Six-day workweek. Juggling reports, visits, meetings, sermon prep, managing Advisory Boards, parenting. Finding time to dry clean next week’s wardrobe. Fast food dinners…especially in December. Christmas vacation?
The average corps officer puts in at least a 60-hour workweek. Many of them are juggling family life at the same time. They are expected to be a pastor,
a youth worker,
a business executive,
a community liaison,
a social worker,
a social justice enthusiast,
a financial planner,
a janitor…and the list goes on.
The life of a corps officer is no easy task, but it is more appreciated than so many of us take the time to express.
Rather, what many corps officers hear are just the complaints. “The sermon was too long this week.” “He didn’t call me to see where I was last Sunday.” “The chapel is too cold.” “The light bulb over the platform is burnt out…why didn’t they change it before the service?” “The bathrooms are dirty.” “She didn’t say hello to me after the service.”
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
Have you encouraged your corps officer lately? I mean, actually said “thank you” in person, dropped him or her an email or—even better—a card in the mail (with a Starbucks gift card!). Our corps officers work hard for God’s kingdom. And they get little earthly gratitude for it.
We are called to encourage other believers. Don’t forget that includes your corps officer. Your shepherd, learning from the Shepherd, is human…just like you. Your corps officers need encouragement…just like you.
To all of the corps officers out there, your work doesn’t go unnoticed. We get it. You’re in the trenches. You’re on the front lines of battle. You’re winning the war against sin, loneliness, injustice, and evil…whether you are blessed to see it or not from day to day. We know you have good days. We know you have bad days. And we are so very thankful for your commitment to follow God’s calling as officers—as pastors—in this Salvation Army. Thank you.
If you don’t know where to start in encouraging your corps officers, just start by praying for them on a weekly basis. Consider praying this prayer diligently for them, and for their families, from 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12:
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you.”
And we Corps Officers need to remember to appreciate the people who make up our congregations too as many of them put in many hours on top of their day job. All of them are on the frontline interacting daily with their work colleagues, friends and family in a way some of us can hardly remember (or in some cases even imagine) as they work in hostile environments. They carry out the mission of God in the ordinary everyday and have to battle the very secular values of a society that we officers sometimes only touch the edge of.
Having said that the occasional thank you from more than one or two wouldn’t go amiss!