Coquitlam, B.C., Canada
Salvation Army is one of the most visible and successful community
service organizations in the world, equal if not superior to the
Red Cross in terms of prestige and recognition.
What makes Salvation Army such a great and enduring
organization? One of the secrets of their success is their spiritual
vision - They firmly believe it is not enough to "take people out
of the slums," but we must also "take the slums out of people,"
as their founder General William Booth used to say.
Their passion to serve the hurting people and
introduce them to the bounty of spiritual transformation has been
the driving force behind the continued growth of the Salvation Army.
The officers, staff and volunteers of the Salvation Army have learned
that it is only through serving others' physical and spiritual needs
without any selfish agenda that they can truly find meaning and
fulfillment in life.
This morning I had a very enjoyable visit with
Major George Evans, Director of The Salvation Army's Vancouver Community
& Family Services. Before I left, he loaned me a book entitled "The
Most Effective Organization in the U.S." - Leadership Secrets
of the Salvation Army by Robert A. Watson and Ben Brown.
As I opened the first chapter tonight, the first
sentence really caught my attention: "We want this to be one
of the most important books you'll ever read. It is about the meaning
Wow! The Salvation Army is about the meaning
of life! I just spent the lunch hour this morning trying to explain
to Major Evans my meaning-centered approach to counseling and social
services. Maybe that's why he wanted me to read this book.
A couple of paragraphs down on the same page,
the authors explain more fully the importance of meeting people's
spiritual needs for a transcendental purpose:
"What are those needs? We believe the
most important one is for connection with a purpose that's bigger
than one person's - or one organization's - material ambitions.
It's the need for a set of guiding principles, an anchor when
everything is in flux. It's the only way the world makes sense.
People cannot be truly happy or productive over the long haul
without acknowledging an overarching purpose for their existence
and without harmonizing their lives' efforts toward realizing
Very well said! It sounds very much like a good
summary of what Viktor Frankl's logotherapy and my meaning-centered
counseling attempt to accomplish. No wonder I feel a kindred spirit
with their philosophy of community services.
In the final analysis, many people would endorse
the importance of serving God and serving others, but very few people
actually make it their life-long calling and chosen lifestyle as
the Salvation Army. This is the key to their boundless spiritual