Following the phrase “Called by God…” comes the action of what God has called the officer to do: “…to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” This is the primary mission of every officer in The Salvation Army. The overall job description should read “Proclaim the Gospel”. To neglect this portion of the Covenant is to neglect the key role of an officer. It is the duty of every officer to make the proclamation of the Gospel the priority of their ministry.
On Being A Messenger
I remember sitting in my cubicle at the Central Territorial Headquarters when I worked in the Youth Department. I made it a habit to check the digital bulletin boards a couple times a day for any new information. That day, I opened the bulletin board and saw that there was an announcement from the General with new session names. For those who may not know, each session, or class, at The Salvation Army’s Training College receives a unique session name. These names are used for the sessions at all the Training Colleges around the world.
What excited me the most about this was that my session name was on that list. As I scrolled down, I found my year: 2014-2016 – “Messengers of Light”. My first reaction was, “Now that’s a cool session name!” Every officer would tell you that their session name has had some significance to them. I have found that my session name is a mission to live by – I am to be a Messenger of God’s Light to the world.
Over the next few years, before I actually entered the Training College, I reflected on that name quite a bit. I will admit, the part I reflected on the most was the “Light” portion and what it meant to be light in this dark world. Really, the two portions of my session name go hand in hand. I am a Messenger whose primary responsibility is to deliver the message of the Light. It is my duty to proclaim this message to the people I encounter – the message of the Light that has come to this dark world.
The message that every officer is charged to proclaim is the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. This is our primary message and the one in which The Salvation Army’s entire ministry is grounded upon. It is this message which distinctly sets us apart from simply being another charitable organization. This message, which unites this global Army as one, is that Jesus Christ has come to this earth, lived the perfect life we could never live, died the sacrificial death that we could never provide, and was raised from the dead in triumph over sin and death so that we may be saved through him. It is this good news that God has provided a way for reunion with him that we proclaim to the world!
This message carries with it a warning. As part of this message, we must convey the real consequences of sinful living. God is loving and forgiving and has provided a way for us to have a united relationship with him, but he is also just and jealous and holy. For this reason, God cannot tolerate sin and has revealed to us the ultimate consequence for continued sinful living. In order for God to be just and holy, there must be a consequence for sinfulness. This consequence, eternal separation from God, is part of our message because it is what makes the good news truly good. Our sinfulness necessitates our separation from a holy God, yet Christ came to offer us salvation through himself!
Proclaiming the Gospel in Every Facet
Every officer does not have to have the gift of evangelism in order to proclaim the Gospel. Proclaiming the Gospel is so much more than just meeting people and telling them about Jesus. In fact, we can proclaim the Gospel in every facet of ministry.
One spiritual gift God has given me is to teach and preach. Though not direct one-on-one evangelism, teaching and preaching God’s Word is a way of proclaiming the Gospel. Some are gifted with hospitality. The Gospel of Christ is conveyed through the hospitable actions of the person. What about aspects of officership that may not seem as spiritual? The Gospel can be proclaimed in an Advisory Board meeting by showing how God has worked through The Salvation Army. The Gospel can be proclaimed when driving a person to a medical appointment by showing servanthood. The Gospel can be proclaimed in property maintenance by showing our stewardship of what God has given us and using it for his glory.
The Gospel can, in some way, be proclaimed through every aspect of an officer’s ministry. Proclaiming the Gospel is not always verbal – though this remains an important part of the officer’s duty. The Gospel is seen through what we do and how we act. From preaching on Sunday morning to fixing a dinner meal, the Gospel is the central focus of the officer’s life.
A Call to All
This call to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just reserved for the officer. This is a call to all disciples of Jesus Christ. Anyone who claims to follow Christ is charged with the task of proclaiming the Gospel in whatever manner they can. Just as how the officer proclaims the Gospel in every facet of ministry, so too is it the responsibility of every disciple to proclaim the Gospel in their daily activities. Whether it is at school, work, fellowship with family, friends, or the church, the Gospel can be proclaimed through our words, character, and actions. We all have a mission – how can you best fulfill it?