The leaders of 126 international and territorial branches of the Salvation Army met in New Jersey for the triennial International Conference of Leaders, April 29-My 7, 2004. Following the weeklong meeting, the leaders jointly issued a statement to embody the passions and heart concerns of the conference delegates, in their service to the Salvation Army.
We affirm that the essence of Salvationism is the love of Jesus Christ that knows no boundaries, calling us especially to the lost, the marginalized, the exploited and the neglected, the delegates wrote in the joint statement.
The carefully drafted statement began with the efforts of a drafting committee on the first day. In the next few days, the delegates held plenary sessions to read over and discuss the statement, until it was approved on the final meeting.
General John Larsson and the Chief of Staff Israel L. Gaither lead the conference, and read the final conference statement to provide direction and inspiration to all Salvationists wherever they might be carrying on the Army's God-given mission.
The following is the statement in its entirety, as released by the International Salvation Army:
A Declaration of Renewal
April 29 - May 7 2004
The Salvation Army International Conference of Leaders convened under the theme "Renewal - See I am doing a new thing."
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it is springing up, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43: 18-19)
In his keynote address, General John Larsson affirmed: "God is doing a new thing in the Army right now and right here. It is my hope that, as we share together these days around the theme of 'renewal,' we will be reassured that God is indeed doing this new thing."
We, the leaders together in conference in New Jersey, USA, waited for God to show us the new thing that He is doing with The Salvation Army in the world today.
We recognize that the action-oriented nature of the movement has sometimes caused us not to await God's direction.
In the spirit of repentance we humbly respond to God and obediently accept the call to prayer and the seeking of His will. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14 NIV
We embrace the future, desiring to know our potential as God sees it.
We affirm that the essence of Salvationism is the love of Jesus Christ that knows no boundaries, calling us especially to the lost, the marginalized, the exploited and the neglected.
It is this love which:
· must burn in the heart of every Salvationist and leader;
· calls us to a renewed commitment to listen to God in prayer;
· engages us with the world in the integrated mission of soul saving, discipling, serving humanity and transforming society;
· compels us to actively engage in Kingdom growth;
· provokes our concern for the unevangelized peoples of the world;
· leads us to mutual respect in strengthening teams and mission partnerships;
· requires us to give liberally in support of the mission of The Salvation Army.
· that we are a world movement committed to world evangelization - to all people and to the whole person - recognizing the Holy Spirit's gracious direction to the unreached, including children and youth.
· that the truth of the Gospel must not only be declared but also be evident in the life of every Salvationist.
· that the participation of all in mission and ministry is vital to reach the whole world for God.
· our interdependence and global connectedness as partners in mission and celebrate our God-given unity in diversity as part of the body of Christ.
· the necessity to develop mission strategies for world evangelization, holistic ministry, social transformation and financial stability in every territory and command.
· the importance of identifying and developing spiritual leaders to meet tomorrow's missional challenges.
We declare our personal commitment to God and to discover those new things that he wants us to do.
We are confident in God that The Salvation Army remains part of His plan as we submit to Him under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
As a Great Commission Army called to "Go and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19 NIV), we joyfully accept the General's challenges:
· to discover our identity as a people renewed in Christ.
· to regard every Army unit as a " mission team."
· to attain, worldwide, 2 million soldiers, junior soldiers, and adherent members by 2010.
· to combat the evil of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
· to uphold the principle of self-denial in the renamed international self-denial world mission fund.
The world for God!
I give my heart, I will do my part.