Former TSM Stresses Importance of Active Local Leadership
By: Laura Poff
Dan Hager came to the Tallahassee, Florida Corps in 1986 after years of invitations from his mother, Amy.
“I had gone as a child and believed in God, but I had stayed away from churches because they were full of hypocrites,” he recalled. “But then I heard they had room for one more.”
He became a soldier in 1991 and soon after went to the National Seminar on Evangelism at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs where he was told by then Territorial Sergeant Major Robert Burns, “God has a special plan for you and others’ salvation will depend on you.”
He soon became an active local officer, eventually serving on DSINC (Divisional Soldiers Interests, Needs and Concerns) in Florida and TSINC before becoming the territorial corps sergeant major in 2009. He has been asked by Major Rick Raymer, territorial men’s ministries secretary, to participate in a video on holiness that will be shown at the Territorial Men’s Conference in June.
During his time on DSINC and TSINC, Hager advocated for local officers and the importance of communication to The Salvation Army’s overall mission. He continues in these efforts as DSM in Florida.
He will be one of many local officers represented at the conference. He said that local officers strengthen corps and are a necessary part of corps leadership.
“I have the utmost respect and love for officers,” he said. “But not all are created equal, not all have the same gifts. The gifts they have may not be the best fit for the corps they are in.” Active local leadership provides stability as corps officers come and go.
“Our corps need to be strong, and all that strength comes from and is built on local officers,” he said.
Soldiers who have a job to do at their corps become more involved and committed to the corps’ programs and ministry. “When you have a job at your corps, you grow, when you get involved, you grow,” he said. “A Salvationist who just comes Sunday and goes home, they’re going to be be in the 1st grade for as long as they live.”
Conferences also help new soldiers widen their scope of The Salvation Army’s work, meet with other local officers and understand where their corps fits into the wider division, territory and international organization as a whole.
“The more I got involved with DSINC and TSINC, the more I became privy to the hard, dedicated, passionate work that officers and soldiers do,” he said. “Local officers are the backbone of the corps, the pillars, and the officers that come in and out, they are the leaders and the icing on the cake.”