Dear Salvation Army – Why I Quit Being Employed By The Salvation Army

Is It More Than A Paycheck?

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The mission of The Salvation Army requires more than just employees.  Don’t misunderstand me, we need workers who can perform vital tasks within our army but my fear is that we are creating professional places of employment and no longer cultivating warriors who are mission minded.  Is it wrong to draw a salary from our army?  Of course not!  Though there is the danger of hiring personnel based solely on their skill set.  Skill sets are wonderful and we should utilize these abilities in our army but what happens if we only hire individuals based solely on their ability to perform these tasks while they have no love or passion for our mission?  

Making it personal:

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I remember the days when I used to punch a clock while being employed by the Army.  I must confess that I too viewed my position as a place of employment and not where my heart met a godly mission and purpose.  It happens more than we think.  Dare I say that we (the army) sometimes employ families  who merely “go into the family business” and perhaps it is more out of convenience than it is about passion.  I do not begrudge this.  For years I had to sort this out in my own life as well.  I am a fourth generation salvationist and a fourth generation officer…did that mean that I signed up out of “convenience”?  Thankfully the answer in my case is “no”.  I could have found a more lucrative, gainful employment somewhere else following college graduation.  I could have done other things, but I felt a call to minister within our army.  Was it a lifetime call?  Perhaps that’s a conversation for another time…but I have been called here and now to be more than just an employee of The Salvation Army.  If there comes a day when I am simply here for the paycheck and the benefits and have no love for our mission then it is time for me to pack it in and move on.  God forbid if we have only employees in our army!  Employees only fulfilling their job descriptions and nothing more.  Employees who are not mission bound but paycheck and position bound.  Employees who hardly ever (if at all) actively engage in Kingdom building within our army.  

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I quit being an employee of our army years ago.  I didn’t sign up to draw a paycheck or sit in a nice office with a window view. There has to be something more than this.  There needs to be heart and passion and mission that coincide with our spirits and prompts us to fight for souls of men and women for the glory of God!  If this last element is missing (for the glory of God) we could lose everything within our army.  If we do not keep our mission ever in focus…if we do not continue to fight for the souls of men and women…if we do not actively engage in our corps, divisional offices and territorial offices for His glory, we will have lost everything and just become “employees” in just another social service organization.  God forbid that ever happens.  Don’t be employees…be mission workers, be passionate soldiers of Christ, be compassionate dispensers of God’s grace, be warriors of God…don’t just be employees of The Salvation Army.  

Something more for our Army world to ponder today…to God be the glory!  

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35 Comments

  1. How does this work when you don’t even have to be a Christian to work for the army. ( not talking about officers). I worked in an as hostel where I was the only Christian.

  2. This is the typical, disputatious monologue about officers and employees. What is the purpose of such a posting? Nothing helpful, same old sad monologue about “calling”. There are employees with a greater vision for the Mission. Focus on the Lord.

    1. It’s not typical when it is personal. I would never pit one against the other (officer/employee)…what was said has deep connotations of “keeping the main thing the main thing” instead of striving to be a professional tenured position oriented army. Sure, this conversation isn’t new but the real issue is that we still struggle with this in the army – Officer and Soldier alike. I will agree with you that there are many employees with a greater vision for the mission and we need more and more of these! Thanks for your comment.

    2. As a first generation Salvationist, who was “abnormally born” – starting as an A/Captain, I can understand an assertion that the posting could be regarded as sowing seeds of dispute. I don’t think such a thing was the author’s intent, but could be the unintended consequence. That being said, what if instead of “employee” or “officer” the term “jobsworth” were inserted as the noun (replacing both terms) instead. This is a useful word, that has no single word equivalent in American English – the definition from the Oxford dictionary being: “British informal; An official who upholds petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense” Generally not a highly motivated individual, but rather one who is more focused on their own interests.

      All generalizations, stereotypes and prejudices generally break down eventually, when considering situations with a focus on an individual employee or small groups of employees. Sometimes we do it to ourselves, as an organization. As an extreme example, what if you were in a community where there was a sudden downturn in employment for degreed engineers. No hope of getting a job in the near future as an engineer. At the same time, your Corps supplemental receives funding to supplement social services ministry during the local hardship, so you need to hire a warehouse worker at $15/hour (it is a community that thought the $15 minimum wage was a great idea). So you write a job description and decide – wow, it involves a forklift, fitting boxes into small spaces, sorting things, checking oil in the van . . . I know, we will call the position “Warehouse Engineer!” and set the minimum educational level at the Masters Level in Mechanical Engineering. You interview three Engineers, that had previously been making $45 to $60 per hour and hire one of them, at $15 per hours.

      What is the likelihood that this new employee is going to find long-term satisfaction with $15 per hour? Are they going to find the work professionally challenging? If this is their first contact with The Salvation Army, are they going to feel a call to the ministry?

      They will likely have short-term gratitude that they have an income producing job with healthcare benefits. The work will not be challenging. Likely, they could hardly care less about the mission, beyond what they had to tell you to get hired. Within 6 months (if that long) of being there, you probably will start to experience problems. They will have become a Jobsworth.

