Salvation Army will be holding the leaders conference that are held once every three years in different countries, Thursday 29 April, 12 in New Jersey. The 2004 International Conference of Leaders (ICL), will take place at the Hamilton Park Conference Center in New Jersey for 10 days in the presence of the commissioners, territorial and command leaders from around the world. This year’s leaders conference will be slightly different than the ones in the past as a new body of the Salvation Army has been formed -- General’s Consultative Council.
General John Larsson reported: “The theme of the New Jersey ICL will be ‘Renewal – See I am Doing a New Thing’. As an Army we have much to thank God for. He is doing a new thing in our midst. Many opportunities are opening up for the Army. But we also face many challenges. And the conference will be doing some hard thinking about these as it considers strategies for the future.”
According to the Salvation Army, four different subjects will be discussed during the conference: Mission, Personnel, Resources and Being.
· How to keep The Salvation Army focused on its mission – an Army that sees itself as existing primarily for those outside of it.
· The challenge of world evangelisation. World evangelisation starts on the doorstep of every Army corps and centre – but it extends to the 200 countries of the world.
· The great opportunities of the two-thirds world. Two-thirds of the Christian Church is now to be found in Africa, Asia and Latin America. What is that saying to the Army?
· The challenge of reaching and holding children and youth for Christ, with special emphasis on 2005 – the Year for Children and Youth.
· New trends in reaching out with the gospel to women, and in ministry by and to women.
· The challenge of combating social evils – with focus on human trafficking.
· New trends in training for officership. The lifting of the age limit for training and the introduction of individually-tailored training have brought both opportunities and challenges.
· The continuing development of officers – for their present and future roles.
· The challenge of finding the financial resources that will enable the Army to sustain its mission.
· The opportunities of the new Partners in Mission scheme whereby territories are linked for their mutual benefit for a period of years.
· Prayer. How to encourage prayer so that it becomes an even greater feature of the corporate life of the Army.
· Internationalism. The challenge for the Army of maintaining unity while promoting greater diversity.
· Leadership. The challenge of leadership for today – and for tomorrow.
· Core values. The challenge of retaining the core values of Salvationism for each succeeding generation.
The conference will give an equal attention to the missions in other parts of the world such as Africa, Central America, Europe, South Asia, and South Pacific and East Asia. There will also be devotional meetings, periods for Bible study and times set aside for prayer, including a prayer concert on the Sunday.
General Larsson continued explained the significance of the conference:
“Every one of us who has the opportunity to attend such conferences knows what a privilege it is. These international conferences are times of great personal enrichment, times of sharing and learning, times of inspiration and of warm fellowship. They are also occasions for the renewal of our corporate vision for the Army and our personal vision for our own ministry.
“But all delegates also know that they are not there primarily for their own personal renewal. They are there for the renewal of the Army as a whole – and they know that when they think, speak and pray they are bringing before God and the conference the hopes and visions and indeed dreams of 25,000 officers and over a million soldiers. It is a huge responsibility. And making the dreams come true remains the ultimate challenge”
He also recalled what he wrote to the delegates: "The law of expectation will be at work when it comes to the conference. It will be according to our expectations that we will receive. Let’s therefore expect great things from God – and pray that God will use our time together to bring further renewal to his Army."