YS-Say YES to today’s resourceful Young Salvationists

by Lt. Colonel Marlene Chase and Captain Curtiss A. Hartley – 

Salvationists are among some of the brightest, most focused and positive young people in America. At school, at work, in their recreation and relationships, they are meeting the challenges of their society with vigor and optimism—and faith, trying to make their communities strong and safe. Whether serving in the military or on short-term missions teams, aiding those affected by hurricanes and floods or helping those in rehabilitative programs, they are committed to being the best they can be for God.

Following in the steps of young leaders like Eliza Shirley, who at age 17 bravely introduced her friends to the Army in Philadelphia, Salvationist youth are thoroughly convinced that the Army remains a viable voice and a burning flame to attract the attention of those who flounder in a confused culture without the light of God.

Head-on approach

Young Salvationist is committed to telling the stories of the Army’s youth and to helping them continue to grow in their faith. More than a Sunday school magazine, YS takes a head-on approach to helping high school and early college age students develop a mature Christian faith and find their unique place in the Army. Athletes, musicians, celebrities and young Salvationists themselves share their stories in profiles and interviews. No-fluff articles tackle real life questions with no easy answers. An annual contest encourages creative expression through writing and photography from readers.

The magazine has a long history stretching back to 1881. First titled The Little Soldier, it became The Young Soldier, and later Young Salvationist (YS). It is the oldest publication of its kind in the world and its circulation remains one of the largest among youth religious periodicals. It has never been a static publication but has adapted to changing times and needs, rising above the babble of the insubstantial and the trendy.

In the last ten years, YS lost two of its bright young editors—but “lost” is hardly a fitting term, because both left the National Publications Department to enter the College for Officer Training. After ably serving the goals and missions of the magazine, Lesa Davis joined her husband Brian to enter training. Today, the Captains Davis serve on the training college staff in Chicago, Illinois. Captain Timothy Clark, with his wife Evelyn, left National Publications to enter the School for Officer Training in Suffern, New York. Today, they are serving in Eastern Europe, continuing to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name.

They left their mark on the magazine and on young hearts, and we waited to see who God would send to follow the long line of committed editorial personnel.

A relevant message

In July of this year, after more than a year’s seeking and praying, Captain Curtiss Hartley became the new editor of YS. “It was really a dream come true,” says Hartley, who was commissioned an officer in 1981. He and his wife Sandy served in corps appointments until 1994, but though they left officer ranks to gain further education, they never lost their abiding trust in God and allegiance to the Army.

Curtiss pursued his training in mass communications, journalism and television and radio broadcasting and worked in those fields until his reacceptance to officership this year. Stalwart soldiers, both the Hartleys and their teenaged children, Justin and Megan, maintained local officer positions in the St. Louis Temple Corps and continued to seek the Lord’s will for their lives. Curtiss left his job as the city editor of the Collinsville Herald Journal in Illinois to become the new editor of YS. Asked what the most urgent need is for youth today and how YS is addressing that need, Hartley said, “I think the answer can be summed up in a word—reassurance. In our world, hopelessness abounds, and many media messages, even the educational system, present that as the bleak reality.

“In a turbulent world where worries of terrorism, disease, loneliness, failure, divorce, rampant sexuality, and a world-view that declares ‘tolerance’ for an anything-goes philosophy as the only valid belief system, young people need to be reassured. They need to know that the message of Christ is relevant to their lives today; that they are OK, in fact perfect, as God made them; that there is hope for them personally, and for their future; and that they are not alone in their struggles.

“In the pages of YS, young people will see real world examples of other Christian youth—celebrities, youth leaders and Salvation Army ministers—doing phenomenal things for God and making real differences where they are. YS will challenge readers to examine their beliefs and find solid foundation in Jesus. Most importantly, YS will encourage young people to sell out completely to Christ, knowing that His promise to give life to the fullest is for them.”


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