by Lt. Colonel Darlene Harvey
Officer Resource and Development Secretary

The new year is a great time to evaluate our spiritual lives and set goals. When 2020 began I was excited to get the last spot for the territory’s spiritual formation group Thrive. Little did I know what would happen that year and how important it would be to my spiritual growth during a challenging time. Through this class I learned more about spiritual disciplines and writing a rule of life which helped my spiritual journey stay fresh. It also provided a place where I could share my feelings, prayer requests and what I was learning through the assigned readings.

The last two years have divided us in many ways. Congregations have been separated by COVID-19, family and friends have been divided by opposing views, and people have been polarized by strong convictions. More than ever, we as the Church need to be united in love.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

As I think about the development of my spiritual life, I see how important these verses are to my journey. Although my mom introduced me to faith and my brother gave me my first reader-friendly Bible as a child, The Salvation Army is where I became part of discipleship groups that helped me grow as a Christian and gave me opportunities to serve using my gifts.

As a teenager, I was a part of corps cadets which not only taught me about quiet time but gave me a space for group Bible studies and service.

When Dave and I were first married and he was a youth director, we purchased a home and wanted to use it for ministry. Simultaneously, Linda Himes (then Bandy) wanted to start a home Bible study for the corps’ teens; so, we crammed as many young people into our small living room as possible and eventually moved to our basement.

As a young officer, I recognized the need for group Bible studies where I would have accountability and daily homework. Bible Study Fellowship became a foundation for my spiritual formation.

Currently, I am part of a women’s Bible study offered at the Elgin, Ill., Corps. Although my personal devotional times include using Lectio365 and the YouVersion Bible app daily reading plan. I find I need a group where I share life with others. To thrive individually and collectively, we need to come together. In addition to our daily individual quiet times, we need to be part of a group that studies God’s Word and prays together and provides accountability and support for each other.

I pray as you begin this new year you will seek God’s guidance on how you can come together with other believers so that you can thrive in 2022.

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