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Response to Pillar Six Of General Eva Burrows’ Agenda for the Future
by Captain Jason Dockeray

“To reaffirm the importance of our young people.”

 

General Burrows was an inspirational leader, and her writings continue to challenge and encourage us towards mission and the future that God has laid out for us as The Salvation Army.  One example of inspirational writing from the General comes as part of her “Salvation Army Agenda for the future.”  While it is worth noting that not all of the points in her agenda have aged well, I was overwhelmed and encouraged by the timelessness of her words in section six: 

 

“To reaffirm the importance of our young people.”

 

To realise that our young people are a great resource of our movement, and the need to show them how important they are to us and to God.

 

To give them a priority in our Corps programming that they deserve.

 

To give them a voice in our advisory forums; to allow them scope to express their aspirations and interests.

 

To ensure that corps life, both junior and senior, is integrated in a total corps concept.

 

To provide training and education in the Scriptures and in the principles of Salvation Army life, as a sound basis for Christian experience and salvationist service.

 

To continue to place earnestly before our young people the challenge of the call to officership as the call of Christ himself to full-time ministry. This is a challenge which no young salvationist should refuse to face up to.

 

 In this section General Burrows reaffirms the importance of young people.  While the challenge represented in this document is now decades old, the importance and emphasis she enforces is as important today as it was when it was first written.  

 

As an advocate and supporter of children and youth, I frequently hear voices of leaders saying we need to support our young people because they are the future of our Church.   While this is true, and I am happy it motivates some to work with and disciple children and youth, what General Eva understood and fully believed is that is our youth are “a great resource” not only for the future, but for today as well. Youth have kingdom value in their homes, their schools, and their churches.  General Eva understood that, and her words continue to challenge us to see the potential of our children and youth to lead now.

 

In my role as Territorial Children and Youth secretary I have the privilege of connecting with youth and children across the territory, and I am excited to say that we have vibrant young leaders across the Territory from the East to the West and North to South. Depending on where you serve, it may appear that children and youth ministry is in decline.  And, while I will admit that numbers and stats have declined over the years, those who remain and those have who have recently been called into the mission of The Salvation Army are here and they are passionate.  Our young people love Jesus and desperately want to serve Him, they are fully on board with our vision and the mission of The Salvation Army to share the love of Jesus to meet human needs and to be a transforming influence in communities across the territory.   I can testify that in many places across this territory our youth are leading the charge.

 

As such, I would encourage you, the reader, in the words of the General, “to provide training and education in the Scriptures and in the principles of Salvation Army life, as a sound basis for Christian experience and salvationist service.”   As we train and develop our young people, we will be making Christ centered others focused disciples, who in turn will make disciples themselves.  Many of our young people are well on their way to a life of service and mission.  In fact, right now, sitting in corps across the territory we have hundreds of young people who were trained and developed at camps across the territory this summer, who are ready to lead at the local level. I implore you, as the General once did, to listen to the voices of our young people and provide them with tangible opportunities to serve and lead.

 

Finally, as you engage your children and youth, join them as discernment partners, helping them to see where God is moving and leading in their life as I am as confident God is still calling our young people to a life of mission and service as officers and soldier leaders in The Salvation Army.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

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