The First 90 Days of Officership – Week One

By: Lt. Rachel Martin

Four weeks ago Jared and I were commissioned as the corps plant officers in Culpeper, VA. It was every bit the emotionally charged and breathtaking moment we had anticipated for two years yet already it has become a blur of the past. Life has radically changed.

Though racially and economically diverse like Atlanta, Culpeper’s size and pace of life is very different. It no longer takes me 30 minutes to drive 6 miles and I rarely wait in a line for more than a few minutes. Of course the most impactful change has simply come with the transition from cadet to officer. Rather than following a schedule that has been set for me, I create my own agenda around the demands of work and the needs of my family. I don’t spend my evenings begging my rambunctious boys to be less noisy. For a small town girl who expects to keep moving and craves a good deal of autonomy, Culpeper is paradise.

Our command encompasses the Warrenton, VA. Service Center as well as the Culpeper operations. Between two stores and the Warrenton office there are eleven current employees (add to that four vacancies soon to be filled) and two advisory councils. We reside in Culpeper with the goal of planting a corps in this community.  The details are not worked out and success is not guaranteed, but we believe that God is going to do something amazing here. That belief is enough to put wind in our sails.

We had been involved in a corps plant before, so we were thrilled with our appointment. Jared is a natural born risk taker and relishes the excitement of new beginnings. I am an adventurer wannabe who deeply fears failure and spends a lot of time assessing risk and deciding it is all just too dangerous. By the grace of God we manage to work together to love people and get stuff done. I think we make a pretty good team.

So what was our first week like as corps plant officers? Probably not much different than our session mates’. We gave signatures to the banks, greeted employees, met with our accountants to look over financials. We felt overwhelmed … and we prayed. We made some tough decisions to cut costs and have had to issue a write-up. We led worship services. We are humbled by a clear understanding that our work is made lighter by competent employees, skilled bookkeepers and the ministry of officers and soldiers who have laid invaluable foundations. The greatest blessings have come in the form of new friends who make this place feel more like home and expand our vision of what God can do.