      How many times do we hire the wrong person for the wrong job? The fruit of such things is often . . . not always, but often, very negative.

      Sometimes is much less complicated. You simply hired or approved in Candidates Council (either by default or by compulsion) a member of the family business (or not . . . jobsworths come in all pedigrees) that is a “stealth” Jobsworth; with a generous mixture of entitlement mentality, laziness, self-interest mixed in. This is why we are called to be leaders. Sometimes being a leader means doing the hard thing. Sometimes it means facilitating “blessed subtraction”, so that people who actually support the mission are in place.

      Ahhh the challenges of an organization composed of imperfect people!

  3. Very well written article. When I worked for the Army I took the mission of the Army to heart. It was my passion. Now retired, it is still my passion. No, I am not an Officer, but a layperson, with a Passion for the Army’s Mission, and God’s Call on my life. Well said, brother.

  4. For years my wife and I ran residential treatment programs for trouble kids, where -we lived where we worked and worked where we lived, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. We always said “when it wasn’t fun anymore, it would be time to leave”, as we saw some folks in the field who had burned-out and wasn’t doing the kids a service.
    Kind of how I feel about working for the Salvation Army ‘when I’m not passionate about The Army anymore, it would be time to move on.’
    All those years in group homes is why we chosen not to worship there, after ten years of living a ‘glass house’ we needed some boundaries between work and worship.
    But my ‘work’ is every part of my ministry in life as my service in church. Yes, one can work for The Salvation Army and not be passionate about its mission and ministry, and even be effective, but their missing out on all the fun and blessings.

  5. We don’t even like going to the salvation army during the week because everyone acts so diffent than what the do on sundays. They make you feel like you have no business being there and I’m not talking about the officers either.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Debbie! Imba 4th generation Salvationist. I’ve really become dissolutioned with the Army. A very recent bad experience will probably keep me from ever returning. I also am kin to many who became officers. That doesn’t help how I feel about a church I was once very passionate about.

  6. This is upsetting. Remember William Booth & the roots of The Salvation Army. There is little room for “halfway” when you are an employee. As far as I’m concerned, being an employee made me part of THE MISSION. It was the hardest job I ever loved.
    It seems that sometimes TSA would overlook inappropriate actions from officers, just to keep a warm body there. Is there a shortage of officers? This is no halfway job … I could never be an officer and keep up the pace they do (if they are truly mission-minded). It’s not a “job” – it is a lifestyle, and your life’s mission. I pray that the heart of TSA stays intact, and that the organization stays frugal and humble and keeps its focus! God bless all the officers and employees who are there 24/7. A wise officer said often, “We’re in the business of people.” AMEN.

  7. Passion isn’t everything. Offering skill sets for the use in the Kingdom is equally important as the one who “feels” passion. Passion comes and goes, but commitment and faithfulness is everything. If we serve only in self-gratifying ways, then we are only in the end serving ourselves. I am thankful for all the employees who who offer their expertise, and all we have to do is pay them.

  8. with God’s grace,hope will look back to the oath and first conviction into the mission service for the good of God’s Kingdom.Overwhelmingly believing in the Almighty God nothing is impossible(Luke 18:27)

  9. The real struggle in many Corps is the difference between Sunday and week days. Good employees, who are good Soldiers, are treated terribly and talked down to by a boss thats so stressed out and/or bussiness oriented that he forgets to remain a pastor in his decisions. Then on Sunday morning, the soldier has to spend most of the service pretending the previous 5 days didn’t happen.

  10. When I was asked to leave 9 years ago, it broke my heart, because i felt called and not just making a career move in my life. When I decided to agree to resign, it was because I was tired of being yelled, cussed at, being called a liar in front of employees and church people. I felt I was not wanted by those who were in charge and they would make my life miserable. No words of encouragement or compassion. This was a great article, thank you for your sharing. I finally joined a new church three years ago, and really feel the love of God in this small fellowship.

  11. When I worked for the Salvation Army, the employees were more dedicated to the mission than the officers. I worked 40 plus hour a week but was only paid for 20 hours. I was yelled at often and seldom knew what I was walking into every morning. Yet, I continued to come because I felt that God had called me to Salvation Army. When I would attend Sunday service, the officer/pastor would give a sermon on disrespectful employees and how they needed to learn to respect authority. I wanted my Sunday service to be about God not my work week. I only left because my health was declining because of all the stress that was involved in working in such a stressful, hostile environment. I literally had to choose sides. I either had to support my fellow employees, volunteers, and friends who were walking away from the SA or the officers who were making life miserable for everyone. There isn’t a day that I do not miss my job or working to fulfill the mission of the Salvation Army. I have meet wonderful Salvation Army officers who truly were called to the mission of the Army and I have meet officers who only cared about themselves and their own needs. You can never compare or decide that officers are better than employees or vice versa. You need to look at each person as an individual and determine of they are there for a job or there to fulfill the mission of the Salvation Army. I promise you will find that many of the employees are just as dedicated to the mission as the officers.

