All his life, Dr. David Winters has attended holiness meeting on Sunday morning. Growing up as an officers’ child, David’s faith was shaped by his parents’ godly living and instruction but also by participation in corps programs like junior soldiers and corps cadets. As an adult he attended and led Bible studies and served as a local officer, including being corps sergeant-major, for several years at one of the territory’s largest corps, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

Yet as a delegate to the National Seminar on Holiness (NSH) in 2021, David was surprised to discover just how little he had actually reflected about holiness and how much he still had to learn. For the first time, he thoughtfully considered concepts like what it means to be “blameless” and how to define “entire sanctification.”

“I quickly found out I had overestimated my understanding of holiness,” he said. “Given my opportunities over the years, I should know a lot more about holiness than I do.”

At NSH the teaching of National Ambassadors for Holiness Dr. Bill and Rev. Diane Ury, National Commander Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder and others challenged David to expand his knowledge and understanding. He was humbled as he wrestled with his own attitudes, previously considering it too complicated or even unattainable. He vowed to do better.

At the end of the seminar, delegates were encouraged to share what they had learned with their family, friends and those who attend their corps, something David was determined to do regardless of feeling inadequate. He began searching for resources to help him explore holiness concepts with others at his corps.

“I thought I would find an established curriculum titled something like ‘Introduction to Holiness’ with which I could lead a small group at the corps,” he said. “I searched and didn’t find one.”

Feeling compelled by God, David was undeterred and began assembling a “by a beginner for other beginners” curriculum on holiness in hopes of providing a practical resource that could be used as a conversation starter in a small group setting. The Becoming Holy curriculum took shape as he reviewed notes from NSH, studied Scripture and referenced resources like The Salvation Army’s Handbook of Doctrine.

“I want to make the discussion of becoming holy accessible and understandable,” said David. “I want those who are not thinking about holiness to get interested and talking about becoming holy.”

Piloting the material in a Sunday school class made up of soldiers, residents of a halfway house and a few retired officers, it quickly became apparent to David he wasn’t only sharing about holiness but facilitating a discussion in which participants learned from one another.

“The less I spoke, the more I learned, and the more interesting the discussion,” David mused. “It was through the discussion group that my understanding of holiness really came into focus.”

After some revision, he finally felt it was ready to be shared with others and contacted the territorial corps and community mission department which vetted the material and enthusiastically supported its use as a resource for officers and corps leaders to utilize in promoting discussions about holiness. At Central Bible Leadership Institute last year, David presented the curriculum during a 90-minute session attended by 25 adult delegates which allowed even more finetuning before its release this year to the territory.

“I believe that learning about holiness is not just from books or lectures,” said David. “The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and He speaks to us not just individually but also as part of a community of believers. The Holy Spirit will teach us as we search the Scriptures together.”

Navigate here to download the Becoming Holy curriculum.

 

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