JAC Online

The 2030 Dilemma
by Commissioner Joe Noland


I have recently published two books with a dilemma theme: “The Evangelism Dilemma” and The Holiness Dilemma.” I have another about to be published: “STUCK! The Leadership Dilemma” (Available at www.bit.ly/JN-books).


One theme running through all of them is what I have termed, “The Noland Law of Soul-Saving Diminishing Returns.” The Salvation Army was created to be a salvation and holiness factory. It began on a street corner, very simply, but with astonishing soul-saving productivity.


Over time, its corporate infrastructure grew until it became a world-wide respected and acclaimed brand, integrating both a social and spiritual ethos. It was especially so during times of disaster when productivity soared, and the brand flourished.


Meanwhile, while there were certainly exceptions, this integrated ethos began to splinter, insidiously, into two separate, but not necessarily coequal parts. And the soul-saving decline was precipitous.


Fast forward to 2020 and a global disaster, unprecedented in our lifetime, the fear of death dominating its headlines. What an opportunity to re-integrate that ethos and lead the way in presenting the eternal, life-saving Gospel message.


Question? Did we rise to the occasion? During a time of extreme lockdown, social distancing and fear, were we able to harness the wave of the future, social media and live streaming, in a way to counteract those diminishing returns?


Were we able to capitalize on our Social Gospel brand in unprecedented ways during unprecedented times? Revive that unique, integrated ethos? Or was it business as usual? If not and if so, what will the future look like a decade from now? Continuing soul-saving diminishing returns? This is the dilemma we face.


On a positive note, let me applaud all those who gave Online Church the good old college try. There were some very creative moments, but mostly it was the same old, same old, except in an empty auditorium, standing behind a pulpit looking into a camera.


I would like to have seen us creatively merge our “Doing the Most Good” with “Winning the Most Souls.” And not necessarily at 11 AM on Sunday, but rather at a time when most of the people are to be got at. And, yes, we are novices at social media marketing skills, me included.


What an opportunity, now, to bring the most creative and innovative minds together, territorially or globally, to re-imagine the year 2020 for implementation in 2030. To strategize ways of combining social media with the Social Gospel in such a way as to reverse the flow of soul-saving diminishing returns.











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