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.