Grace Salvationist Church of CityVille

I had an idea today. You know how lots of other churches are called “Grace Baptist Church” or “1st Presbyterian Church of Bumblyburg.” What if a new corps was planted where we dropped the “Army” from the Salvation Army? What would that mean? What else could it imply?

Trinity Salvationist Church of Arlington

Good Shepherd Salvationist Community Church

The possibilities!

But then let’s take it further. What if at this “Trinity Salvationist Church” there were no uniforms, no “Captain”, no “Corps Council” (by name). What if we took the “Army” out of the Army?

I’m just wondering how much of our trappings are…….well……trappings.

Maybe I could say it better by asking “What really makes the Salvation Army what it is?” I mean, if the members of Trinity Salvationist Church are out feeding the poor, offering social serves in the week, meeting needs through disaster service, preaching the gospel, growing saints, and serving suffering humanity…well, wouldn’t that be the Salvation Army?

And look – I’m not saying it’s one thing or another. A corps could certainly have a good heart, do good things, thrive, and have all the old lingo and uniforms. This whole idea piqued my interest because as far as I know no one has tried a “Salvationist” church before. If you know of one let me know. I’d be interested to hear about it.

It just strikes me that there’s a chance people might be turned off to militarism in this day and age. And I honestly believe real Salvationism isn’t about being an Army. It’s about Holiness, Service and Love to Humanity, Discipleship, Evangelism, Justice, and a host of other things. But frankly, it doesn’t have to be an Army. Does it? And that’s a weird thought, right?

I actually spoke to someone just recently who had a better name I think for “traditional corps”. He called it a “preservationist corps”. Yikes, right? But he might not be that far off. What’s the real tradition of Salvationism? We could keep the doctrine, the mission, the spirit, but couldn’t we also try losing the militarism, maybe as an experiment in one or two places? Couldn’t we just see what happens?

Booth said once that he’d dance on his hands or something if it’d get someone saved. I bet we could get a few more saved by diversifying our communication of the gospel. So don’t go and throw out the old lingo just yet. But if you want to try and make something new, why shouldn’t you try? It might just help build God’s kingdom on earth where we weren’t building before. I’d be all for giving that a try.

-David

P.S. “CityVille” is the name of just about every city I ever made in SimCity. Ever.

One thought on “Grace Salvationist Church of CityVille

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Every tradition created in the Army first started as an initiative of relevancy, a way to best communicate the Gospel to reach the lost, build saints and save souls to the world of that day. The tradition of the army is to actually adapt to a changing world for the sake of the Kingdom! Our tradition lies in the tactic, not the specific.

    There was a time when the Army’s military lingo, uniforms, and music groups were radical and ground breaking! But these things were not put into practice to exist as future traditions, they were used to best communicate the Gospel. If a corps wants to hold fast to how the army worked in the late 1800s, go ahead and do so. Because for many of these “traditional corps,” those things still really work for that congregation. I am not saying they should be dismissed. But these details do not make up the identity of The Salvation Army church, holiness does.

    I would agree and love to see what happens if a corps plant take the “army” out of the Army! But I wonder what if a new corps plant took it a step further by going back to its true tradition of utilizing the tools of the current culture for the sake of the Gospel. What if the corps placed more focus on relevancy to the culture of the world instead of a focus on relevancy to the culture of the Army. The world in consistently changing, growing, and adapting. The Salvation Army should adapt with culture to be a missional church in the culture. That, to me, would be the true traditional corps.

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