Canadian Salvation Army officer, Major Danielle Strickland-Court, who served in the Australia Southern Territory as Social Justice Director from 2008-2011, has announced she is leaving officership. The regular columnist for Others magazine and Others online, who has been serving as the Social Justice Secretary in the USA Western Territory, and just recently back in Canada, shares her journey of reaching this decision.
To say this has been a transition season in my life would be an understatement. Things are changing for me. Internally and externally. What a beautiful beholding when your internal and external worlds change together. There are endless possibilities of kingdom expansion and a beautiful wild wilderness of wonder ahead for all of us. And that itself is breathtaking.
I’ve been an officer in The Salvation Army for 22 years. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that even means, put simply, I am a full-time clergy/minister/leader doing a variety of things that The Salvation Army appointed me to do around the world. It has ranged from local Christian community leadership, church planting, missional training schools, fighting human trafficking, street outreach, food banks, social services, establishing justice departments and advocacy campaigns, teaching, speaking, and writing.
It has been full of amazing challenges and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve Jesus through the Army’s ranks.
For the record, here are some things I love most about The Salvation Army:
1. The mission. The Salvation Army beats with the prophetic drumming of Isaiah 58. As you wade through that calling there is a deep foundational resonance of justice and compassion that flows through its mission. I love it.
2. The people. Some of the best people in the world are part of The Salvation Army. I kid you not. They are selflessly committed to the lost, the last, and the least. They are kind and earthy and practical and visionary. They are wonderful people. People whose shoelaces I’m unqualified to tie. In my life, The Salvation Army has always been a family to me (literally in many cases) and I’m so grateful to have them as my tribe. I belong to them in a very deep tribal kind of way.
3. The practical love. Folks in The Salvation Army have a bent towards practical love. What I mean, is that they flourish when their sleeves are rolled up at the front of the battle dishing out food/hope/shelter/toys and all kinds of practical expressions of love in this cold world. I love the practical nature of their love.
4. Salvation. They are a salvation people. The Salvation Army cares that people know and have a personal relationship with Jesus. This is at the centre of all their work of transformation. I love the gospel centre of The Salvation Army.
5. Their reach. In a comical way as a teenager in rebellious flight, I could never escape The Salvation Army. I used to whisper in a conspiratorial tone, with wide eyes, “they are everywhere”. The Salvation Army stretches out across 128 countries around the world and still shows up at disasters and runs local food banks, community centres and churches in a town near you.
Despite my deep love, or perhaps because of my deep love for the mission, as of 22 December 2017, I will no longer be an officer in The Salvation Army. God has been consistently inviting me to a transition. These days I feel deeply called to use all of my mission, passion, gifts, experience and future to help mobilise the whole church.
I’m certain that we are at an important kingdom expansion in history and the big YES I said to Jesus I will keep saying – daily. To say “Yes” in this season required me to say “No” to some systemic restrictions that would have prevented me from doing what God has clearly called me to do.
This changes nothing of my love affair with The Salvation Army not to mention my even greater love affair with my husband who will remain an officer and receive my full support as a soldier cheering him on!
This decision, albeit full of grief for what I thought it might look like, has increased my availability to God to do what he has always dreamed up and fanned into flame through my little life.
So, I find myself in transition. Internally I’m exploring the depths of God’s amazing love and finding my foundation deeply rooted in him.
Externally, I’m dreaming of the incredible opportunities ahead for the Church as we say “Yes” to the Kingdom coming, and I’m ready to give everything I’ve got – even messy/painful/awesome things – for his glory.