So, You Are Moving! 10 Things to Remember During a Transition

file0001207444674 This weekend is a transition week for The Salvation Army in the South! Officers (ministers) have received their farewell orders and will be leaving their congregations and communities that they have poured heart and soul into for other “harvest fields.” While officers are aware of this reality during the training period, reality still sets in and feels differently from the classroom. But, the Army needs to keep moving forward!

Having gone through this process before and expecting to go through it again a few more times, here are 10 things that I have learned throughout the experience. While this is coming from the perspective of Army officership, I think you will see that they can be applied across many disciplines.

1. Your family is moving with you!

It is important to remember that when ministers move, their families move with them. They are leaving friends and relationships as well. They are leaving schools they know and places they care about. They may not always respond well. They do not dislike where they are going, but it is not home. They are leaving home to go there. It will take a while until it feels like home. Also, involved in this, if a child or family member has other neurological concerns, the adjustment time can be even longer. Patience is what is required, not judgement! Actually, for that matter, leave judgement out of the equation all together.

Patience is what is required, not judgement!

2. It is OK to be excited about the new assignment or location.

There is a plan for you when you get to the new location. It is not disrespectful to where you are now to be excited about where you are going. One of the advantages to moving and transition is the new life and energy that the new people are bringing to the location. Bring the joy! Bring the new ideas! Bring the energy! You are going there for a reason. Somebody saw something in you that they wanted there!

3. It is OK to miss the location and people you are leaving.

While it is OK to be excited about where you are going, it is also OK to be sad or miss where you are now. You have spend a lot of time with the people at your current place. You have invested in lives and, in return, they have invested in yours. It is natural to miss those relationships and to grieve for the change. I would be more worried about people who do not miss the people they spent so much time with. In fact, if you do not miss them, maybe you were not that close!

This is connected to #4…

4. Remember that the people where you are going are connected to your predecessor!

When you get to your new assignment or place, remember that the people at the new place are going to be missing the people that you are replacing. You need to respect the fact that they may need time to grieve and get through the change. It will feel like a loss to them. It may even feel like a betrayal. They may not be able to explain themselves. They may even lash out at you. They may even refer to your predecessor over and over. You will be compared to them. You will be measured against them. Get over your ego! The people before you did a great job! Admit it. Praise them for it. Copy some of it. Give them credit for it.

You need to respect the fact that they may need time to grieve and get through the change.

5. You do not know why things were done before you got to the new place. So, keep your opinions to yourself!

From why the piano is positioned in a certain place to why certain employees have different starting times in the morning to the reason behind the schedule of a certain department, there are usually very good reasons why certain things are done certain ways. Even thought they may need to be changed, your opinion on why it was done in the first place does not help the situation. This is an area that I often struggle with because my personality type is one of being a “fixer.” I have heard a lot of advice in this area. Some people say wait 90-180 days before making any major changes. This analogy breaks down when something needs to be changed because it is adversely affecting the health of your organization. In those cases, you need to get it done! I have also been told the “paint a wall” methodology. This method says that you should find something in the first week and change it, even if it means to “paint a wall.” I have never been a big fan of changing just for the sake of change. You need to find the balance and the right timing.

6. Stay away from social media, unless it is necessary!

Let’s face it, social media has unfortunately become a place where people release a lot of passive aggressive energy cleverly disguised in thought-provoking prose! It is probably a good idea to stay away from such a volatile platform. Even if you mean well, your attitude and demeanor can inappropriately color your responses.

There are some good ideas found in this article called, “Social Media and Pastoral Moves.” I do not completely agree with all of the ideas, but there are some good thought-provoking concepts!

7. Guarantee that the person following you has what they need to succeed!

Ensuring that the person who follows you succeeds is one of the best ways to leave a lasting legacy! Just remember all of the things that you wish you would have know, and make sure that the person who follows you knows it. If it is important, make sure they know about it! Transition is hard enough without having to guess where the cord to the coffee pot is, or what the upcoming vacation schedule is, or who orders the supplies, or …

8. Make sure the friendships you have now only extend into the personal, not the professional.

When you transfer from a place, your relationships with the people that are staying need to be personal only, not professional. If you stay in contact with someone, you should only be discussing your personal lives, not what is happening at the office. This is hard when you have worked with someone for many years and part of your relationship is the work you do together! If the relationship is worth keeping, it is worth working hard for! So, it worth the extra effort to keep your nose out of what is happening after you leave! Nobody wins in this scenario! Trust me! We have been on both ends of this one.

