An Introduction or What You Didn’t Know About the Salvation Army

At the start of my sixth-grade year, my parents were sent to Fayetteville, Arkansas to open the Salvation Army work there. Today, it might be called a church plant. But, as my father told me again and again, we (the Salvation Army) are more than a church.

 

I was in the school office with mom while she was getting me enrolled. The secretary was gathering basic information including what daddy did and what church we attended. When mom answered Salvation Army for church the secretary corrected her by saying “that’s not a church”.

 

I’m not sure if mom was able to convince the woman that, yes, it’s our church. But daddy was right, it’s more than a church.

 

Like the school secretary, you probably didn’t know it was a church either. I’d be surprised if you did.

When asked what the Salvation Army does or is the most common responses are: a thrift store, soup kitchen/homeless shelter. Some say they help people or they do good things.

 

Those are true. But, as you’re about to discover in this overview – we’re more!

 

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36

 

Started in London, England in 1865 by a Methodist minister, William Booth wanted a church that would serve the least and the lost. He’d had enough of churches who required members to pay for their pews or congregations who made the poor sit in the back or worse, not welcomed them at all.

1930’s Open Air service

William Booth saw a need for the saving grace of Jesus in places other churches of that day ignored.  This was his calling.

 

Stories of the early days of ministry include street corner preaching by Booth and his followers They weren’t immune from having food hurled at them while he preached and others sang.

 

From the earliest days in the Salvation Army, women’s voices were heard preaching the good news of Jesus. The founder’s wife, Catherine, was in every way a partner to her husband. He considered her to be a better preacher than himself. After his death, she became the international leader.

 

It was also Booth who engineered the idea to put new words to the bar tunes. He knew the familiar melodies would draw their attention. He adapted their methods to reach the heart of people. He is credited with saying, “Why should the devil have all the good tunes.”

 

This was not a status quote group. They didn’t look like other churches as they donned uniforms for their fight against sin and they didn’t sound like a traditional choir as brass horns bellowed, bass drums beat and tambourines trilled to the songs.

 

This is just the beginning of the Army’s mission. We are 153 years old and it feels like we’re still just getting started.

This month I’m writing about the Salvation Army – the mission and who they are. In the meantime, here are a few links you may be interested in for more in-depth information:

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14 Comments

  1. Lesley said:

    I knew it was a church! (But I think that might be more common here!) I love the vision of reaching out to those often neglected or forgotten even by the church, and how it shows Jesus’ love in action.

    May 4, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Yes, Lesley, I think it is more common that we’re known as a church in the UK and many other places in the world. In the USA, we’ve become known more as a social service organization. Not a bad thing but too often they don’t realize these efforts are motivated by the love of Jesus to serve others. I’ thankful more and more churches are sharing that vision.

      May 5, 2018
      Reply
  2. Hopeful50 said:

    The SA Church had a pivotal place in my husband’s redemption.

    May 4, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      I’d love to hear his story sometime Susan. It definitely had a part in the families of both of my parents.

      May 5, 2018
      Reply
  3. Annie Rim said:

    I’m so excited for this series! 🙂

    May 4, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Thanks, Annie. I hope others are too! 🙂 As many people tell me, we’re one of the best-kept secrets around. But we don’t want to be a secret! 😉

      May 5, 2018
      Reply
  4. But by the Grace of God Go I, broken not wanting to live any longer, Prison in and out in and out, Gods intervening Grace I was dropped off at the front door of The ARC. They never asked me about my past, they were only interested in what I wanted from that point forward! That was 1997, today I’m blessed to be serving God in a special way at an ARC (Adult Rehabilitation Center) as a Chaplain! Yes God has a plan for your life and sometimes we need help and He uses TSA as His hands and feet, yes the body of Christ is at work in THE SALVATION ARMY!!

    May 5, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Raymond, I am SO happy you found this post and shared a bit of your story. Glory to God for his saving grace and redemption. I see you’re in the western territory. Now you’re part of the body of Christ that is sharing this message of grace. We’re thankful you responded to his call.

      May 5, 2018
      Reply
  5. Tara said:

    So crazy! One of my seminary friends did her internship in Fayetteville!

    May 5, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      We only lived there 3 years but it was my favorite growing up, Tara. I still have a fondness for that town and root for the Razorbacks 😉

      May 6, 2018
      Reply
  6. Anita Ojeda said:

    Cool! My brother has worked as an account for the Salvation Army for over 10 years. I knew a little bit about their history, but not the part about William Booth originating the phrase about the devil having all the good music! Love it! Happy Birthday, BTW.

    May 5, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      This world gets smaller every day, Anita. There is some debate if Booth was the first to say that but he sure liked to use it and put it into practice 🙂

      May 6, 2018
      Reply

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