|1954 High Council|
For me, I'm glad that the Army has embraced 21st Century methods of communication. This is exactly what the visionary William Booth would have done. He's the man that jumped into this new-fangled machine with four wheels we call a car a decided that this would be a good way to get around to the people to share the good news of the Gospel. It even became a handy portable platform! This is the man who, in 1891 with the publication of In Darkest England and the Way Out, proposed what could be called a 19th Century version of Google; what he called The Salvation Army's Intelligence Department.
An indispensable adjunct of this Scheme will be the institution of what may be called an Intelligence Department at Headquarters. Power, it has been said, belongs to the best informed, and if we are effectually to deal with the forces of social evil, we must have ready at our fingers' ends the accumulated experience and information of the whole world on this subject. The collection of facts and the systematic record of them would be invaluable, rendering the result of the experiments of previous generations available for the information of our own. (William Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out, Chapter 6, Section 5).He proposed that this department would collect, and make available, all of the best information around, so that anyone (rich or poor) would be able to contact this department and get information on just about anything... A 19th Century version of Google. William Booth was keen to be on the cutting edge of technology in his day.
Today, for the High Council, there is a Facebook fan page, as well as a Twitter account, and admittedly these are just funneling people over to the High Council Website itself. Still, there is at least a recognition that Salvationists (and others) all over the world are interested in the High Council and the inevitable announcement of who will be the next General of The Salvation Army.
I pray that The Salvation Army continues to embrace modern methods of communication. "Power... belongs to the best informed", said William Booth. I hope that this use of technology continues further than just the High Council. Yes this is an exciting time, and we all love debating what qualities we would like to see in the next General (there's plenty of other blogs and Facebook status updates you can read all that in). At the heart of it is our mission, though. To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human need in his name without discrimination. The method must be adaptable and up-to-date so embracing Facebook and Twitter et al will continue to be important methods of achieving that mission into the future.
May God grant us the wisdom to be like the "men of Issachar" who, although being by far the smallest group mentioned (200), yet they were described as "men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32).