9. Do not overanalyze a transition or move!

For some reason, you are moving or transferring!

Embrace it! Accept it! Trust it!

When you constantly analyze the “why’s” and “wherefore’s” and the “who’s” involved, you will not find any peace. You are there for a reason. I believe that it is OK to ask what that reason is. Whether you get an answer that satisfies your curiosity or not, you are still going there for a reason. And, more importantly, God is going to use you there for His reason!

10. Give yourself time and space to adjust to your new surroundings!

While this does relate to #3, it is important to remember to give yourself time to adjust! You will have a new place to learn, a new place to settle your family into, and a new set of circumstances to work through! You cannot expect yourself to get it all down in a week. How long did it take you to settle into the last place? It is reasonable to assume that it will take the same amount of time (more or less) to settle into the new place.

These are just a couple of ideas! What else would you add to the list?

night_traffic_and_lights

We Believe: Day 1 – Who Are You Listening To?

If you have not heard this awesome album, you can listen to it here, or at http://transmission.virb.com/webelieve.

Have you ever ridden on public transportation before? Or attended a sports game? Or visited an elementary school? If you have, what do all of these venues have in common?

Did you guess it? Noise, sound, voices…

We Believe (album cover)Like each of those locations, our world is full of competing voices. Brands shouting their messaging at you. The media trying to fit you into one mold or the other. People over you trying to make you into them. It is deafening, confusing, maddening, overwhelming… it is…

There are times when I need to see a clear vision. I need to hear a defined voice. I want to follow reliable direction. I crave guidance from a trusted source.

It’s how we hear Your voice, when the world’s so crazy loud
It’s how we make the choice, to seek You above the crowd

Doctrine #1 of The Salvation Army is the inspiration of the track “The Word.” The doctrine says simply that the Word of God is the place where we should find our start. It should provide the clear vision. God’s Word has a defined voice. The Scriptures give reliable direction.

The Bible can give us the guidance we so desperately need!

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalms 119:105 NIV)

In addition to the Word of God, where are other places we can go for help?

Soli Deo Gloria!

This devotional material is based on the album, We Believe, by Atlanta-based band, transMission. This material is being presented as additional throughout-provoking material. It is not meant to be doctrinal material. Quoting from the band itself: “Instead think of these songs as the frame which supports the art itself. The illustration to the sermon. “We Believe” is the illustration. The Doctrines are the sermon.” If you would like to listen to the tracks, they are found here, http://transmission.virb.com/webelieve.
Thanks for reading!

Thoughts from Oklahoma: The Complete List

It has been an amazing experience in Oklahoma!

Here is a complete list of my posts from that experience!

May 28: Day 1-Seat at the Table
May 29: Day 2-Partners in Service
May 30: Day 3-Two Generations of Service
May 31: Day 4-Praise You in the Storm
June 1: Day 5-New Recruits Joining the Army of Hope
June 2: Day 6-The MARC of a Good Partnership
June 3: Day 7-Serving with Old Friends
June 4: Day 8-Big Storms, Small Towns
June 5: Day 9-Meeting Needs at the Point of Need
June 6: Day 10-Spiritual Care Ground Forces
June 7: Day 11-Army of the One
June 8: Day 12-Saying Goodbye but Not Forgetting

Thanks for walking this part of the journey with me!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thoughts from Oklahoma: Day 12-Saying Goodbye but Not Forgetting

This last post from Oklahoma is dedicated to the all of the officers, soldiers, employees and volunteers. I would also like to include all of the people I had the honor of working with from all of our partner agencies.

The weird thing about leaving now is that there has been so much good done, but there is more to be done! God has called up other faithful soldiers to carry the burden a little further! And, for that I pray for Holy strength for the local personnel who will carry it even further into the future! So, I am saying goodbye, but not forgetting!

