The Training Process
Each officer stationed at the College for Officer Training is committed to the aim of training as stated in the Orders and Regulations for the Training of Salvation Army Officers. Our supreme aim is "to develop officers possessing such Blood and Fire spirit that they will be enabled to sustain and advance the interest of The Salvation Army."
This is a noble aim, but the question was posed to Catherine Booth, 'Ah, yes, but how do you do it?', to which the co-founder responded as follows:
"Well, first we begin with the heart. It is true that we receive no candidates but such as we have good reason, after careful enquiry, to believe are truly converted, and are actuated by pure motives in seeking to be Officers. Nevertheless, we find many of them not sanctified; that is, not having fully renounced the flesh or the world, and not thoroughly given up to God. There are lurking evils to be discovered and renounced, mistaken notions to be corrected, the remains of self-seeking to be crucified, and the soul led up to the thorough abandonment of selfish interests, which we regard as indispensable to the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and to success in winning souls. Consequently the most time and greatest stength of the superintending staff are devoted to this department of labour."
In language of this day, we would affirm that the most important aspect of the Training process is Spiritual Formation.
Cadets come to the CFOT at various levels of maturity and with great diversity of educational and life preparedness. The cadet age range is very often anywhere between 19 to 50 years old. Many come with Masters Degrees, Bachelors Degrees or some college experience. We often have several first generation Salvationists, all the way up to sixth generation Salvationists. See our student and staff pages to see how ethnically diverse we are as well. With the great diversity represented, one constant remains; the need for maturation, skill acquisition and a growing walk in holiness.
Spiritual days conducted by the Territorial Commander, Chief Secretary and Training Principal afford cadets significant opportunities for spiritual insight and growth. The cadets begin each day with Half Hour of Power assembly, and there are scheduled prayer meetings, small groups and recovery meetings all aimed to help the cadets establish an authentic, disciplined, devotional life.
The Personnel Department has primary responsibility for developing and monitoring the effectiveness of the spiritual formation program. The Training College has implemented regularly scheduled Spiritual Formation workshops for the entire cadet body. Individual evaluations of the personal growth and development continue to take place with each cadet.
Field Training and Evangelism
Catherine Booth stated "...the great aim of all our training is to fit our Officers for the work they have to do. We abjure all mere learning for its own sake. Moreover, we believe that a great deal of it is calculated rather to unfit than to aid its recipient for actual warfare."
The CFOT is dedicated to the training of officers for the realities of actual warfare. To this end, a carefully organized field training program provides opportunities for a "hands on" ministry. The first year cadets are divided into field training brigades and the second year cadets into ministry teams. Cadets are required to conduct services and preach in a variety of settings, including Holiness, Salvation and Open Air services. Cadets are involved in corps and institutional settings during the week to familiarize them with the workings of ongoing Salvation Army programming.
Cadets experience a more intensive time of field training during the Christmas practicum, Spring Campaigns and the Summer Assignment. The Summer Assignment in particular allows for a two-month period of significant responsibility in corps, camp and ARC settings.
Cadets are charged with a significant World Services fundraising goal in the course of their training. This goal requires both personal and corporate self-sacrifice and serves to prepare the cadets for the fundraising demands of the field. It is not unusual for the cadets to raise $150,000.00 in any given year, for the World Services effort.
The college is accredited from the State of New York to confer an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree upon successful completion of coursework. The academic program follows guidelines established by the Salvation Army National Training Curriculum as well as educational standards set by the New York State Education Department. As mentioned, there is a broad range of academic ability represented in the cadet body. At a minimum, cadets should be able to engage college level academic work.
Spanish speaking cadets may receive instruction for all major subject areas in their first language. In addition to class instruction, translation is available for all united events, including the Half Hour of Power, Spiritual Days, and lectures. At least sixteen different nations are represented in the cadet body and seven different languages are represented as the first language of these cadets. It is possible that we will need instruction in other languages in the future, with Korean being the strongest emerging need in the near future.
The CFOT has entered into an articulation agreement with several schools including; Nyack College, Houghton College and Nazarene Bible College. The CFOT is exploring a joint program with Roberts Wesleyan University in the field of Social Work. These agreements reflect recognition of the quality course content and instruction provided at the College for Officer Training.
The College for Officer Training in dialogue with the territory has explored and implemented innovative options for officer training. Some cadets complete their training through distance learning, and some finish their training while serving on the field. The challenge to the CFOT is to assist the cadet-lieutenants in their skill acquisition and their spiritual formation while engaged in ongoing ministry demands.
The Eastern Territory College for Officer Training has worked hard to meet student needs through education, recreation and housing. The dining room expansion, library renovation and expansion, three hundred seat lecture hall, Student Center, children's multi-purpose room and Fitness Center have quite possibly made The Eastern Territory's Training College, the finest equipped training facility in The Salvation Army world at this time.
The training staff work together as a team and are committed to the development of a healthy community in mission. Continuing education of the staff is encouraged both through the pursuit of further academic degrees and programs, and attendance at relevant workshops and conferences.
The College for Officer Training has benefited greatly from the wise counsel of a Board of Advisors. The Board of Advisors has worked with the CFOT to establish an endowment to assist in the financial demands placed upon cadets during their training experience. The Cadet Scholarship Fund is a vehicle to assist cadets, while lessening the financial burden of the sending division. The scholarship is received by all accepted candidates and is used exclusively for expenses during their residency.
The College for Officer Training is prayerfully responding to the General's call to raise up leadership for the international Salvation Army. Mission is promoted passionately, and we are constantly looking for ways to better prepare and equip our cadets for cross-cultural ministry. Much of the world has come to New York, and the College for Officer Training has a solemn responsibility to prepare world leaders.
The College for Officer Training will continue to contextualize and contemporize without compromise the aims of training as articulated by our founders, William and Catherine Booth, who stated that we must test, teach and train cadets. Our prayer is that every cadet commissioned from the College for Officer Training will be filled and equipped by the Holy Spirit for effective service.
God bless you!