Dear Salvation Army – 3 Reasons to Rethink What “Church” is…

Yes, we’re a movement.
Yes, we are more than just a Church.
But what do we call what we do on Sunday’s?
Yes – Holiness Meetings and Salvation Meetings…but the elements of worship are involved aren’t they?

1.  Statistics & Sundays…
I do no wish to argue terminologies today.  I want to delve deeper into the heart of what we do within our active ministry roles.
We count statistics, of this we cannot deny or escape the reality of such documentation.  Statistics can be an indicator of health or critical needs within our corps…BUT, what if we are too dependent upon who comes on Sunday?  Is this the “make or break” issue for our ministries?  Are there not other days in the week that we provide worship opportunities?  Sometimes, I must confess, I have gotten caught up in the numbers game on Sunday and completely overlooked the vital importance of midweek worship opportunities.

2.  Home Fellowship…
Where did the early church gather to worship with one another?  In their homes.  They shared what they had.  They broke bread together.  They grew because of this close knit “family”.

Another component that might help us to rethink what “Church” is could be one of the most pivotal fellowship tools we possess – our homes.  The places we reside.  Do we take the initiative to not only visit our corps members but to host frequent, yet intentional, worship times within the home, whether it be your home or someone else’?  When we are away from the corps halls and we allow our “hair down” and our shoes off, we are more comfortable.  We are on level ground with others gathered in our home.  These are moments not to miss.  These can become crucial times to personalize the gospel and our Christian relationships with each other.

These home fellowships shouldn’t be forced upon anyone, but allowed to happen naturally.  Take chances.  Take risks.  Get to know your corps members and let the corps members know you.  When we can relax within each other’s fellowship we are more inclined to talk one on one and peer to peer.  This can be where true growth and decisions takes place.

3.  Biblical Studies, Prayer & Holiness...
The concept of “Church” is so much more than what we do on Sunday mornings and the elements involved in our worship times.  Do we collectively devote ourselves to times of biblical studies?  Is there adequate times devoted to understand what we study?  Is there homework and life application involved?  Coupled with the need to know the Word of God better is the need for collective times of prayer.  I am firmly convinced that some of our losses today within our Army has to do with the elimination of prayer meetings within our weekly schedules.  Prayer is THAT important!  If your corps doesn’t have a prayer meeting anymore and you are seeing a decline in your soldiery/attendance then perhaps it’s time to re-employ this powerful spiritual tool.  It not only allows us to talk to our Lord in prayer but it also unifies us under one specific cause – prayer for each other.  This is vital.

Coupled with biblical studies and prayer meetings should be the teachings of holiness within our corps body.  I firmly believe we have lost this intentional emphasis in a large portion of our army.  The need for spiritual disciplines and growth is another vital element to our army.  When re-thinking “Church” does the need for holiness come to mind?  Is there more to our Army than just the statistic of those who have recently made a decision for Christ?  What do you do with those who have recently become saved?  Is spiritual growth and holiness (sometimes synonymous) emphasized?

Wrapping this pondering up:
“Church” is more than Sunday worship.
“Church” is more than how many people come to our services.
“Church” is more than the corps building…hence the movement…
Our places of residence can be “Church”…
Our emphasis of holiness is “Church”…
Our love for everyone we can reach beyond our soldiers in uniform is “Church”.
So get on with it!

Questions:
Are there areas of your ministry that you’ve overlooked?
Have you misplaced some of the emphasis on other programs and other relationships?
Can we rethink what “Church”, or if you’re uncomfortable with that word, what “ministry” is?

Just a bit more for our Army world to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

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