were some who ignored Him for a time and some who accepted His call immediately.
As my wife and I entered the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center (awesome place, by the way), we didn’t know what to expect. For many of the 66 cadets, this was a true culmination of what they had waited their whole life to become. It was their last night as cadets. They were about to step over the threshold into officership in The Salvation Army!
We saw beautiful presentations, heard magnificent songs, and witnessed life changing testimonies. What I found out is many of these cadets before me were once just like everybody else…just like me for that matter.
One cadet, a former police officer, felt the call of God as he lay bloody and injured after being run over by a gang member. Another felt the call after refusing to join her husband a church for the empteenth time. These cadets are husbands and wives, men and women, young and not so young, families and singles stepping out on the grace and love of God. I wish I had time to tell you in great detail all the testimonies I heard, but I could never do them justice.
We witnessed cadets and officers alike worshipping God and praising the name of Jesus Christ even though they’ve yet to find out what their next step was to be or even where they may be in a year.
What struck us the most? They were accepting “the call” blindfolded and full speed ahead.
It’s not a life for the faint of heart. Notice I said life, not job. This is more than a job. A job you get up in the morning and drive to an office, and work for eight plus hours then go home. For Salvation Army officers, it is 24 seven, 365 days a year.
As you can tell, I respect these men and women for what they do. I could never do it.
So, we sat and watched as one after another walked out to center stage to find out where this calling would take them first. I tracked each one that received their assignment to this division.
I will be here should they need help in their life’s journey. Maybe that’s my calling.
One thing I know for sure, The Salvation Army, it’s officers, soldiers and employees stand ready to Do The Most Good because we stand on the love of the one who died for you and for us, Jesus Christ.
So, 66 new officers are moving to their new appointments throughout the Southern Territory, and as their name suggests, they are heralds of God’s magnificent work in their lives, heralds of God’s grace.