A New PonderCast – (an Audio Pondering) is available to listen today.
Today, hear the words of General William Booth and ponder with me on the topic of “Those People”
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Transcript of today’s PonderCast is here as well:
Dear Salvation Army,
I would like to take a moment and talk to you about what this Ministry of the Salvation Army is and isn’t – at least from my experience.
The Salvation Army is more than just a church first and foremost.
Our ministry takes giving within the context of ministry a step further than most churches do.
I’m not saying we are better than other churches, I’m just saying that our scope of the Great Commission has more of an aggressive tone than other churches. We claim the old motto “Soup Soap & Salvation” and we attempt to live it out in our ministry.
The very fiber of our being, of who The Salvation is can be wrapped up in that phrase of William Booth – when He said, “Others”.
The funny is we still live in a very divided world – even amongst Christians and Church.
We even have this division in our corps sometimes.
We can become so comfortable in our services and in how things operate but when new families start coming we get a little nervous and sometimes even upset.
It’s like when the disciples and others watched Jesus go to Zecheus’ house – there were some who complained because Zecheus was a tax collector and he was reviled by people. Why would Jesus go to that person’s house. Why would he go see “those people”
Another of “those people” that Jesus visited was the Samaritan woman at the well. Even his disciples kind of shook their heads at this encounter. Why would Jesus go to “those people”? And besides that a man, let alone a Rabbi wouldn’t be caught dead talking with a woman – and a Samaritan woman at that.
But you see Jesus came for the least of these, those who were searching.
He didn’t care where they came from or where they had been…you see “those people – were His people!”
And sometimes in our corps – when we get too comfortable and suddenly “those people” show up, it sort of disrupts our flow…It upsets the apple cart…and we have to wonder sometimes, even in our uniforms if we haven’t become that clique –that exclusive social gather fighting for a cause so everyone can see us and pat us on the back…and when genuine spiritual need comes to our corps building – do we shun it? Or welcome it? Do visitors to our corps buildings feel like “guests” or do they feel like outsiders…because the ones in uniform are giving them sideways glances, shaking their heads at the unchurched, unfamiliar new comers…
Ah Salvationists…Dear Salvation Army – “Those People” are our people too!
The drunk that smells like the fumes around his body might spontaneously combust at any moment and he is shaking so bad that it’s visibly noticible in the seat next to you. Yeah, Jesus says “that’s my people too”.
That older lady who come occasionally just to see what she can take with her after the service – She’s one of “those people” and Jesus says that “She’s one of His people”. That young scary looking young man who wanders into your service half way through who smells and is wearing a questionable tshirt with offense material on it – “We look at him and think THOSE PEOPLE” AND Jesus says “He’s one of my people.”
Our halls are emergency rooms for the spiritually afflicted.
And we are all “those people”…we all came searching for hope and love and acceptance.
We do not look like other churches because the least of these are our regulars. It is a shame when we try to become like other ministries and churches when our calling as an Army is has a specific target and ministry already.
We don’t look like other churches because the Salvation Army shield is like a beacon of hope, a lighthouse to many of “those people” who have lost their way. It is a safe-harbor for many to come. It should be a place where “those people” don’t feel as if we’re looking down at them – because we have all been there.
Where other places have turned “those people” away – we must accept them, welcome them offer them love and hope and in turn – eventually show them what Christ’s transforming power looks like.