Territorial Headquarters Celebrates Launch of New Territorial Initiative
By: Kristin Mudge
Photos: Laura Dake
Officers and employees of the USA Southern Territorial Headquarters (THQ) joined together on October 19, 2023, to celebrate the launch of the new territorial priorities. The THQ dining room filled to standing room only, attendees enjoying coffee, cookies, donuts, games, and fellowship, as they prepared to learn more about this new initiative and how they would be involved.
Commissioner Donna Igleheart, territorial president of women’s ministries, opened the program by pointing out the banner displayed prominently on stage with the territorial priorities logo. “Three specific headings: LOVE, SERVE, and DISCIPLE. All three are interconnected, love at its core. It’s what we do; it’s what we’re known for: to love the least, the last, and the lost.” She explained that love motivates us to put Jesus at the center of our lives and ministry, directing us toward serving Him and His Kingdom. This, in turn, leads us to disciple – a commitment to faithfully follow Jesus and to encourage one another to do the same. “All for Jesus. Everything that we do must point to Jesus.”
Welcoming all the divisional leaders joining in the festivities through video call, Commissioner Donna said, “Thank you for what you’re going to do in your respective divisions to do your own launch, to proclaim this message, the priorities. We’re counting on you. We know that you’re all in with us. We pray God’s blessing upon you.”
Commissioner Kelly Igleheart, territorial commander, then explained some of the history behind the initiative, saying that the categories listed on the logo had surfaced though several years of research and discussion in many territorial groups. “These 10 items are something that many corps are already doing across the territory, and we just want to acknowledge that work that’s being done.”
He went on to say that this year’s focus will be DISCIPLE. “Under DISCIPLE you’ll see prayer, discipleship, leadership development, and holiness. And this is where we want to make it personal as well as corporate… I can’t force a plan like this to change somebody’s heart for Jesus; that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. But we can set the table. And that is what this endeavors to do.”
Commissioner Kelly encouraged all officers and employees to consider the work they do through the lens of being a disciple and working to disciple others. “It’s our hope that these priorities would be considered for volunteers, for employees, for Salvationists, for officers – anyone really who comes in contact with The Salvation Army. It’s also an opportunity for us to be a witness for Christ.”
He stated that more information and resources will be released over the next year, all with a DISCIPLE focus, and territorial events for the next program year will also emphasize being a disciple of Christ. “All of us together, marching as one Army, focusing on one thing: discipleship. Imagine what we can do when we unify our voices, our resources, and our energy.”
Commissioner Donna further explained, “These are Kingdom priorities… We feel and sense that these came from the very heart of Jesus. So, you’re a part of this, family, everything that we’re going to do, the lenses of LOVE, SERVE, and DISCIPLE under this umbrella: All for Jesus.”
She underlined the importance of the work done by THQ employees, saying that every phone call, every email, every touch point an employee has with anyone in the field is a vital moment of ministry. “Thank you for what you do. Those things that are seemingly small to others, in the Kingdom of God, they are significant.”
Colonel Deborah Sedlar, chief secretary, closed their time together by praying, “We want to be faithful to what you are calling us to be and what you are calling us to do… Teach us how to love as you have loved. Give us servant hearts to serve the way that you have served and cause us to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and to disciple others to love and serve you as well. Lord, please help your Army to be strengthened as we focus our attention on these priorities and as we faithfully give our all for Jesus. We dedicate the territorial priorities to you, for your glory.”
Addressing the divisional leaders joining the meeting remotely, Commissioner Donna said, “We thank you for all that you are doing, for the way that you love, you serve, and you disciple where God has planted your feet today.” Lastly, turning to the room filled with THQ officers and employees, Commissioner Kelly concluded by saying, “Thank you for joining us today. This really is, I believe, a seismic motion in the territory going forward.”
For more resources and ideas on how to plan your own territorial priorities launch party, visit USS Territorial Priorities (ministrytoolkit.org).