Dear Salvation Army, 4 Habits Of Healthy Corps

I recall how aggressive and proactive our Founder William Booth was when it came to the Ministry of The Salvation Army.  In early days, it was recommended that if the corps was not producing, then it should be shut down and our efforts must be applied elsewhere.
This got me thinking.
Do we consistently pour resources, time, effort into ministries that are already dead on arrival?
Are we so organizationally stubborn or reluctant to pull up the rug and move on?

This sounds callous of me, I know.
I also realize the ramifications it could have on families and individuals dependent upon our services.
BUT…with fields ripe in other places, could our habits of holiness and mission be shunted by lack of courage to close one corps and open others?  OR have we become so fundamentally stuck in the mud of being an organization that we are now incapable (by and large) of shutting down broken, financially devastated, unsustainable corps?   I realize this is a sensitive topic, when some people look at certain corps with historical romantic lenses on and only see “what was”…but is being sentimental – detrimental to the forward progress of need and mission?

With that in mind, and with our focus upon corps today, I would like to explore the healthy habits.
This should help us better define our corps, its success in ministry and provide us vitals to its future.
What does a healthy corps look like?
What are they doing differently?
Is MY corps healthy?

4 Habits Of Healthy Corps:

prayer1. Prayer is at the forefront, not the background.
Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.” -Martin Luther
Prayer is not a last resort but a first response.
If a corps longs to be healthy, its corps members and leaders have to be on their knees in prayer.
It is in this act of humility and petition that we can become sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit.  Prayer is more than just offering a wish list to God.  Prayer is also more than just asking God to heal our friends and loved ones in their times of health concerns.  Prayer is the vital connection between humanity and our Divine God.  It is the spark plug of fellowship between believers as well.  Without prayer we lose the connection and the conversations with God.  He longs to connect with us both personally and corporately.

Have we begun to decline in corps attendances and in our fervor and mission because we have forgotten how to pray?  Are prayer meetings still a scheduled “thing” in our corps?   I believe that there is a direct correlation between dying corps and the death of the prayer meeting.

I can recall the prayer meetings that took place before Sunday Services.  It was specific, set aside time, when the local officers and the corps officers would gather, sometimes as they held hands and prayed for people, and for the Holy Spirit to fall afresh.   Are we missing this in our corps’ today?  Is prayer at the forefront or is it in the background?

2. A Healthy Corps Has Ministries & Programs That Are Relevant To Its Community Needs.
I understand that there are some tired, old programs that just need to be retired.  walk
I don’t say that with any trace of cynicism or disdain, but rather, with a sense of concern.  Sometimes we still believe that some of the old methods of programming we did in the 1960’s will still be relevant and applicable to today.  No doubt, the message of Christ will never change but the method of delivery has to.  Culturally speaking things have changed since the 1960’s.  I hold nothing against that era by any means, but we can’t live there anymore.  We have to progress.  We have to, at times, change our methods.

There will always be some who will argue that we shouldn’t search to be relevant, but if we love people…if we wish to connect with this modern generation, many who are unchurched all together, then we have to adjust our methods and our programming.

communityWhat are the needs of people in your community?
What is it that no one else is doing or is capable of doing in your community?
Could your corps be that “all things to all people” type of ministry?
We have to adjust.
We have to modify, while we uphold the sacred integrity of the good news of Christ.
Healthy Corps are doing this.
Healthy Corps are doing more than just surviving week to week on tired old programming.
Perhaps, if you see your corps as “not quite healthy”, it could be time to take a step out of the mundane, “same ole” routine and give your ministries a shot of adrenaline.

3.  A Healthy Corps Has Godly Leaders Who Are Developing Future Leaders
(Active Discipleship)

developmentIs there a drive to develop future leaders in your corps?
It could be through Corps Cadets classes, it could be through other one on one methods…but there ought to be a push to develop the future of leadership within your corps RIGHT NOW!  I don’t wish to alarm you, but many of our present corps are dying out.  Many of our currently “healthy corps” are in actually one generation away from being put on life support.  Where are the future local officers?  Where are the future corps officers?  How are we seeking to cultivate those gifts in younger generations?  It’s not overly complicated.  You don’t need a Phd in education to lead someone and mentor them, you just need to be available and giving of your time.

