This was first published in the magazine Das Forum, December 2016.
The beginning and the end are important matters in many things. All cultures have ceremonies connected to the beginning and the end of a human life. How we begin and end our days often develop into familiar routines, etc.
A foundation for resting in God is to accept the fact that I am not a victim to changes around me and I am not either compelled to accept everything. As his child through salvation, I belong to his story in this world and he is part of my story. And my calling in life is interwoven with yours and many others. Endings and beginnings are just a part of life. The difference between being a victim under them or being victorious through them is to be sensitive to what God says, to discern his guidance.
We see already in the young movement of the followers of Jesus that opinions varied and changes came. Some came through the intervention by God. Some were caused by opposition to what the Good News claimed. The book of Acts is like a college course in how disciples of Jesus handle the unexpected. No one, not even Peter the Rock, were safe from making mistakes. And no one were beyond the offer of grace and reconciliation.
In an old movement like the Salvation Army we can sometimes hear the false teaching that if we continue to do what we have done and what used to meet needs, we are safe from criticism and we fulfil our calling. That is indeed false teaching. The criteria for doing God’s will is not to compare activities as such. For example: Outdoor meetings can be useless in reaching people, and they can be just the right thing. Singing modern worship songs can alienate people to God or they can catch the heart of newcomers. Having a café in the corps can be the starting point for building relationships or it can waste the time of the leader, stopping him/her from training soldiers to find their gifts and place of service.
I think you get the idea. We shall stop doing things that God has not called us to do, activities that bear no fruit of God. To discern if that is the case you should come together in honest talk and prayer. Test your motives both for continuing, closing and what shall be done instead.
If we stop doing something. Don’t see it as a defeat. Celebrate what has been achieved in the past and celebrate visions and beginnings of what God will do with and through you instead. By setting the goal to work to make His Kingdom come in the lives of people and society, and not having repeating activities as our goal, we make sure that we are part of The Whole World Mobilising movement.
To be concrete on this theme, it is time for me to celebrate and say thank you to Lieut-Colonels Marsha-Jean and David Bowled for their (almost) 20 years’ ministry in this Territory. They and their family has been a good gift from God to us. They will be greatly missed. But we also celebrate with them their new beginnings in Canada. And we are happy to walk with God into the future with Lieut-Colonels Hervé and Deborah Cachelin.
Link Berliner Morgenpost, interview with Shaw Coleman, the Limelight Collective.