Settling into her new office, Chelsea Barnes, lieutenant for Garden City Salvation Army, appears right at home.
Barnes arrived in Garden City last week from St. Louis for her new appointment with the Garden City location. She grew up in south Milwaukee, completed her seminary studies in Chicago and began her work as an officer in St. Louis, where she has served for the past three years.
In May, she received the call that she would transfer to Garden City and began moving through the early stages of transition.
“No day is the exact same as the day before,” Barnes said about the Salvation Army. That energized uncertainty is what she enjoys most. “Every day is different with its unique challenges and opportunities.”
Barnes said that she “grew up” in the Salvation Army and felt a calling to become a part of the ministry. Her parents were local leaders in the church: her father led the praise team and her mother would help with cooking for all of the youth activities on Wednesday nights.
“A lot of my childhood, I just grew up watching them and learning from their leadership. And, eventually, I just felt God leading me towards officership and just calling me into full-time ministry with Salvation Army,” Barnes said.
As an officer, she fills many roles and duties for the nonprofit. From delivering sermons to acting as the janitor, officers fulfill the needs of the organization and the community however they can, she said.
In addition to her three years of experience as an officer, Barnes speaks Spanish and has a passion for teen ministry. What she enjoys most about working with the teens in the community is watching their growth, especially within the Salvation Army, she said.
“I look back on some of the teens I’ve worked with in the past and how they’re leading at our summer camps, they’re leading at our praise and worship teams, they’re leading at our food pantry, and I’m excited to see what that looks like here,” Barnes said.
While she has a personal goal of developing a young adult ministry in town, Barnes looks forward to connecting with the people in her new community, learning their stories and finding the best ways to help them.
For now, she said that she is just trying to get her feet wet and figure out in what direction God is leading Garden City.
“I know that (former Garden City Salvation Army co-captains) Jeff and Joyce have left a good foundation and I want to continue that and build upon it,” Barnes said.
While Barnes is still new to the area and still learning about the programs Garden City already offers, she said she is anxious to start building relationships with her team and the community. She believes that the key to successful ministry is relationship, starting with your team and extending outward through partnerships, volunteers and patrons alike.
She hopes to connect with everyone who walks through the doors of the Salvation Army, to realize who they are, what they do and how they can help each other.
“The Garden City Salvation Army is here to support you and encourage you, and I just want to meet you,” Barnes said. “I want to meet everybody that’s here. I want to get to know everybody’s stories and where they come from and really, just be a part of the community. I’m excited to see what happens here in Garden City and what God has in store.”
The Garden City Salvation Army seeks to provide the residents of Finney County with resources through fostering healthy relationships and partnerships within the community while fulfilling the mission of the international organization. For more information about the ministry and programs offered, visit Barnes at the local Salvation Army office, located at 216 N. Ninth St.