Fire 'em all
"I'd fire'em all if I were you."
That was my advice to my divisional youth secretary at the time,
Captain Mark Bell. New to The Salvation Army, I had quit my job with the
railroad to work at Camp Happyland before entering Salvation Army officer
training that fall. After listening patiently to my rationale for firing every
last one of the camp employees, Captain Bell asked me a brilliant question:
"Jim, if I fired them all, who would run the camp?"
Over the years that question has stuck with me as I have watched
divisional youth secretaries handle the multi-faceted and complex jobs of
running camp, being an advocate for candidates going to training, recruiting
candidates and directing youth councils, Girl Guards, Sunbeams, Adventure
Corps, Corps Cadets and young adult retreats. That's not to mention their
duties as building managers and finance/budget officers.
What impresses me most about divisional youth secretaries is their
unrelenting patience with teenagers and young adults as they bounce from mature
individuals with the wisdom of the ages to brain-numbed individuals performing
Twenty years ago I watched my divisional
youth leaders, Captains Mark and Alice Bell, exhibit love and patience as they
handled individuals who were trying to make life decisions without the benefit
of fully-formed brains. Today, I sit at a desk typing this article after
hearing my campers come back from camp saying, "I want to be just like
Major D and Mrs. Major D (Kent and Melody Davis)."
know that our youth leaders, Majors Melody and Kent Davis, are better people
than I would ever hope to be. This summer I saw them deal with campers, staff
and officers with equal amounts of compassion, grace and good humor, even when
it was obvious that they were worn with the work of the summer. In the same
circumstances I would be impatient, ill-humored and downright cranky.
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch
them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He
said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone
who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter
it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and
blessed them. Mark 10:13-16
Divisional youth secretaries
and their staffs all across our territory are bringing children to Jesus. What
are we doing to support them in this great effort? I would suggest that the
small things would count in lifting them up in their personal and professional
lives. When the kids come back from youth councils fired up for Jesus, are we
allowing the youth leaders to share in that joy, with follow-up notes and
telephone calls to let them know that their months of planning and prayers have
resulted in life-changing occurrences in young people? Do we allow ourselves
the privilege in our private devotions and corps prayer events to pray for them
as people in authority as biblically mandated? Are we encouragers or
discouragers to them?
By the same token, what are we doing
to support our long-suffering corps cadet counselors in the corps? What about
the young people's sergeant-majors? Are our most frequent words to them
complaints about the noise the children are making during the service? Is our
only conversation concerning the youth about how they should be better
Our children, our young people, our young adults,
see and hear all of this. They sense whether they are welcomed and loved or if
they are merely tolerated. If we are not careful, we will lose the young people
who rearrange the songbooks, who leave the bathrooms dirty, who are not always
careful to be quiet when it is time to be. They may decide to leave our halls.
Then who will run The Salvation Army of the next generation?
‘Gentlemen, this is a
Coach Vince Lombardi and his
struggling Green Bay Packers were at the end of their rope. A long string of
losses had already sunk their season, and the coach decided that the best
course of action was to go back to the very basics.
statement must have dumbfounded the players, but it was the first step in
building a championship dynasty by which others would be measured.
Jesus went back to the basics to answer Nicodemus in a
heart-to-heart conversation that lasted all night. Nicodemus had asked how one
could be saved, and Jesus could have given him long discourses with such
theological depth that not even the most learnéd rabbi would fully
The answer Jesus gave was simple and true:
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John
Never mind what doctrinal differences you and I may
have. Don't worry about what observances you practice and which ones I
My question for you today is: "Are you born
again?" If you know what that means, then you probably are - however if
the term "born again" confuses or makes you uncomfortable, then you
probably aren't. But you can be!
Becoming born again is
easy to do - in fact, Jesus has already done all the work. All you have to do
is believe in faith that He is your Savior, and then make Him your Lord.
It is "square one" in getting your life right, and
it's the first step toward what God the Father wants for you - a dynasty
with Him that lasts forever.
Opening in grand
The Winston-Salem, N.C., Area Command recently
celebrated the grand opening of its new thrift store on Peters Creek Parkway.
An estimated 150 shoppers were lined up when the doors opened, and sales for
the first two days topped $25,000. Leading the ribbon-cutting ceremony were
(L-R) Gary Creswell, divisional thrift store operations director; Lt. Colonel
Jack T. Waters, Winston-Salem area commander; Lisa Parrish, director of
operations; and Andy Brown, Winston-Salem Advisory Board
Major Earl Short
Short was promoted to Glory Aug. 13, 2006, from Weirton, W.Va., after a lengthy
illness. The service celebrating his life was held at the Weirton Corps with
Captain Charles Adams, corps officer, presiding and Major Mark Bell,
Maryland-West Virginia divisional commander, speaking. The burial was at
Westview Cemetery in Atlanta. Lt. Colonels Donald and Connie Canning
Earl Luther Short was born Oct. 30, 1921, in
Tulsa, Okla., to George and Ethel Short and was converted as a small boy at The
Salvation Army in nearby Sand Springs. His father passed away when Earl was 2
years old, leaving his mother to raise seven children alone. The Army was
prominent in the family's life, and at a young age Earl set his goal to be
an officer. In the fall of 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he
served over three years.
While he was stationed close to
Charleston, S.C., he fell in love with Nellie Virginia Perry. They were married
Aug. 17, 1945, and moved to Sarasota, Fla. They entered training in Atlanta and
were commissioned June 2, 1947.
They spent 37 years serving
faithfully in corps appointments in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and
Maryland. Baltimore (Hampden) was their last appointment before entering
honored retirement Aug. 31, 1984. Earl continued his ministry during
retirement, serving as corps sergeant major in Anniston, Ala., and teaching a
Sunday school class for the men of the rehabilitation center. He loved people,
was a prayer warrior and faithfully preached the Word of God. Even at the
assisted living facility where he lived the past few years, he and Nellie were
known for their Christian witness and example.
include his loving wife of over 60 years, Nellie; daughters Major Virginia
(Dewey) Alderson and Mary Ethel (William) Travers; sister Ethel Short;
grandchildren Captain Deborah Alderson, Captain Melissa (August) Pillsbury,
John (Morissa)Travers and Jason (Alecia) Travers; and four great-grandchildren.