989 days and counting

by Lt. Matthew Winters

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35, NIV.

This passage brought me into full-time ministry. Though a seemingly simple and easy command in words, it’s not something we as Christians are known for. God challenged me to get this right.

There was a period in my life where all I had was a system of beliefs. It was easy to fall back on them because I was in such close proximity to the good The Salvation Army was doing. I had faith without action. When I look back I wonder if it was faith at all—that is until I heard these verses.

As I became increasingly aware of the grace and love I had received, 1 Corinthians 13:13 came alive for me: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

This is how my wife, Haylee, and I try to lead in our ministry. We are imperfect at best, but the Holy Spirit helps to show our intentions to those around us.

Being officers in our late ‘20s has been difficult at times. We never thought we would be commissioned, sent in charge of a corps in the middle of a pandemic and have to make such important decisions. But when we lead with love, we find people are drawn in whether or not they agree with the decision.

Our appointment in Traverse City, Mich., has been a blessing for our family. We have found the people we serve with are genuinely seeking God and want to know Him better, and we have seen God work in tremendous ways. Our vision is to cultivate an environment where people are loved as Christ first loved us. When someone who faces large bills, homelessness, hunger or loneliness walks through our doors, while we help meet those needs, the best gift we can give is the hope and love of Jesus. If we can get this right, our communities can change radically.

That’s what we’ve been privileged to witness here in Traverse City. Almost three years out from officer training, we are more on fire for the Lord and for the mission. It is not easy, but Kingdom work is a joy and a gift.

May you find encouragement, joy and hope as you serve in your part of the Army.




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