‘Go to them’


Had a wonderful moment today that I just had to share. I was in HMP Aberdeen for our chaplaincy team meeting (I’m just about to be on the staff there as a part time chaplain although I’ve been a volunteer chaplain there for about a year). We were talking about the fact that due to some structural and timing issues, one of the wings wasn’t being opened up in time for the prisoners from that wing to come to the ‘chapel service’ on a Sunday morning. Attendances had taken a dive from around 25 to maybe as little as 4 each week.

Having thought about several things, one of the Church of Scotland chaplains comes away with an idea that I’d never have expected him to come up with. ‘Lets forget about having the service in the chapel and go and do it in the public arena of the hall where the men are.’

Result!

The conversation had so long been about how we get people to come to the chapel service in the environment where going to church isn’t the done thing to be seen doing. The first ‘open air’ in the halls will be 20th December!

Then came the next idea. ‘Lets give up some time on a Sunday evening once in a while and go into the halls and eat with the men.’ And I am there quietly shouting ‘amen, hallelujah…now we’re getting the idea!’

We are looking forward to seeing the Kingdom advance in Aberdeen prison. We had a wee chat with the Governer and she was supportive. Result!

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Evangelism is not a dirty word

In the times we are in, there has been much that has demoted evangelism to the bottom of the pile. Many people are reluctant to share faith because of the culture of the society we’re in, such as the culture I described yesterday. Some thing that because the church isn’t a norm in society, because we’re pluralistic and multi-cultural, and because the world doesn’t readily except the gospel that everyone once had a knowledge of, what we must do now is just make friends and hope the gospel shines from us. I understand that conclusion.

However, there is an alternative we must consider. You know, especially here in the UK, there are more and more people who have no idea of the gospel story. I make reference to the supermarket Sainsburys who last year put out a press release in support of the sale of all their Easter eggs, stating that they had a commitment to sell them due to them being a celebration of Christ’s birth! Then re-issued the statement stating that it wasn’t, of course his birth, but his death. Then, for a third time, they re-issued a statement and confessed that it was in fact in celebration of his resurrection that they were selling the eggs! People don’t know the story of Jesus.

I think that much of our evangelism has had the purpose of getting people to come to church. Again, I state that ‘church’ as an institution, and as a place you go and have services done to you by the professional clergyman and where you don’t have to buy in further than chipping a few quid into the collection plate are over. If churchianity is indeed coming to an end (please God!), then the people who will be Christians are those who are totally sold out to Jesus and many of the people who have some notion that they should attend church will do so no more on cultural grounds. As things get tough in the world with regards to being a Christian, the tactic of getting people to front up to a service on a Sunday will be useless.

Why? Because church is not what happens on a Sunday or Wednesday night. Its not somewhere you go. Church is something we are..and…there is only one church. The word churches shouldn’t really be in our vocabulary because there is but one body. Someone once said that Jesus is coming back for A bride, not a hareem.

So, if evangelism is not to get people to come along to our church empires, what is it? It is the good news of the Kingdom of God, thats what it is. Jesus preached everywhere that the Kingdom of God was at hand. There is an alternative way that you are invited into, a different world, eternity beginning here and now where the charactistics are righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Where the first are last and the last are first etc etc. The entry point into that Kingdom is through repentance and faith in the key character, Jesus, who steps into history of the human being and provides the keys of escape from our corrupt society and our corrupt lives into this other Kingdom.

We have the incredible opportunity to begin to tell the story, God’s story of redemption. Remember when two disciples were walking along the Emmaus road? They didn’t recognise the Jesus that walked with them, they were caught up in the shock of all that had happened, but Jesus brings some context to what they’d just experience by taking them to Moses and the prophets! Have you ever noticed that? Jesus talks to them about his own significance in the context of history….he tells them the story that they’d maybe never considered.

In any case, we have a load of people who don’t know our story (including Sainsburys!). And here is our chance to present not a ‘come to our church’ gospel but welcome to the Kingdom…come, taste and see the beauty of it…come live it with us and we live counter-culturally to the world we are in through the gateway of the cross, death and resurrection of Jesus.

We have the opportunity not to bring people to church, sit them in a pew and leave them forever unemployed in the salvation story of the world. We can invite them in and have them taking part straight away.

We are a salvation people….this is our speciallity. Getting saved, keeping saved, and getting others saved. And when we’re saved, we’re saved to save (and serve too).

Join the Army…be a soldier…enter the adventure…live out the Kingdom and invite people to join you.

Pre-revolution, not post-Christendom

I’ve just had two very interesting weeks. Officers councils, furlough in between, then a weekend on the Crucible Course, a course run by Urban Expression and The Salvation Army about creating communities of faith on the margins.

Both those ‘conferences’ were good in and of themselves, but I’ve become aware of some significant contrasts. Much of it is hinged around this thing ‘post-Christendom.’ Now, my confession is that I’ve only every heard of this post-Christendom presented in negative terms. Times of ignorance of the gospel, decreasing influence of the church, people not attending church, increase of pluralism and multi-cultural society etc etc They are, of course, challenges we need to wake up to.

