Alove

Was at the regional Alove open day on Saturday. For those who don’t know, Alove is the ‘rebranding’ of The Salvation Army for a new generation in the UK Territory. It is refreshing to hear that, since its inception about a year ago, that some of its main projects are taking shape – mainly the ‘NEOs’ (New Expressions Of) that I spoke about in the blog on Sunday.

They run on the key elements of the ALOVE vision…commitment to engaging worship, radical discipleship, mission and social action. Not a bad basis for a new plant. I do hope that at least within the discipleship element there will be a focus on the radical commitment document which is the soldiers covenant but I won’t hold my breath too much.

Quite a few of the NEOs are being built alongside existing corps…like Edinburgh Granton, Falmouth, but others have taken over old buildings from corps that are long gone. Really encouraging actually to see old buildings full to the brim, not only of young people, but their families…people you wouldn’t normally see in church. I guess that gives them that authentic ‘Salvation Army’ DNA.

The sad thing is that many of the established corps in this territory would not be able to cope with these new people. Why? Because we are too fond of order, neat meetings, people that act and look and dress and smell and live in the same culture as we do. A Salvation Army that is willing to ‘go for souls and go for the worst’ is a distant memory for a lot of corps.

Its a challenge for the Army today to change our mindset. Many corps have a strong evangelistic heart, but I can’t help wondering if they have lost sight of the idea of actually existing for the lost. You could blame the shift in mindset from mission to church in this I guess…the point where the fellowship starts to exist for the benefit of its own members more than that of the lost.

Does the renewal of the Army, the Army for a new generation really need to face the shame of needing NEOs springing up everywhere because the ‘regular’ Salvation Army won’t budge and break its neck for the lost?

The challenge is clear.

yours

Andrew

3 thoughts on “Alove

  1. I do enjoy your blogs, and I personally always find them a challenge …. which of course is your style. It’s certainly a way of getting things off your chest, particularly things that annoy or frustrate.A little story always seem to come to mind when I believe stongly about things and feel a need to be challenging and provocative to those I would like to persuade to ‘change’ their thinking ……. indeed change their direction.It’s one of Aesop’s Fables:The North Wind and the Sun THE NORTH WIND and the Sun disputed as to which was the most powerful, and agreed that he should be declared the victor who could first strip a wayfaring man of his clothes. The North Wind first tried his power and blew with all his might, but the keenerhis blasts, the closer the Traveller wrapped his cloak around him, until at last, resigning all hope of victory, the Wind called upon the Sun to see what he could do. The Sun suddenly shone out with all his warmth. The Traveller no sooner felt his genial raysthan he took off one garment after another, and at last, fairly overcome with heat, undressed and bathed in a stream that lay in his path. Persuasion is better than Force.I guess as look back on my life I see see a load of things that I’ve accumulated in my thinking that have become quite precious and it’s not always easy to just ‘cast off’ or ‘chuck’ those things away. It sometimes can take a long time or maybe I’ll never let them go!!!. Some of my old ‘Brethren’ habits took ages to disappear or fade when I was led to choose the Salvation Army as my church. Some of them I still hold as very precious and I believe they are the very things that keeps me close to God. But others I have been led to ‘cast off’, they got in the way, and some are the very things you have talked about on your blog page. I just trust as I continue to grow in simple Christian Faith that I will always respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. God Bless you my friend, keep writing, keep provoking, but above all be as patient as God will let you be.Pete

  2. It’s interesting and encouraging to read about Alove. Here in the States, Army corps life in its traditional garb is barely hanging on. It’s doing fine in a few nostalgic places, but is in crisis most everywhere else, whether it’s recognized as such or not.There’s too much to be said about it all here, but a glance at a new blog shows some brewing discussions (SAUnderground.blogspot.com). So far, it seems to be about defining the problem more than offering solutions.Alove might provide some hope. I’ll stay tuned here and at the Alove website to see what comes of it. In the meantime, we on this side of the pond are in need of prayer and insight beyond what most of us realize.

  3. oh wow. . you have said it all. I know i shouldn’t despair and that i should have faith in God to bring about a resurrection of my corps. . i guess i have enough faith in God, i want to have faith. Its just some people I don’t have faith in. I’m currently a soldier with nowhere to belong. . long story. The only answer i can see for my city is a corps plant. . the corps is mired and stuck in traditionalism, what a horrid disease, like some wasting illness that has sapped it of its vitality and God-given power.

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