15 March 2023

Praying for officer appointments: Here am I, my Lord…

Major Julian Watchorn

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  • The annual list of appointments will be published later in the year

Major Julian Watchorn invites us to think of officers across the territory as they receive their farewell orders.

Thursday 16 March may not be a significant day for many but, for officers awaiting news of a new appointment, it is very significant as it is the day that they receive their farewell orders.

All officers sign their Undertakings before their commissioning, which state, among other things: ‘I will look to my leaders in the Army to be sensitive to the guidance of God in giving me appointments and responsibilities. I will accept the direction of my leaders under the appointments system, knowing that they will try to place me where I can best advance the cause of Jesus Christ. I will faithfully fulfil all the requirements of my appointments to the best of my ability.’

They step out in faith and trust that their leaders will seek the inspiration of God, through the Holy Spirit, to appoint them.

Over the years, the processes may have changed but the principle and the promise remain the same. In my 33 years as an officer, I have been blessed with some wonderful opportunities to serve. If I were being honest, I would have to say that I would not have chosen all of them. I recall that, on one or two occasions, I did question my leaders about the wisdom of their decision, not seeing in the present what God was going to do in the future.

However, on each occasion – especially when I struggled to understand – God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace and told me that I simply needed to let go of my fear of the unknown and step out in faith – that I was not doing this in my own strength, but his, and that he was going to do his work through me wherever I went with him. He has not failed me yet and I do not believe that he ever will.

It has been my privilege in recent years to see the appointments process from a different perspective. As the assistant secretary for personnel, I was a part of the Territorial Appointments Conference. I saw first-hand those very leaders, whom I had trusted to look to God for direction regarding my future, seeking his guidance in the appointment of others.

There is much to consider when seeking to ensure that the people and the time are right before making an appointment. Much care is taken in matching the profile of an appointment with that of the officer. Any questions by then have hopefully been addressed through consultation prior to the conference. Prayer is at the heart of those decisions and there is patience in waiting for the answer, and humility in recognising when it isn’t the right time or the right place.

This year, officers will be contemplating their new appointments in the context of a changing territory. Divisional boundaries and structures have changed. The need for spiritual leaders has never been greater. The opportunities for ministry are many and the labourers too few.

So, as we focus our prayers on those who are facing change in the coming months, let us pray that they will have an overwhelming sense of God’s peace and be reminded that, wherever they are sent, God has a work for them to do. May they be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, who through them will inspire others to become his disciples and to follow wherever he leads.

‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”’ (Isaiah 6:8)

Reflect and respond

  • Read Isaiah 6:8. Where are you being sent to work in God’s name?
  • Read Philippians 4:13. Pray for those who need a reminder that God’s strength will empower and enable them.
  • Read the lyrics to song 959 in the Salvation Army songbook. Are you boldly walking the path he has marked for your feet?

Written by

Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn


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