If you are a leader right now in your corps, you have the utmost responsibility to recruit your replacement and to disciple them.  Don’t wait for the Corps Officer to do this, you do it.  We cannot just wait for someone else to do what we are all called, as leaders to do.  A healthy corps has godly leaders who are developing future leaders. Are you available?
Are you willing to begin this if you haven’t already?

4.  A Healthy Corps Is Attractive And People Linger & Fellowship
fellowshipHere is where the first 3 habits trickle down to this last habit.
This last habit is more of a response to what is already happening in a healthy corps.
When fellowship is GOOD, people linger in its presence.
We’ve probably seen this after Sunday services from time to time.
People just want to continue “hanging out” with each other.
The fellowship of believers ought to be sweet…but sometimes it’s just plain sour.
There are, unfortunately, sometimes corps members who have bickered with each other for years and as soon as the last “amens” are said in church they march right out the door so that they do not have to be in the same room with their “enemy” who just so happens to attend the same corps.  REALLY?  Again, dear soldiers, this ought not be!  If we want desire to have a healthy corps, we have to seek reconciliation with those who are supposed to be our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

A healthy corps offers time to linger within one another’s fellowship.
It is a safe place to share with each other what is really going on in their lives.
The sweet aroma of this kind of fellowship is extremely attractive to those seeking Christ and a church to belong to.

Does your corps have a sweet aroma or a sour smell?

These are just four habits of a healthy corps…there are many more.
This is a mere primer to a larger topic of Christian living and corps health in our Army.
Is Your Corps Healthy?

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Dear Salvation Army, How To Build A Healthy Corps

Dear Soldiers and Officers, this is not the end all or be all of Corps Growth or the “How to” guide for all things Corps…but this is a start, a primer of sorts.

I want to delve into this topic of building a healthy corps today because I feel it vital to consider the basic elements that make up a healthy, vibrant corps.  All too often we can simply settle, maintain the status quo but never truly experience the thriving pulse of vibrancy.  Dear Soldiers and Officers, let’s not settle for mediocrity in our corps.  Let’s not plod onward thinking we can’t improve or grow more deeply spiritually as a corporate body.

Here are four basic elements for us to consider today.  These are tools to help us experience and create a healthy, vibrant corps.  ***(Disclaimer, we are not striving solely for a number increase, nor should we look over the fence at another larger corps and church and exclaim “let’s become them”…embrace your corps’ identity in your community)***

4 Basic Elements To Building a Healthy Corps:

meeting1.  Prayer & Prayer Meetings
It seems like some sort of over-simplistic Sunday school answer.  “You have a problem?  Then pray about it.”  But here is reality; those who pray together, weep together, laugh together, strive together, fellowship together will become strong…TOGETHER.  Long ago our corps would meet for prayer meetings and they would gather together, sometimes holding hands and pray for the needs of their congregation and community.  Some still meet like this…many have ceased to meet in such a way.   Soldiers and Officers – THERE IS GREAT POWER IN PRAYER!  Both corporately and privately.  I don’t mean to sound callous, but somewhere along the way a majority of us stopped meeting like this.  I am not sure if we truly believed God would hear us in our prayers or if we just simply got tired of meeting together.

Prayer is a vital spiritual discipline both corporately and privately.  It takes concerted effort to pray for each other and for everyone to ACTUALLY SHOW UP to these meetings of prayer.  If we want to experience a healthy corps, then we need to pave the way with fervent, meaningful times of prayer upon our knees.  The vital signs of our corps may not improve drastically overnight, they may not improve in a month or two…but over time the Lord will grant us a softened heart and a yearning to bring the needs of our corps into focused concentrated prayer.  When this happens, true love will spill over us for each other; true fellowship can occur; a sincerely desire to see God transform lives within the corps will also happen within us.