There were long days and confusing ways! There was good teams and greater dreams! There was care and prayer! There was walking and talking! There was no “us and them.” It was always “we and Him!” So, I am saying goodbye, but not forgetting!

This experience has changed me. It has changed my perspective. It has changed how I view people. It has changed how I view myself. It has renewed old friendships and made new ones! It has brought out new partnerships and strengthened others! It has shown me a different kind of world, without borders and rules! So, I am saying goodbye, but not forgetting!

I pray God’s peace and protection over this land. For the love and care of the Father, I place these people in Your capable hands. Knowing that in all things, my God is bigger than the skies!

“For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalm 108:4 NIV).

So, I am saying goodbye, but not forgetting!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Encouragement Through Discipline (New Year’s Resolutions)

Hebrews 12:4-13 

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Children need guidance (12:7-9)

The point of parenting is to teach our children how to make the best choices. Children need rules. They need limitations. They need boundaries. We love our children by not allowing them to hurt themselves. Verse 8 says that we are not legitimate if we have not undergone discipline. Verse 9 says that we learn to respect from discipline.

We need guidance (12:10-11)

We receive discipline and guidance because it is leading us to what is good.  We will receive a share in his holiness. Discipline is never meant to be easy or pleasant. The short term is not the goal. We are in this for the long haul. Verse 11 tells us that we can know righteousness and peace because we have been trained for it.

We become good examples for others (12:12-13)

We are being trained for a purpose. We should “strengthen” our arms and knees to support others. When you lift something up, you use your arms and knees. As we are lifted up, we should lift up others! We undergo training and discipline to strengthen us to be strong for others!

Graphic from the Ministry Toolkit and Lindsey Fleeman 

Day 6 of Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Response – Wilkes-Barre, PA Area Flooding

In recent days, we have discussed the various phases of the disaster response process.  One of the important phases in this process is the transition of one incident command to another team.

One of the strengths of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Response process is its’ ability to transfer the responsibility of command and distribution to other officers, workers, and volunteers. A typical disaster response deployment is 14 days.  Of those 14 days, two days are for travel.  There is one day set aside to travel to the disaster and one day to return to your original location.  The 12 remaining days consist of two components: active days and shadowing days.  The first and last day of this 12 day period are for shadowing the officer, employee, or volunteer that you are replacing.

Captain Mason accepts command from Major Binnix

Contacts in the community, location of resources, and names of people who can assist in the disaster are important.  It is not effective for the previous incident command team to start a competent response and them not have that work continue at the same level of effectiveness.

Although comically portrayed to the right, Major Ed Binnix is handing over the responsibilities to our new incident commander, Captain Todd Mason. Captain Mason, a veteran EDS responder, has been moved from the Planning Chief position to the Incident Commander.  His former position of Planning Chief has become a low priority since all of the future plans and strategies have now been put into place.

Captain Mason and the new incident command team will be responsible for the demobilization of the disaster response and its’ hand-off to the local command and divisional headquarters.

Pam (Vidalia) receives her first EDS "badge" from Lt. Jason Burns

One of the more overlooked resources that are necessary for action within a disaster response is the volunteer.  Pam from Vidalia, GA is pictured here receiving her new “badge” from the previous Operations Chief, Lt. Jason Burns. Pam has bee heavily-involved in the work of The Salvation Army in disaster back at home.

Recognizing her service and request for the badge, the incident command team wanted to improve morale and joy within the overall team. One of the critical tasks of the Incident Command Team is the need to support all of the personnel with their command.

Volunteers are always needed for minor and major responses.  You can register at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org to sign-up to volunteer and attend classes.  You can also find out more information about The Salvation Army by following @SalArmyEDS on Twitter.

Following is a great interview with Michael Bush from Virginia. Michael is recently returned from disaster response in Virginia. He is always willing to help more people.

Last "decompression dinner" with combined teams

Included below our pictures of some of our incident command team having a good time together. At times, laughter and fun helps the response process and gives the team the ability to face the next day.

