Soldiers’ Forum Updates
The following subjects were discussed by the Territorial Soldiers’ Forum at its first two meetings. You can find their recommendations which were approved by the territory’s leaders and are in the process of being implemented below.
Keep sharing your ideas, needs and concerns. Your voice matters!
Communication Directly with Soldiers
It has been apparent that soldiers, adherents and individuals who consider The Salvation Army their church home are very frequently unaware of pertinent information regarding The Salvation Army in their division and in the territory, its happenings and particular, for our purposes, the Soldiers’ Forum—all of which are vital for the Salvation Army’s stakeholders.
1. Corps officers provide the name and email of 1–2 soldiers/adherents who are willing to be a contact person for the Soldiers’ Forum for their corps. Ideally, this person would be the Corps Sergeant-Major (CSM), but doesn’t have to be, especially if a corps does not have a Sergeant-Major. This person would be able to receive information from the forum regarding not only what’s happening with the Soldiers’ Forum but also what is happening in their division and in the territory, as well as provide information to the Soldiers’ Forum regarding what they are experiencing at the corps level.
2. For there to be a web page featuring soldiers of the Central Territory along with social media sites that would be inclusive of, but not specific to, the Soldiers’ Forum.
3. Divisional Program Departments be willing to specifically reach out to and collaborate with their Divisional Sergeant-Major and Assistant Sergeant-Major to again ensure direct connections and communication are made with corps members/attenders regarding information, events, activities, educational and enriching experiences.
4. Encourage all corps to hold regular soldiers’ meetings which would serve as an excellent means of communication with the broader populace of our corps, particularly those without online access. We believe this would encourage participants to engage fully in the mission of their church home.
5. Including the younger demographic in discussion of communication would be helpful in identifying the most effective and current methods.
Training for Key Leadership Positions
Many corps struggle to have quality, committed leadership, particularly in key local officer positions. It has been felt across the territory that we do not have accessible training or training material to train our local officers to be leaders for their particular position within their corps.
1. The Soldiers’ Forum recommends standardized training content be made available in every division for key local officer positions as we believe corps ministries will be strengthened by having confident, invested leaders. Corps officers would benefit, as well, from knowing what is expected of their local officers.
2. Training would begin with the CSM position, and then hopefully be able to offer further trainings such as Young People’s Sergeant-Major (YPSM), and other local officer positions.
a. Sessions could be held at divisional events, such as Pilgrimage, and/or offered as online modules.
b. Additional opportunities to enhance spiritual growth and development and to exchange best practices should be encouraged.
c. There should be one training course available for the whole territory for each local officer position.
d. Ideally these training courses would not only be offered regularly but would eventually be required for individuals to be able to hold those positions.
Structure for Soldier/Adherent Input
“Your Voice, Your Army,” the approved branding of the Territorial Soldiers’ Forum, is the rallying cry for its existence. The forum requests for every attender of Salvation Army worship services and programs across the Central Territory to be free to offer their vision and speak to areas of concern about the future of their denomination.
1. Surveys (utilizing Microsoft Forms or another platform) be disseminated, first at the corps level, and eventually divisional and territorial. We recommend a standing portal be established to allow for regular surveys to be implemented.
2. Data from a survey can serve as a barometer of overall corps health, impact of internal and external mission expressions, and the engagement of their constituents. This method may reveal if supporters have truly adopted the stakeholder mindset and are fully invested in Kingdom-building.
a. The Western Division Divisional Sgt.-Major (DSM) and Assistant Divisional Sgt.-Major (ADSM) have experienced measurable success with the utilization of this tool, and analysis of the results has allowed the DSM, ADSM and members of their forum to identify ministry achievements to be celebrated, red flags and areas for potential growth, and to be actionable in addressing the information gleaned with corps officers and divisional leadership.
b. Soldiers, adherents and corps attenders need to understand protocol for ensuring their voices are heard, particularly if they lack confidence in sharing their ideas and feelings. The survey can provide that safe space for participants to be forthright in their responses, as they would be intentionally anonymous.