The month of June at my church (The Salvation Army) is always a bittersweet time.
It is the time of year when officers (ministers) are transferred from one appointment to another. Much like the Methodist Church, where the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth, came from, The Salvation Army appoints its officers to wherever they are needed. And like good soldiers of Christ, we salute and go.
The appointment process is not taken lightly. Much prayer and consideration go into selecting the right appointment for each officer. The officer’s strengths, skills and family concerns are considered. The community needs are considered to send the best officer or officers to each command.
Officers move, on average, every three to five years. Some stay longer, some shorter. But every year, the anticipation grows, not knowing if this will be the year you “get the call.”
Two years ago, that was me. My husband and I were appointed to move from Mount Airy, North Carolina, to Florence. It was a difficult appointment change, because we had been in Mount Airy for eight years and had really come to love the people and community. But we were also excited about the move, because having grown up in Sumter, we were coming very close to home.
This week, I’ve watched as many friends and comrades have received their moving orders, packed up everything, said their goodbyes to communities they’ve come to love and moved on to their next appointment. And I’ve prayed for each of them, that the Lord would be with them as they go and bless their ministry in their new command.
I am reminded that we, as Christians, all have a calling on our lives: to go where He calls and follow His will. But the good news is, God does not send us where He cannot equip us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “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.” As my friends move on to this next calling upon their lives, I pray that we all may heed the words of the familiar prayer chorus, “Where He leads me, I will follow. I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.”