Captain Patrick Richmond (right) has heard all of Lt. Jason Burns' (left) stories
I am the walrus! Coo-coo-catchoo! - Captain Patrick Richmond
New Incident Commander, Captain Mason's first order - a massage. Also pictured is Lt. Jonathan Howell
Micah becomes the new Operations Chief

Day 5 of Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Response – Wilkes-Barre, PA Area Flooding

The area around the Wilkes-Barre, PA general area is beginning to see some return to normalcy. A lot of neighborhoods have power and basic services. We have seen more decreases in feeding on mobile units.  Two canteens were sent out today. Unit 2 was sent to Plainsville & West Nanticoke, and unit 5 went to Shickshinny, Maconaqua, and Wapwallopen.  These more rural areas still represent significant needs.  We will maintain our current feeding schedule through tomorrow.

We had our first day of S.A.F.A.C. (Salvation Army Flood Assistance Center).  The SAFAC provided food boxes, clothing vouchers, and merchandise cards to 88 people.  Our casework staff and pastoral care teams were on-hand to assist clients.

After clients for the flood relief have registered with the welcome desk, they are escorted over to the waiting area.  At the waiting area, our pastoral care officers were on-hand to offer comfort and guidance to the individuals and families.  Lt. Valentina Cantu (pictured right) is spending time playing with a child of a disaster victim and is herself a disaster victim.  Lt. Cantu spent several minutes playing with the girl and reading to her.  After a few moments at the provided kid’s activity station, the little girl proudly walked around the corps gym showing everyone her sticker tatoos.  It was one way to bring a small amount of joy into a person’s life.

Connie Jones (Service Extension Director from Georgia) is pictured here assisting a client to navigate through the paperwork process.  Connie is an experienced disaster relief worker for The Salvation Army and cooks the only peach cobbler that I will actually eat!

Her and another director, Sandy Roberts, were originally assigned to Incident Command as cooks to support the mobile feeding operations.  In the course of discovering the path of our relief, the casework experience of Mrs. Jones and Ms. Roberts allowed them to be vital in the intake process.

Incident Commander – Major Ed Binnix

Emotional & Spiritual Care Lead – Major Lloyd Kerns

Assistant PIO (Public Information Officer) – Andrea Halsey

Salvation Army reinforcements arrive – News – Citizens Voice

Salvation Army reinforcements arrive – News – Citizens Voice.

To help cope with the scope of the damage in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee, the Salvation Army has brought in reinforcements.

 

 

Local members of the nonprofit, faith-based organization have been on the ground since the flood on Sept. 8-9, and this weekend about 40 more arrived from Georgia to lend a hand.

“The Salvation Army is fully committed to this process,” said Capt. Doug McClure of Albany, Ga. “We’re not going away any time soon.”

Transition is in the works from immediate response to longer-term assistance, according to Salvation Army Public Information Officer Shane Autry of Norcross, Ga.

 

 

The organization is providing food in the form of hot meals and boxes of groceries; cleanup kits that include mops, brooms, gloves, bleach and cleaner; other supplies including drinking water and ice; gift cards and vouchers for the Salvation Army thrift stores; and emotional and spiritual support.

“Salvation Army doesn’t focus on disasters,” McClure said. “Salvation Army focuses on hope and relief after disasters.”

To supplement the permanent Salvation Army Citadel at 17 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Wilkes-Barre, a temporary command center and warehouse has been established in an industrial building at 1110 Hanover St. in Hanover Township which formerly housed Thales Broadcast & Multimedia.

Use of the building was donated by businessman and real estate developer Robert Mericle, who gained notoriety in the wake of Luzerne County’s worst corruption scandal.

According to prosecutors, Mericle paid about $2.1 million to former county judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan to help him get a contract to construct two for-profit juvenile detention centers, and he now faces up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to withholding information from federal agents.

Mericle sent crews to help shore up the levee in Forty Fort during the flood and has since been providing equipment and employees to assist with cleanup in ravaged areas of Jenkins Township and Duryea.

“All of our contributions to the flood relief effort have been completely voluntary,” Jim Cummings, vice president of marketing for Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, stated in an email. “We have no intention to seek reimbursement and never did.”

 

Members of the Salvation Army appreciate Mericle’s latest generosity: “He really helped us out,” Autrey said.

The Hanover Township building is being used as a staging area and warehouse, for items to be shipped, stored and sorted. They will be distributed through the Wilkes-Barre citadel, where Autrey said long-term case management will be set up.

