Money & Mission
Volume VII, Issue 2 - October 19, 2016
Editorial: Mobilized through Mission and Management
By Colonel Mark Tillsley, Chief Secretary
The Territorial Mission Statement clearly defines our overarching objective, out of which the strategic priorities, resource allocation and outcomes are measured.
The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world.
Financial management has always been understood in the Army as an integral component of organizational and spiritual health. In the business community, financial management is increasingly called strategic financial management, which refers to the specific use and management of a company's financial resources. In the Army strategic financial management also involves understanding our objectives, identifying and quantifying resources, and devising plans to best utilize financial and other resources to achieve our goals. It must also institute procedures to collect and analyze data to assist in decision making and identify discrepancies between budgeted and allocated resources.
The Army must be responsive to our various stakeholders: the Governing Council, Salvationists, our donors, and those we serve, but ultimately we answer first and foremost to God. The kosher food company, Hebrew National, used a slogan that I think we can also adopt for our work, “We answer to a higher authority”. If this is the case, how does it affect our management practices? In conversation with my son Michael, who serves as a business administrator for the Army in another territory, he articulated some guiding principles for strategic financial management that resonated with me:
First, strategic financial management looks at the human impact of our work and regularly asks, how will our decisions affect others? Robert Greenleaf in Servant Leadership asks some poignant questions about the motivation for our work: “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit or, at least, not be further deprived”?
Second, in strategic financial management we understand that the exercise of our intellectual and spiritual gifts, and the faithful use of resources entrusted to our care, are important to God. Growing in our understanding that, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” moves us from a posture of ownership to one of stewardship.
Third, strategic financial management gives significant attention to the development of the people on our management team, recognizing that people are our most valuable asset. In management, we must model our best work, and then give people opportunity to contribute their best. This can be accomplished by providing opportunities for ongoing development and training, setting clear expectations, and maintaining open communication.
Finally, strategic management in the Army recognizes that God has answers to problems that can seem impossible and unresponsive or impenetrable to our interventions. Through prayer, and bringing our concerns to God, we discover that Jesus is not just the Lord of preaching and prayer, but also the Lord of property and personnel, and finance!
Strategic financial management assists the Army in staying on course and exercising faithful and hopefully “faith-filled” decision making.
Editors' Note: At the Business Leader’s Conference held in April (see the article by Lt.-Col. Lee Graves in the October 5, 2016 issue of Money & Mission) considerable attention was given to the sustainability of corps. In order to broaden the consideration of this vital matter, we asked Col. Glen Shepherd to raise questions for discussion – see the following article – and in forthcoming issues three other Army personnel will be providing their reactions to these questions.
What if Our Corps Are Not Sustainable?
By Col. Glen Shepherd, Secretary for Business Administration, Quebec Division
In April, a conference of the Territory’s business leaders focused on the health of our corps mission. We noted a number of things to celebrate:
- more innovation in mission style;
- deepening community engagement and reach; and
- an increasing variety of forms of mission delivery.
The result is a surprising stability of our corps in a post-Christian era.
We also recognized significant challenges we are facing:
- aging of congregations; and
- increasing cost of ministry.
If not addressed, these issues will threaten the sustainability of our corps ministry.
I know how the loss of the Salvation Army corps would impact me personally. More importantly, I can perceive the loss it would be for Canadian society. Our model of integrated holistic mission, rooted in our Wesleyan theology of the redemption of the entire society, is a vital component of Christian witness and presence in Canada.
That is why corps sustainability is so important. Our society needs us.
A Harvard Business School program undertook a non-profit leadership study and identified three factors that should shape mission:
- identified community needs
- organizational capacity and skills
- availability of funding.
Mission is most effective if it is done where these three circles intersect, as the diagram below shows.
Before we look for funding, we must think through the questions of identifiable community needs and assess our capacities. Doing everything not a viable option. We need to align what we can do well with what our communities need - socially and spiritually. Only then, will mission be effective and viable.
These lead us to hard questions as we confront our reality:
- What does the community really need?
- What do we do well?
- Do we have to change the way we do ministry?
- Are we willing to let go of cherished activities to attain mission effectiveness and viability?
- Are we willing to redefine our mission in response to the data we receive?
- Do our historic assumptions about property, partnerships and personnel still hold, or will we need to build a different structure of corps ministry?
Some might see it as a question of finance: we change what we do to get money. I think it is more a reflection on mission effectiveness.
Are we willing to lose the Army, its structures, traditions and protocols if it were necessary to save its mission? I hope our answer is "Yes".
LORI COLEMAN has been the Director of Accounting Operations at THQ since April. Accounting operations handles the disbursements for Ontario and THQ units, including vendor invoices, individual expense claims, corporate Visa claim review, and the processing and distribution of cheque runs.
Lori is a CPA, CMA and has been putting these designations to use in progressive roles since 1992. Her prior experience comes from the retail industry where she spent the last 14 years leading large accounts payable departments. In November 2014 Lori joined The Salvation Army, and before assuming her present position, supported the Agresso project.
In her spare time Lori spends time with family, gardening, reading, travelling, golfing and serving as Treasurer at her local United church.
For more information...
For more information about the Finance Department, please visit http://salvationist.ca/departments/finance/
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Money & Mission Editorial Team
Design Editor & Production Manager:
The Salvation Army Translation Department