Mission of spiritual growth gets heightened priority
By: Dan Childs
Lt. Colonels Allan and Fiona Hofer arrived in their new appointment at territorial headquarters as secretary and assistant secretary for spiritual life development in April 2017. A few months later, Commissioners Willis and Barbara Howell began their appointment as Southern territorial leaders, and immediately the Hofers’ horizons shifted somewhat.
“On Day 1 after the Howells arrived, they approached us and told us they wanted us to be a voice in the territorial cabinet,” said Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer. “That gave us a place to influence and speak into, thus showing the seriousness of the emphasis on our main mission.”
The Hofers are charged with working with territorial leadership to continually prioritize the spiritual lives of Salvationists, working across sections, departments and commands. They are involved in planning and leadership of spiritually enriching events with a goal of helping people progress toward a Christlike spirit. They promote and share the work of spiritual formation, and resources will soon be available on Ministry Toolkit. They provide input into territorial spiritual growth strategies and facilitate conversations about spiritual formation. They work closely with Pastoral Care Department as well as any other department at territorial headquarters that wishes to involve them. For example, the Hofers will participate in the North American Worship Leaders conference in January as well as a retreat for single officers in February.
Much of their work, however, takes place outside their THQ offices. They are often on the road, traveling to officer’s councils, spiritual life retreats and appearances at corps.
In recent months, much of the Hofers’ focus has fixed on the territory’s efforts to re-establish and deepen its connection with The Salvation Army’s “WHY” of saving souls.
“Our department is all about the WHY and helping bring back the focus on the WHY, which is a soul-saving mission,” said Lt. Colonel Hofer. “But for a soul-saving mission to take place, we need officers and soldiers who are spiritually healthy. Without that, there will be no alignment with the soul-saving mission. If they are not on fire, there can be no desire to win others for Christ.”
Strongly linked with the effort to strengthen and deepen spiritual formation is a territorial spiritual retreat for officers, the first of its kind ever held in the South. The event will take place Jan. 15-18, 2019, at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.
“This event will involve deep soul work,” Lt. Colonel Hofer said. “It is another signal that the leadership of this territory is serious about the WHY.”
The Hofers are also closely involved in the annual Command Reviews emphasizing the need for Spiritual Life Development across the Territory.