Women and Men in The Salvation Army - A Departmental Shake-up!

PR department might want this blog shut down, and the General's wife won't like it either. Something boils in my heart of late, that makes me frustrated at times but hopeful at other times. I'm speaking about one thing that must happen in the structures of The Salvation Army... Here it is:

It's time we had a Men's Ministries Department.

Stop beating around the bush. A Women's Ministries Department without one for men, comes across as merely a place to appoint Women who don't become Divisional Commanders or Territorial Commanders. I mean, what in the world would we do, if a woman was more equipped, suited and qualified for the functional position of a DC? Where could we put the man? Oh no. We haven't a position for them yet. Sorry ladies, maybe next time. You'll have to be a President of Women's Ministries. Too bad if you're a better leader. Too bad if you'd be better as a Mission Support Officer, too bad if your skill set is to be an inner-city Corps Officer. Women's Ministries it is! Anyway, the argument is not so much about appointing women into Women's Ministries, but about not appointing men into a Men's Ministries Department that doesn't exist!!

It's time for the blood to boil and time for us to realise something very clearly. The ratio of Men to Women who attend Church (in a recent survey I sighted) said the ratio was 40:60. The women win! Well done! Fair chance they're having more fun too, with plenty of women's events to attend. Fair chance they are being discipled more effectively, with the greater potential for Women's Resources to explode out of a busy Women's Ministries Department. Fair chance they will also raise more money and build a great awareness among women when it comes to programs that fight injustice.

What about the men? It seems great. We appoint men into positions within the hierarchy and they make leadership decisions with the wisdom and guidance of God. What about on the local level? I come out of a corps where Men's ministries struggled to get off the ground. I am part of a corps where you could count on one hand, the male leaders in the church. I have men reluctant to come to church, because of various reasons:

* 'Wouldn't be seen dead in a church'
* 'The walls might cave in'
* Might have to give up drinking
* Religious burnout from the past

What resources do I have to give them? What support do I have from a Divisonal level? What focus is Men's Ministries given from a THQ perspective? Do IHQ even value men in local corps? Or is this the point... If we VALUED men, then surely we should have a Men's Ministries Department?! I'll be the first to be appointed there in this Territory. Sure, I'm in. I'm not advocating for something I wouldn't want to be a part of. But would The Salvation Army make this 'radical' departmental shift? Hmm... probably not. Not unless someone with the leadership capacity and authority takes a deep breath and goes against the grain of the historical organisational structure. Flow charts would have to change. New appointments would have to be made. Money for resources would have to be spent. And who could be appointed into these positions?

Sorry. Too hard basket... Not gonna happen... Maybe next time... Anyone for some crochet?

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  1. I agree with this post more than you'd know. Not only because I do think that there needs to be a Mens Ministries department, but because I've seen too many women who would have been better in the roles their husbands are in... so this post I agree with in a two-fold manner:
    1. Because it affirms MARRIED women as officers in their own right who have their own skills and giftings that may actually be more suited to leadership than their husbands... and
    2. It is indeed about time we started to work on the issue of keeping men in the church, and valuing and discipling them.

    I know a fair few guys my age still in the Church who have never been discipled... never... that's tragic! They're there but by the grace of GOd I would say.

    So Pete, you're not being sexist or anything by posting it, but I say... let's pray it into being!!!

    Be blessed!
    Sare xx

  2. Oh how true. The married women officers career path to women's minstry is something I have never appreciated. It sidelines a lot of gifted women into an area in which the impact of their potential is limited severely. As for the men's ministry comments, oh so true. Why can't both take a place under the program department and be given equal treatment but not necessarily by the spouse of the DCs or DSs etc. Let's put these ministries in perspective and release married women to what they are called to.

  3. Totally agree with you, Lieut Pete! It's time for a radical organizational change of direction and focus.

    In recent days TSA has been actively promoting a focus on creating change and being relevant through NEOS - 'New Expressions of Salvationism'. Well, let's not overlook the much-needed ministry and outreach opportunities for men. Creating a MEN'S MINISTRY DEPT (in all divisions across the territory!) should be seen as a 'NEOS'.

    Doing so will be a vital step forward in proactively seeking to address the 40:60 ratio concern!

  4. Thanks for the comments.
    'In all divisions across the territory' Amen. Not to mention, 'In all Territories across the globe'.

    Dear Commissioner, before you go to sunny California...

  5. Agree with your point, not with your solution. We do not need another department, and certainly NOT a mens ministries department. Rather we need to get rid of the Womens Ministries Department or place them in our Corps Program Department along with someone who can concentrate on Mens Minsitries. While we have an elevated view of Womens Minsitries that appoints Mrs TC/DC, or the TC/DC is she is a woman or someone else if the TC/DC is single, we will keep pigeon holing women into a womens only role and sidelining them from broader responsibilities.
    As for men- and Aussie Men - does our form of worship connect? Many men don't like singing, expecially in public. Many/most men prefer doing. Conversation and refelction often takes place around work or lunch time, in the midst of other activities. Maybe its time for a men only worship/church service - around the BBQ, at a regular working bee, on a fishing trip, around a sporting event. Who says worship has to be Sunday mornings inside for 1 hour with singing, Bible reading, praying and message?
    As for resources and a mens ministries department - better to get together with your handful of men and work out what you can do together. No magazines, no conferences, extra personnel at THQ - just do it!
    Graham R

  6. Thanks Graham. I hear what you're saying. TSA would have to begin to be creative with how they would appoint women if the Women's Ministries Department didn't exist!
    Flattening the structure may be the solution, though I do think its time we focused on Men's Ministries in general and continued this discussion about worship and discipleship from a men's perspective. Maybe one of the issues has been, the lack of conversation regarding effective men's ministries, and the lack of sharing the stories about 'what has worked' and 'what hasn't worked' in local corps.
    * Men only worship service. Love it!

  7. Here here - but I agree, let's not create a men's ministry department - let's abolish women's ministries and just have a department called ministries that deals with both!!! With people appointed for specific programs/events/whatever!!!

    For too long most married women in the Army haven't been able to rise up to the roles they are gifted for because of this very issue! Well done Pete

  8. Now who wants to tell the Womens Ministries department? (shall we draw straws?)
    I guess the real question is who are the right people to talk to and who has the power to make change?
    I'm all for a good discussion about improving the ministry structure of the Salvos, but where will this discussion really count? Let's find out and take it there...

  9. Yes, it is a controversial blog, but it has a lot of worth & value. Either the Army needs to create a Men's ministry section or we do away with the Women's ministry, or maybe even convert the women's ministry department into a Men's & Women's Activities department and then it shouldn't matter who heads the department. I also agree that in some cases the women are just as capable of leading ministries than their partners and don't see why it has to be a male at the helm of Territories or Divisions. Didn't William Booth's wife have similar ideas, relevantly revolutionary for her time. May be the Salvation Army needs a Spiritually relevant Booth's wife again in our midst. Lets find out what happens after this blog gets around. Good luck

  10. The Central Territory of the USA has a Men's Ministry Department.

    Please feel free to contact us for any materials for your men's ministry.

    Come be a part of our Territorial Men's Conference at Lake Williamson Christian Center in Carlinville, Illinois April 8-10, 2011. We are looking to have 1,000 men in attendance.

    Don't just watch our Men's work GROW...Come GROW with us!

    Major C. Daniel Hudson, PhD
    Central Territorial Headquarters

    Psalm 27:14


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