McClure said there are six mobile canteen units, some of which have been brought up from the southern states, that are being deployed to flood-destroyed areas like Shickshinny and parts of Wyoming County.

This week the Salvation Army will seek community volunteers to help pack 2,500 boxes of food to distribute to flood victims, Maj. Ed Binnix said.

For people who want to donate, cleaning supplies are most needed, he said. They can be dropped off at the citadel on Pennsylvania Avenue, but clothing and furniture must be taken to the Salvation Army thrift shops on Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Township or Kidder Street in Wilkes-Barre.

“They’re equipped to move large amounts of clothing,” Binnix said, adding, “Because of the nature of this, we need really good, usable furniture.”

“People will be restoring their whole houses,” Autrey said.

eskrapits@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2072

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/salvation-army-reinforcements-arrive-1.1205356#ixzz1YSbD1hsi

An International Call to Prayer

General Linda Bond has called The Salvation Army to pray for peace and for victims of sex trade trafficking. A Sunday in September has been set aside for each prayer focus – the fifth year that this has happened.

 On September 18, the international forces of The Salvation Army and friends are being called to “Prayer for Peace.”  The verse chosen for this emphasis is Matthew 5:9 (NIV)-“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  

The General has issued this call for prayer.  Peace has remained an elusive part of the world’s understanding and community.

As “children of God,” we can come together and decide that peace is the answer, that unity is what we want.

On September 25, the General’s call to prayer is focused on victims of sex trade trafficking.  The verse chosen for this focus is John 10:10 (NIV)-“I have come that they may have life.”  In 2009, Teen Identity, a girls’ empowerment grouped based in Atlanta, GA, released a PSA video that chillingly connects the victims of sex trafficking with their stats.  During this video, they estimate 500 girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation every month.  And, if matters could not be worse, this number is only for the Atlanta area!

“Numbers” – Child Exploitation & Sex Trafficking PSA from Ron Dawson on Vimeo.

Storm and I urge you, your friends, and your family to join with us on September 18th and 25th to pray for change, to pray to make a difference!

Twas The Night Before Moves v.2.0

‘Twas the night before Moves,when all through the Corps
All the people were nervous for what was in store.
The cell phones were plugged in their chargers with care,
In hopes that tomorrow no calls would they bear.

The Off’cers were cowered all stiff in their beds,
While visions of bubble wrap danced in their heads.
And missus in her jammies, and I, sans a snore,
Couldn’t settle our brains for a few hours more.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon, which was glistenin’ on my dew-speckled lawn
Gave the lustre of mid-day in those hours ‘fore dawn.
When, what to my wondering ears now did roar,
But a nice new crown vic with a shield on the door.

When the driver stepped out with a look of pure glee,
I knew in that sec it must be the DC.
He pulled out a clipboard as the car groaned and hissed,
and I guessed right away in his hand was THE LIST!

“Is it Huntsville? Or Tampa? Somewhere in Kentucky?
Or Tulsa? Or Memphis? DHQ, if you’re lucky?
From the west Texas town of El Paso to Wheeling!
Which place will it be? Which one are you feeling?

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
The names of appointments flew through my head in a panic
from Havre de Grace to Atlanta (Hispanic).

He was teasing, just teasing, I thought and I hoped
“Maybe I’m not moving”, were the words that I groped!
A twist of his head; with his eye, gave a wink
Soon told me I had nothing to worry ’bout…I think.

He pulled out his Sharpie and I could not miss
That it looked like a checkmark he placed on his list.
And despite all my pleading, my begging, behooving!
He said, “I still cannot tell you tonight if you’re moving!”

He hopped in his car, to his key gave a turn,
And I can still smell the smoke from the rubber he burned.
But I heard him exclaim, to shout out one last warning ,
“Good luck getting sleep! I might call in the morning!”

by Tom Guilliams, with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

For those who are not familiar with the “moves” system in The Salvation Army, the official “farewell orders” will be handed out tomorrow morning here in the southern 13 states.

On a personal note, my wife and I are not expecting a call, but we are also not expecting not to be called!  We will accept any assignment from our superiors, including a longer stay!

This poem is for entertainment purposes only!