I travel to Indianapolis tomorrow to attend the CCDA National Conference.

This will be my third time.  It’s a gathering of 3,000.  There will be 13 Salvation Army delegates from the Central Territory.  I’ve heard from one Southern Territory delegate.  If it’s like past conferences there will be other SA people.  Sharon Barber of our NHQ will host the Army’s display; come visit us at exhibit #26.  All of us from the Central will take turns helping Sharon.  Stop by and say hi.

I’ll be meeting with Brianna Menning of Communities First Association based in Minneapolis.  We’ve emailed about possible ways the Army and CFA can work together.  Of course, have to stop by the City Vision College exhibit to talk with Michael Liimatta from Kansas City.  Two City Vision interns presently serve at Salvation Army corps in Kansas City and St Louis; we are working on two more internships, in Detroit and another major city.

Christian community development is an approach Dr. John Perkins has described this way.  You are busy pulling people out of a river to save them from drowning.  But you finally realize that somewhere upstream they are falling/jumping/being pushed in.  You decide to go upstream to do something about it.

In the Salvation Army we do a pretty decent job of emergency assistance.  We feed, shelter, rescue.  But we are not good at going upstream to do something about why people do not have food, need shelter, have to be rescued.  Don’t misunderstand.  Feeding, sheltering and rescuing are good.  But is it doing the most good?

Salvation Army tends to be like McDonalds.  Remember those signs “1 billion served”?  Maybe the signs are still there.  With changing numbers.  We serve families at Christmas.  So, in typical Army fashion, we will serve more families next Christmas. 

What if the families stopped coming to us for toys and Christmas dinners?  That we had done something during the year to make it unnecessary for families to come stand in line, fill out applications, and come back a couple weeks later to stand in line to wait for a toy, a canned ham and a ‘God bless you’?

How many more will we need to serve?  Or can we start to work together with the communities where we are to bring change?  After all, us Salvationists would rather people not get wet. 

I’ll be posting from Indianapolis as the conference gets underway.