The response I’ve heard from my leaders is that we reject the demise of Christendom as a myth and carry on regardless ‘growing the Church’, simply working a lot harder to produce what we could produce a few years ago with greater ease. In other words, advance the institution.

I’ve heard much too about the promotion of officership, which in huge ways I’m all for, but my concern has been the language and tone that we’ve heard. Officership as a sacred call, a priesthood, a role above and beyond any other call. We’ve had written minutes confirming that there are some jobs that only officers are allowed to do, for example. We’re enforcing the demonic clergy-laity split, itself a product of Christendom. All this has been presented as what we must do to defeat this post-Christendom thing….more or less re-assert and defend Christendom.

You see, when you make the church of Jesus equal to power of state, what you get is compromise on the radical message of Jesus and you see the church begin to take part in attrocities. Examples? Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, witch trials, burning of heretics etc. Basically, the crushing of all who don’t believe the same as us. You also get within the church a bully culture, because its leaders see themselves as having power in the organisation to mete out the laws and decrees thereof.

What my second weekend allowed me to do was actually see the benefits of being followers of Jesus in a post-Christendom world and respond in a much more positive way than defending the old regime. In many ways, you see, it will gradually take us back to a world akin to pre-Christendom…before the uniting of church and state…when Christianity was a marginal movement, persecuted, misunderstood but yet growing immensely and really impacting society from a position of weakness instead of power.

Its a time where we can re-visit the message of Jesus and be unequivocally committed to living it out in its radicalness. You know, you don’t have to play down the teaching of Jesus on peace, for example, because we’re not expected to go to the battle field and pray protection for the soldiers and pray a prayer of accuracy over the bombs!

It takes us back to a time were the church expressed itself primarily as community in mission as opposed to congregation in maintenance. Where there was total mobilisation of the people, not to build the institution, but to build the Kingdom and see people start to follow in the way of Jesus. There are many more advantages.

I maintain that the Army, although it has become an unattractive Christendom institution today, had its roots in a really appropriate response to an impotent institutional Christianity. Booth marched the Army OUT of the established church (even Methodism had returned away from its radical ‘called-out-ness’) and built revolutionary missional communities (the fellowship was in the fight) on the margins of our society, challenging everything that was contrary to the message of Jesus.

I reflected with many good people over the weekend that the Army is continually seeking to take up the status of ‘church’ when what it needs to do is embrace what God raised us to be and do. We’re sold out to the building of the Salvo empire and all this in a time when every empire that there has ever been has disappeared or is disappearing and when the ‘church image’ is most unnatractive to the world because of all they have seen of the church in its most unnatrative forms through the 1400 years of Christendom. What we need to do, is grasp not the methods, but the spirit of our forebears who were all out to save the lost, transform society and live a different reality.

Friends, primitive Salvationism is the most appropriate response to a post-Christendom society…a movement of ordinary radicals who have Jesus as King, who by their approach and lifestyle say ‘the Kingdom is not of this world, we sing a different tune’ and flesh out the truth that those who are first shall be last, and those who are last shall be first. The early Christian movement was solid at the centre and fuzzy at the edges, becoming all things to all people that by some means we might save some. We should be throwing off all that smacks of imperialism and seek to live the alternative that Jesus began to establish in his followers (favour the poor, care for the orphan and widow, welcome the alien, turn the other cheek, redistribute the wealth, first shall be last).

Salvationism will need to stop equating soldiership with membership of the body of Christ, recognising that to be a Salvationist is to be a member of a covenanted missional order (maybe you want to call it neo-monasticism).

I’m still working out in full how this might even begin to look. This is my Kingdom ambition. I’m geniunely excited about the possibilites of this new era we are gradually entering. It is in doing this that we in a very real sense build the Army because in living as the Army in this way that we will be actually building the Kingdom as opposed to enforcing and putting scaffolding around Christendom.

On Village Warfare


The previous post, a section from O&R for Corps Officers in 1930, is the section about Village Warfare. Following on from the bit of stuff about Brigades, there was a few things that caught my eye in this chapter.

Firstly, there is just the huge concept of reaching the whole district, even beyond the immediate corps’ town or area. The importance of reaching small villages, is dealt with most practically. But yet, just because a place wasn’t big enough to host a corps, they could still be ‘worked’ in a regular way.

Secondly, there is the ingenuity of the preaching station, or the ‘Battery’. This was something we carried over from Methodist days, but what a practical way to get the message out. The modern day equivalent has to be the ‘gospel bus’ …you know, buses that are driven into areas of a community and opened up for people to come on. I know that the 614 Melbourne (see picture above) folks have one and I know, here in the UK, that the Church Army have one or two as do the Jesus Army. The idea of a mobile unit to take the gospel and the Army’s message is still a valid idea.

