LOVE-SERVE-DISCIPLE: Answering FAQs with the Territorial Leaders
Majors Matt and Jamie Satterlee sat down with Commissioners Kelly and Donna Igleheart, leaders of the Southern Territory, to ask a few frequently asked questions (FAQs), to gain some clarity on the Territorial Priorities, and to discuss their vision for the territory for the new year.
LOVE – SERVE – DISCIPLE: What is this initiative?
Commissioner Kelly: We wrapped the mission statement around everything because we’re loving and we’re serving and discipling all people, regardless of where they come from, their experience, or how they feel about themselves… That ‘All for Jesus’ banner, speaking into the mission statement and coming alongside what people are already doing and what we can help them do even better, hopefully helps give direction.
Commissioner Donna: We can do programs, we can do social services, disaster work, but everything has to bring honor and glory to Jesus. He has to be the centerpiece, the focus of all that we do.
Is this a new program?
Commissioner Kelly: Corps officers are already doing so much in their local communities, from Sunday school, evangelistic campaigns, to youth programs. So, the initiative here was to come alongside some of the things that they’re doing already.
Of course, you keep caring for your kids, character building programs, Bible studies. You’re reaching out, trying to change your community for Christ. But for this particular year in discipleship, we’re focusing in four key areas that they’re most likely doing already… Maybe they could develop deeper. Maybe they could go higher in their ask for God, in their expectations.
Commissioner Donna: We don’t need another program, what we need is to be The Salvation Army. We have everything we need… We just need to grab ahold of it and move forward in 2024. The time is now.
Why are we doing this?
Commissioner Donna: We need to be moving. There’s an urgency. There are young people who are lost. They don’t know which way is right. There are little children who are looking at us. There are single mothers. There are fathers who are raising children on their own. There are grandparents who are tired. And there’s this urgency that I just feel as a Salvation Army, we can’t retreat. We have to lean in as much as we can… No more waiting.
Commissioner Kelly: That we bring people into a working and living and loving relationship with Jesus, that is the most critical thing. Then how they work that out is up to them. The Bible certainly gives some direction: that we should assemble together, that we should be accountable to one another, and being disciples.
Commissioner Donna: I love seeing what the corps are doing this time of year as we launch out into a new beginning. I’m really counting on our officers. I’m counting on our local leaders. One of the priorities is leadership development, and everyone has a part to play. That is my heart as well, our heart, that everyone would find their place. That they would find their avenue of ministry, whatever that might look like.
Commissioner Kelly: We’re trying to give them some extra energy and a boost in those areas that are priorities for this year.
Commissioner Donna: 2024, I believe, will be the brightest year. Our heart’s desire is that men and women, boys and girls, find Jesus, that they find their place in our Army.
Who should be involved in this?
Commissioner Donna: The corps officers are our heroes. It’s what motivates me, seeing officers and volunteers coming together, board members, auxiliaries, and they unite together to bring that hope and to bring that helping hand to families that are in need.
And I don’t think we can discount our employees. They have such a significant part to play in our Army. I pray that they get ahold of this as well, that they can embrace the priorities, and that they can just feel like it’s not something distant, but it’s part of what they’re called to as well.
What do we do?
Commissioner Kelly: Discipling and discipleship start with a circle that I draw around my own feet. What I’m calling us all to is before we start off on anything, start with you. Start with me. Start with us. How can I disciple a community if I, myself, am not a disciple? How can I care and love for people if I don’t first care and love myself? … It starts with me.
Is there a new initiative? Is there something that another church is doing? Is The Salvation Army in El Paso doing something that The Salvation Army in Miami would like to replicate? So, as we bring more attention to those areas through the Southern Spirit, through podcasts, through videos and the various ways that we can communicate that need and that particular strength, other corps can come alongside and use that to their advantage.
The territorial events will be focused on these areas, so there’ll be some energy in those places for things that they’re already doing. In addition to that, as we know in our territory, we have so many amazing resources available, and they all seem to fall in these categories that we’re speaking of. So, we’re trying to get those into a lane where they’re easier to find and easier to access.
We’re all familiar with the ‘just do it’ scenario, but I would add to that, ‘just say it,’ because how can I be a witness if I don’t also communicate it with love and compassion?
We love and serve because of who we are in Christ, but we also speak about it and share because people need to hear those words: that there is hope, there is future, there is eternity, and there is today. And Jesus is in and amongst all of it.
What’s next? It’s pretty simple: just do it and just say it.
Commissioner Donna: And be excited about it!