by Captain AJ Zimmerman
As a teenager, I was very critical of my corps officers. I didn’t understand the amount of work, compassion and faith it took to wear those red epaulettes. But as a 25-year-old lieutenant in my first corps appointment 500 miles away from home in a place I hadn’t know existed, I began to understand the weight of this calling called officership.
One year of preaching, youth ministry, women’s ministries, social services and being a vital voice in the community taught me that my corps officers should have been given a medal for how seamlessly they did it all—while listening to me complain.
I was in their shoes. One day in the afterschool program I had a conversation with a teenager who felt like I was not doing a good job. While he may have been right, I had a sneaking suspicion he was frustrated I’d missed his basketball game. Though he’d been coming to “The Sal” for years to play, he was coming regularly to destroy this 6-foot-seven-inch lieutenant on the court. To him, my job was to open the gym and lose at basketball while wearing a strange suit and dress shoes.
I began to realize God had woven all the pieces of my life together, even the fact I was tall but couldn’t play basketball, for ministry and His glory. Everything was to build His Kingdom. It was exciting to develop relationships and share God’s love in a very natural way. Sometimes I was overwhelmed because I couldn’t be three places at once; other times, I was frustrated I lacked certain skills, but God always gave me what I needed.
Eventually, I got to see that teenager’s basketball game and realized I wasn’t the only one he destroyed. While that was gratifying, I was excited when on a Sunday morning he walked into the worship service with a smirk on his face and sat down to listen to me preach.
Is officership hard? Absolutely. But it’s also a privilege. God is so good! His plans are rich and satisfying. I am so grateful He has chosen to use me.