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The hallmark of The Salvation Army is integrated mission. Salvationists are called to minister to the whole person. General Frederick Coutts once observed that "William Booth understood the biblical word salvation as bringing health-physical, mental, social and spiritual-to every person". And it is to that comprehensive understanding of salvation that Salvation Army mission is dedicated. Hence our emphasis on integrated mission.
There is no doubt that when everything we do as an Army is added together, The Salvation Army is the very embodiment of integrated mission. But it is when we view each Salvation Army corps or centre or programme on its own that we need to pause and think. Ideally every unit, every programme, however specialised, should reflect to some degree the breadth of vision that integrated mission represents-salvation as physical, mental, social and spiritual health for every person. But in our concentration on the task at hand we sometimes forget the larger picture. There is therefore never a time when we do not need to be recalled to our roots as an Army, never a time when we do not need to seek a new vision of the possibilities that are open to us today. That is what this booklet Mission in Community is about.
In recent years, dedicated visionaries have been spearheading new approaches to integrated mission. These approaches have been centred on the community, with the concerns of the homes and neighbourhoods as well as of individuals shaping the Army's response. Old concepts have been given new clothes-and the results have often been amazing.
These pages give us the theological framework that animates these new developments in integrated mission. They tell us not only something of what is happening around the world, but also why these things are happening. These pages remind us that Jesus cared for the total person, and that as an Army we are called to be Jesus in the community. These pages highlight the fundamental concepts of care, community, change and hope-concepts that are at the heart of every form of integrated mission. These pages therefore have something vital to say to everyone who is engaged in ministry.
I thank God for the Army's special calling to integrated mission, and commend especially the new approaches described in these pages. They give us the vision of a new thing that God wants to do through his Army today.
I am pleased that the Programme Resources Department at International Headquarters has had a leadership role in these developments. On everything to do with integrated mission, the department is now a vast storehouse of accumulated experience and knowledge. I know that the personnel of the department will be pleased to share from this abundance with any enquirer.
May God continue to bless the Army's ministry to the total person.
GENERAL January 2006
The above text is the preface taken from a document
entitled 'Mission in Community-The Salvation Army's Integrated Mission'.
To download a PDF of the entire document click here.
FOR MORE ARTICLES ON INTEGRATED MISSION CLICK HERE