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From the editor

From Salvationist 19 January 2018

MAKING AN IMPACT

MOST issues of Salvationist include a page or two of new commitments – new soldiers, adherent members and junior soldiers. Along with their photos there’s often a brief account of how they came to make their commitment or what they hope to do in the future. It’s encouraging to see evidence of God moving in people’s lives and their response to him. You might be interested to know that during 2018 our new commitments pages featured 255 soldiers, 415 adherent members and 231 junior soldiers. That’s good news – and there are bound to be more new members out there who haven’t come to our attention.

New commitments are a sign of effectiveness in our mission and ministry, as are the people who attend worship or other activities and those who are helped through our practical service in corps, centres or in the community.

But numbers are not the only measure, and may not always be the best measure, of the real impact we are making. When it comes to assessing effectiveness we can point to a number of things: activity, outputs, outcomes and impact. I once heard it explained using the example of making cups of tea – possibly Army cups of tea! The activity is making the tea, the outputs are the number of cups made, the outcomes are the number of people that enjoy drinking the tea and the impact is the broader or longer-term benefits they get from it – perhaps the opportunity to chat with other people over a cuppa or the health improvements tea might bring.

It would be an interesting exercise to apply this approach to what we do in our corps and centres, as well as our individual lives. What outputs, outcomes and impacts do our activities produce?

Ideally all our activity should make a lasting impact. But because this is difficult to measure we often settle for less. Sometimes we even think that it’s the amount of activity we do that’s the most important thing. Lieutenant Erin Metcalf reflects on this in her article on page 11 where she asks, ‘Have we turned busyness into an idol?’ Being busy can be a kind of status symbol that boosts our ego, she says, but what’s more important is that we find our worth in a relationship with God.

This thought is echoed by Professor Michael Wang, whose viewpoint on page 10 explores the value of Christian mindfulness. It’s about becoming aware of the presence of Christ in all we do and thereby deepening our relationship with him and being renewed.

I think these two contributors have got to the heart of the matter. If our activities are not only to produce good outputs and helpful outcomes but also transformative impacts, they need to be rooted in our relationship with God.

With that in mind it’s good to know that this year’s territorial theme of Effectiveness is being interpreted as Fruitfulness. That’s a thoroughly biblical concept and it places the emphasis on our relationship with Christ as branches of the true vine. If all our new members – and everyone else – grasp that, then we’re much more likely to make the kind of impact that this world so desperately needs.

From the Editor,

LIEUT-COLONEL JONATHAN ROBERTS

 

 

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Salvationist

Salvationist

Salvationist is a weekly 24-page magazine for members and friends of The Salvation Army - with news, features, Bible studies and much more