by Envoy Greg Irwin
Leadership in The Salvation Army is synonymous with service. The most effective leaders are servants in love with Jesus, engaged in their communities and building the Kingdom of God. It’s leadership in action.
At the Petoskey, Mich., Corps, we have been blessed with people who have been drawn to The Salvation Army from wide and varied backgrounds. Within our corps family, some have found restoration with God; others who have come are already spiritually strong but looking for a place to be the hands and feet of Christ.
We have a family who needed a meal and joined us for our Friday Night Live Community Meal Program four and a half years ago. They ended up volunteering at subsequent meals, then became soldiers and youth leaders in our corps. They oversaw and ran our Christmas toy shop for the last three years and are now cadets at the College for Officer Training.
We have a recovering alcoholic who started his journey with our corps by ringing bells and is now a soldier who leads our Thursday night recovery support dinner and helps lead the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. He also assists with our Sunday night jail ministry and serves as our hospital chaplain.
We have a gentleman who came out of prison four years ago and now is an adherent who leads our NA meetings and is a team captain for one of our emergency meal delivery teams. He also is our main go-to person for building maintenance. We have two other volunteers who each have been the divisional “Man of the Year” in the last four years. Why? They are selfless servants. They were reluctant award recipients because they didn’t desire recognition but just wanted to serve folks and draw them to Christ by example.
Lastly but not to be overlooked is our Summer Youth Mission Team: teen leaders who have adopted the mission to help “Feed the North.” Living out their faith, they deliver produce boxes each week, along with meals and other groceries to low-income areas in our three-county service area. In addition, they assist on Wednesday with our curbside lunch program.
However, they could not accomplish what they do without our adult youth leaders. So, it all ties together. No one is an island. Young and old engage in service that reflects leadership in action.
Without each other, without the call to service, without our local leaders, we would be a corps in name only. Yet, with our local leaders’ development and commitment—and the good Lord’s help and guidance—The Salvation Army in Petoskey is a powerful force for good and Kingdom building.
“But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” Luke 22:26, NLT.