A year or two ago I sat at the lunch table following a retirement program for Salvation Army officer friends.  No question, previously retired officers were heavily represented there.

At our table was a recently retired officer couple who served at THQ quite a few years.  A good part of their experience was in serving and traveling overseas, usually in places of danger and challenge.

Our conversation turned to the U.S. military.  Family members in harm’s way.  But then, she mused, it’s a shame that Salvation Army is not much involved (at all?) with helping returning servicemen and servicewomen find work.  Job training.  Placements.

Not long after I opened a Central Connection to see “Donut Day hits 75 years”.Flood Victims Receive Help

Today it’s not donuts.  It’s jobs that are needed in America.

Over the last few years I’ve listened to Army leaders, officers and employees, moan about how we need a new “symbol of the selfless service provided by the Army to those who’ve fallen on hard times”.  We are concerned that as the generation vanishes which remembers us for the donut and coffee freely given, there will be no new generation deeply moved by our selfless service.  If it’s so, the brand loyalty will also vanish.

Meeting human need in His name without discrimination is mission as much as preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In fact, when we conduct mission, it should be difficult to distinguish two distinct parts.

The little boy with five loaves and two fishes.  What can so little accomplish?

No detailed outline, or standard operating procedure for corps to deal with returned military personnel, jobless in the community.  Instead, you will see and notice, be very bothered by it, and then in those haunting words of William Booth ‘do something’.  You will use imagination, initiative and chutzpah.  You won’t be a lone ranger but engage your soldiers, advisory board and the Army’s friends in your town, and quite likely make new friends in leading the Army to do its best to meet this human need.

Do something.  That’s mission.

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