2.  Intentional Discipleshipdiscipleship
I don’t mean just some printed materials we use in a six week course.  I don’t mean just another program to count on a stats sheet…I mean Christian brothers holding other Christian brothers accountable, Christian sisters holding other Christian sisters accountable.  Intentional studying of God’s word together, elder Christians guiding a patiently loving younger Christians.  Can it begin with a simple bible study tool?  Of course, but it has to become something more than just filling out answers and memorizing scripture.  Trust is sometimes an issue.  Divulging ones personal struggles with another “Christian” brother or sister can be extremely difficult and even embarrassing.  One might feel that they are too vulnerable if trust is not first established and coveted in confidentiality.  But when we disciple one another…when we yearn to grow together (because let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t trust others in our corps and we don’t think that they have our best interests in mind)  When we can learn this spiritual discipline of discipleship, we can finally grow into the identity the Holy Spirit has been preparing us for since the moment of initial sanctification.

coffee3.  Intentional Joy & Fellowship
Not only should we be meeting for pray and discipleship but we ought to be joyously seeking fellowship together outside of the walls of our corps building.  I understand we do not all have the same interests and personalities and this might make fellowship difficult at times, but do we make a concerted effort to go to each other’s homes?  Are we seeking out times to share a meal together, go to a movie together, maybe take up a hobby together…or even bowl?  There can be joy found in laughter and the sharing of life moments together.  Are we willing to put ourselves out there?  I think that sometimes we are afraid of asking people over or taking a chance to share a meal with another member of our corps because we’re afraid we might not have anything in common or find total rejection.  If we are to become a healthier corps, we have to be willing to take a risk and to find intentional fellowship with other soldiers and friends.

Out of these intentional moments, a sweet aroma of love and joy can be expressed, so much so that others might be drawn to our fellowship.  People will see this kind of interaction of corps members and long to be a part of something like that.  Individual crave acceptance and love.  People want to “fit in”…when we make that concerted effort to fellowship with others, we can begin to emit that sweet aroma of joy and fellowship to those around us, and by proxy, we are unknowingly creating a visual type of appealing evangelism.

4.  Listen To Needslisten
I don’t merely say “Listen” to imply that we offer canned advice and suggestions, but rather when we actively listen to the needs of those around us we become more inclined to physically bridge that gap for others.  When we stop talking about our wants and needs, we can begin to listen to the needs of others.  “Others” can be those within our fellowship already as well as those who are on the fringes or living within our community.  Don’t draw a line in the sand that separates “Our People” from “Community People”…In God’s eyes ALL people are His, some just don’t know it yet.  Make sure that we allow this intoxicating joy to spill out and over not only those WITHIN but also those who are on the outside of the corps walls.  When we begin to actively listen to the needs of others, we can begin to hear the pulse of organic evangelism that is created from an Ideas book or another promotional “EVENT”, but rather is done simplistically and genuinely.  I am not saying that these other evangelistic ideas can’t be genuine, but from experience, listening to the needs of others silences the groans of prideful, often deaf, arrogant self and refocuses the heart onto true love and service to others.

These are just four ways to build a healthier corps together with you and me…and that neighbor down the street who has never been asked or invited to share in this intoxicating joy of fellowship.  Remember, we are saved to save and in the process we can sharpen each other and grow together through holy living.

Just something more for our Army world to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

Church 101 – “And the Survey Says…”


Below are 8 questions within a survey that, if you have the time, would you please click and fill it out.  
This survey is through “SurveyMonkey” it’s safe and you won’t be asked to give any information other than answering these quick and painless multiple choice questions.  

Next Monday I will share with you the results of this Church 101 survey.  Please help me in gathering as much data as I can by your participation in this survey, from you my fellow readers and bloggers.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.  

This should be interesting!


Here’s the link –

Stay tuned Monday as I explore results and please comment and help explore this topic with me!  

I Go (Poem)

Maybe who I am
Is not all I could be
Maybe who I
Could be
Would be
So much more
Than the shallow
Depth I feel.
I know I am
Not my own
That a calling
Heart ready,
Wants this growing
This holy
Endeavor to
Dig deep
Never sever
Never surrender
In my knowing
The spirit prompts
Me in my going…
And so I go.

Blog at

Up ↑