The 2030 Dilemma
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
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
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.