What will my corps look like in the future?
Corps life now has three ways of expression:
- Gathered Worshipping Communities – These are faith expressions of Salvation Army corps life focused on celebrating Jesus and have the primary focus of “sentness”. We are a people called to the whole community to go into all the world (Matthew 28).
- Communities of Hope – These are a regular gatherings created to respond to an “identified need” in the Community. The intention is to walk alongside others and meet need in a holistic way.
- Community Tables – These are regular meetings of 2-12 people who gather to have intentional conversations about life, faith and ways to work together to serve others.
You may have all these expressions faith life operating in your local corps – a growing Sunday Gathered Worshipping Community with a number of Communities of Hope expressions meeting the identified needs of your community, and many Kingdom Tables engaging in healthy life-giving conversations. All are valued. There are no “half-strength lattes” as they all do the work of the church in creating space for healthy community, creating faith pathways, growing in the life of Jesus and worshipping him. The exact style and number of corps expressions will be determined by the needs of the community, the available resources and what we see the Father releasing us into.
The Hope Rising journey is consultative, as it is a journey of reimagining and seeking out God’s preferred future as to what is best for your area. There is the opportunity to discuss each type of new expression with your Corps Leader or Area Officer and there is an open invitation for you to do so.
Will I be consulted about the changes happening?
Yes, this is a consultative process and one that moves us forward. Corps leaders are to meet with other Mission Expression leaders in the Area to ask, “What is God’s preferred future for our whole area? What is God saying to us? What is the best way to be The Salvation Army where we are?” However, the process must be about moving forward as our cause is urgent.
Is Hope Rising in alignment with The Salvation Army founding vision?
Yes. Hope Rising is on a journey of renewal, stripping back the Army to its best, as we seek and partner with God to reimagine what is best for our area. The Salvation Army is called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human need in His name without discrimination. Our intention through 'Hope Rising' is to live out our calling and fulfil our National Vision - 'Wherever there is hardship or injustice, Salvos will live, love and fight, alongside others, to transform Australia one life at a time - with the love of Jesus.'
What role will my Area Officer play in this?
Area Officers will facilitate the journey and will be the first point of contact for each Corps and Mission Expression in the Area.
Will this mean we are going to lose our long-established corps?
Every growing corps in our division has transformed itself in some way. So we need to be open to change. We can honour the past and all that is good in Salvation Army corps life and mission, but we can also build on that with new and creative ways to engage the people around us, believing for a good future with God.
Is this whole strategy purely being driven by sustainability needs?
It is in part, however, it’s actually bigger and more integrated than that. The reality is we have limited resources and we must use them in the best way possible. So, at the heart of this strategy is a very real desire to grow our corps and increase our missional impact in our local communities – to have each and every one a healthy, thriving place where people are coming to faith and growing in their faith. What we are doing now is not working overall. In 1991, Eastern Territory worship attendance numbers were 24,000. Over the past 26 years this number has declined to just 9000. We would love to hear from you and your corps about how God is leading you in a new direction, to grow his Kingdom in your community. Speak to your Corps/Area Officer. Hope Rising is about planting and replanting ministries that are sustainable, healthy and growing.
Is this just an excuse to close some of the small corps?
Some corps may need partners to help find new ways to create healthier communities. We recognise that in some small corps there has been a labour of love to keep the doors open. We honour and acknowledge this sacrificial work. However, we can create new, better, and more Kingdom-effective corps. Our goal is to multiply for health, rather than amalgamate to survive.
I’m from a rural area and our corps consists of less than 10 people. What will happen to us?
For rural areas, we are working on creative ways to ensure health and sustainability. This may mean that corps life may look totally different than your current expression. For example, a Family Store or a Connect Site in your town may become a reimagined Community of Hope with Community Tables taking a faith journey. The key consideration is planning for growth.
Does the Divisional Youth and Children's Secretary Team (DYS) have a voice?
DYS will have representation which will support the Hope Rising journey.
How is the Hope Rising journey being communicated throughout the corps?
There will be on-going communication and please feel free to ask any questions.
When will this take place?
The Hope Rising journey has begun and it is an intentional long-term journey. Speak to your Corps Leader or Area Officer for an update.
Are there any additional resources to assist me, my team or corps in understanding some of these new concepts?
Yes. We will provide you with as much information as you need via the Hope Rising website and more resources are being developed in consultation with frontline staff. You will receive news as these new resources become available.