    1. I agree. Today was my last day at a job that I loved because our (Captain) has lost his way. Just because you quote scripture doesnt make you a good Christian. Treat people as humans. With respect. I could no longer work for the devil. God is watching, and he’s not happy right now. I love what the Salvation Army was all about but believe there is abuse there and too many people are wearing blind folds.

  12. I loved my job, I was and am mission minded and I and a flow collegue was pushed out of our jobs by people non Christians who made up lies because they didn’t like two of the three Christians who worked there. The deputy manager was basically made to take redundancy with no choice because he whistle blowed on some serious wrong doing from other management (non christians) they didn’t like the ruffling of feathers, why deal with something and eradicate problems when you can sweep them under the carpet which does not help the place in the slightest. for a long time the manager wasn’t an officer and the programme for residents was useless in William both Mission of saving the lost, then an officer came back in charge and the programme got better better but unfortunately by that time there was so many staff that was there to ‘work’ and not serve the devil was ripe in that place and the outcome was that now there is 1 Christian that works there and no Mission at all, I am very sad about this, how can you plant God’s seed in people’s lives and follow the great commission which is biblical not TSA when the place you are you are not allowed even as a minority to fight the good fight because the devil is winning, residents will only see the bad because near enough every person they encounter is not giving them the truth of the gospel, my opinion is that there are enough mission minded people with the right skill set to work and that is what is needed to restore the bibles instructions so that the devil will flee and people will be saved!

  13. As a soldier and employee of the Salvation Army I constantly walk a line of being a volunteer verses a part-time employee. I often wonder if I should just quit and be a full-time volunteer. MY purpose in life now I pray is God’s…. not working for status or Dollar. While God is at work in my Corp I would love to do so much more for his glory…..

  14. Like it or not, we can not forget it too (TSA) is part of a fallen system. The problem will always exist because all systems are 100% flawed and cyclical. They are meant to rise and fall. Every single one. What decision must come out of the cycle is a choice to rise up and take you positions as the Sons of God not as mere soliders in an army. You were made for so much more. You were made to be a total rockstar in your field and influence nation’s of people. The world seems to do this so much better than we do! YOU must do it, not your career or title or even ministry work should ever be an excuse. Stop whining about something that is too big to control and start making an impact like Wigglesworth, Booth and many of the party crashing, non- conformists. The Lord said, “Take the mountain”…Take it! That means go in His authority by His Spirit and dominate. Get crazy! I mean love like crazy! Walk into a mosque or a temple and pure out the love of God on people. Raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out demons! Better yet, go make a crap load of money and then work along side the Army. I guarantee, it’s a totally different experience. For now, let’s rise in influence together as ONE. Here’s how: http://www.LightsoftheWorldAZ.com

  15. I too work for the Army, and was saved in the Church. However, now that I work in Finance, I see the self-mindedness of many officers; men who are in the mission only for their gain. In fact, I caught an officer who embezzled over $50,000.00. Nothing was done to him, and that really made me realize that the Army has a “Blood and Fire Wall of Silence”. Disappointing…

  16. I worked for a THQ section for 14 years. When I first started, I had to drop out of going to the Corps because there was too much of a conflict between the “Business” and the “Church”.
    Back then the attitude of many in senior positions was far from spiritual or mission driven. Thankfully that has changed significantly over the years.
    But at the time I felt I was in the middle of a mass hypocrisy when I went to the meeting on Sunday, so far 6 month I stopped going.

    When I did start going back there was a brief time when people would ask work related questions on Sunday. I quickly instituted a “no work on Sunday” policy, which allowed me to get back to worship, and as time went on – my job became more than just money, but a ministry.

  17. “The Harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into the Harvest.” Great article.

  18. In AUS we spend $280 million per year on Social Programs and only $5 million per year on Corps mission funding . Go figure !!!!

  19. I was amazed how many posts were made here discussing the problems of working for “Jesus” and getting a decent working environment and decent pay. I was particularly struck by the observation that $15 an hour is not a decent pay in many circles and it is difficult to thrive with a love of the mission when you yourself are in need. Many Corps in California just had to up their salaries for many positions because there workers were at minimum wage. As the law will graduate to $15 an hour statewide, the employee will see once again the difficulty of the struggle to do professional work at minimum wage and recognition. Oh, I know, some officers will say do it for Jesus, but they an say that and be assure of salary, house, car, insurance and more. There has to be a better way. It is up to the Army to find it. In fact, Salvation Army, do it for Jesus!

  20. I know of I Man who has been employed in the corps that I attend and can say that he did earn some money but that wasn’t his soul aim ,now retired but still helping where needed ,and a young lady who in employed in a different capacity and gets on with her job in a wider sphere and just loves getting down to the basic things and helping folk to Christ ,it’s all a matter of where priorities are ,neither are or ha e been officers ,and I could say that for myself as well .

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