Come join his Army
by Erin Wikle –
“Yes, we are a church. But we are so much more. We are The Salvation Army.”
This statement caught my eye the other week as I read more on our Army’s new initiative, “Come join our Army.” Originating from the Commissioners’ Conference, this new campaign proffers the following three-year plan to raise up a new generation of soldiers:
Year One: “… Our Army,”
Involves intentionality in teaching, renewing, re-establishing who we are. Yes, we are a church. But we are so much more. We are The Salvation Army.
I’m inclined to say, “Hallelujah!” but admit I am hesitant. What can rightfully be declared as so much more than a church? I pray that, we, The Salvation Army would never make such a declaration. We are a movement. We are a social justice movement. Fortunately, we, as a people, are a church too. But if the Army exists as it was originally established as a social justice movement, then I pray it will reestablish itself as this:
A body of hard working, hand-dirtying, knee-bending, sin-refuting, justice-seeking, life giving, soul-saving soldiers who belong to Jesus Christ.
If we expend any effort at all “re-establishing” who we are, let it not be in vain, but in the name of the One who gives us any purpose worth boasting at all. If we expend any effort learning (relearning) anything let us pray:
Teach me how to pray.
Teach me how to serve thee,
Better every day.
Year Two: “… Join…”
Reestablishes commitment to leadership of local programs, tithing, and participation in programs.
Yes! Let us be committed to each other, our leadership structures, tithing, and programs. But let it not be our sole focus! If our only desire is to add another name to another roll sheet, then we are in the wrong business. People before programs, my friends. If we are in any business, we better be in the relationship business. Lack of relationships and an inability to connect into the core of a church is the number one reason that visitors won’t come back again (The Engaging Church). Be committed to engaging the people who walk through your church doors for the first time and, I assure you, God will be pleased.
Year Three: “Come…”
Focuses on evangelism, outreach to social service clients, community involvement, etc.
At last! Lest we reinvent the wheel while we re-establish who we are—this is who we are! As The Salvation Army, we should be livin’ and lovin’ this stuff! This is the Army that our Founder had in mind when he established the work of the then Christian Mission in the East End of London. We can plead, beg, persuade, and petition as much as we’d like. Our community will not come to Christ or to us unless we come to them first. Get out and get involved.
I am proud to be a soldier in The Salvation Army. But I am even more proud to be a soldier in Christ’s Army. I find freedom when I identify with Christ and the work he is doing within me. I praise him for using me, to his glory, and his alone.
So, consider this an invitation: Come join his Army. If it is Christ who was broken on the cross, the weight of your iniquity on his shoulders, then join his Army. If it is Christ who saved you from the fiery gates of hell and instead offered you freedom and eternity, join his Army. If it is Christ whom you have chosen to live for despite the sway and pull of a world desperate for your attention, then join his Army. If it is Christ whom you desire to serve, regardless of the price you have to pay, then join his Army.
Christ owes you nothing. You owe him everything. Enlist. Come join his Army. It’s simple, and it doesn’t need to be any other way.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life… He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:17-20).
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him (Matthew 4:19-20).
“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination” (The Salvation Army’s International Mission Statement).