Thirdly, in relation to the battery, we see something of an intersting deployment of officer forces. Here are officers being deployed for the sole purpose of running an evangelistic unit out of the, dare I say, confines of the pastoral post. We need to discover again how to best assign our officers, and recognise that not all are primarily pastors (you’ll have heard me bang on about that before, no doubt.) In relation to wise use of forces, there is the total common sense approach to the circle corps, a collection of small groups called societies with their own expression in their various location, but a shared officer.

On the whole, I think we just see a ‘we must do what we can to save the world’ attitude coupled with some creativity in doing that. How often do we thing of the small communities in our area? Do we ever think about taking an Army presence there? Could there be, as the O&R say some undiscovered treasure in areas where there may never be a corps but there could be people contacted, saved and employed in the fight? We need to cast the net bigger…put out our nets on the other side of the boat sometimes.

Orders & Regulations for Corps Officers (1930) Chapter XX: Village Warfare

1. The Army is as much responsible for the Salvation of the people who live in the villages as of those who reside in larger centres.

(a) The good work already accomplished in villages and hamlets in all parts of the world, including the establishment of thriving corps and the raising of valuable Officers, emphasises the importance of still more zealous warfare, notwithstanding certain peculiar difficulties that such work involves

(b) Officers appointed to the villages should accept such appointment as from God, ever recognising that some have gifts which secure them ready acceptance with rural and scattered populations, while others are more at home in cities and towns. Neither should depreciate the other. Moreover, all Officers who have opportunity to do so, should seek in some way to proclaim the Army’s message in the villages, also, as far as possible, stimulating their Soldiers to do likewise.

(c) In order to effectively reach the villages, The Army adopts, in varying circumstances, such methods as seem best suited to the respective localities; inclucluding

(i) circle corps
(ii) Batteries
(iii) District corps

2. In a Circle Corps each constituent Society is distinct from the others, having its own Rolls, Flag, and Local Officers, also seperate finance, and each contributes towards the support of the Officersl yet united, such Societies are regarded as one Corps.

(a) Officers are appointed to Circle Corps in the same way as to other corps, and, except in respects indicated to them by Headquarters, are required to observe the Regulations for ordinary Corps work.

(b) The DC will decide what proportion of time the Officers are to devote to the respective Societies and what meetings are to be held thereat.

(c) Officers who command Circle COrps, and the LOs, Soldiers, and Recruits attached to them, have respectively the same rights, priveleges and responsibilities as their comrades elsewhere.

3. A Battery is a van fitted with a platform for Open-Air work, and constructed for the conveyance of Salvationists and suppplies to scattered populations.

(a) Each Battery is under the charge of a Commanding Officer, who, together with his Lieutenant, must carry out the special instructions issued for their guidance. They are required to report on teir work to the DC of teh Division in which the Battery for the time being located.

(b) Battery Officers should aim, above all else, to proclaim the Army’s message and bring about the Salvation of the people in localities which would otherwise be unreached. Wherever there seems the prospect of establishing permanant work, they should also make inquiries concerning, and report to the DC any buildings or vacant land suitable for Army purposes.

(c) Each Battery will distribute Army periodicals and other literature, obtaining the same in the usual way, from The Army’s recognised medium of supplies.

(d) The CO is responsible for the cleanliness, preservation from fire, and protection from abuse of the Battery. He must report to the DC concerning necessary repairs, and immediately, should the Batter meet with any accident.

4. Officers stationed at Corps from which surrounding villages can be reached with reasonable facility should, provided the DC approves, endeavour to carry on Army operations there, with the help of their people, as regularly and frequently as circumstances permit. Corps acting thus are known as District Corps.

In some villages a suitable building can be obtained, either regularly or ocassionally, and an Open-Air attack is always possible. Many Corps could send contingents to the villages every Sunday afternoon or evening, the Band and the Songster Brigade Ior some members of these combinations) among others, taking turns at this duty.

A few thoughts on ‘Brigades’

I wanted to publish that section of the 1930s Orders and Regs for Corps Officers for a few reasons. Firstly, because it seems to me that it contains much of the 1914 Orders and Regs for Wards, the Army’s prototype cell groups derived from Wesley’s class system. Secondly, because they are a great picture of living intentionally in a mission mode.

Now, of course, it is a document of its time. Sometimes we have challenges looking at documents like this and so automatically dismiss them of no value, but there is treasure in here to be mined.

Here is the basic concept, as it was then. You have a corps. You assign each person, everyone from I suppose convert/recruit/adherent to soldier/local officer to a brigade. Some of those brigades may already be in existance and if thats the case, great (eg band, songsters etc) and the ones that aren’t involved, you create on for them.

These people are given leadership by a Brigade Leader, who is in essence, a mini corps officer responsible for pastoral oversight, and employment in the salvation war. The brigades get assigned to a part of the corps district and focus on that area for outreach, community work and for gathering together as a sub-expression of the corps.

Pastoral care happens (and not just as the corps officer). Mission happens. Evangelism happens. Serving the poor happens. Total mobilisation happens.

I’m thinking of places I’ve seen this in operation. I have to say that the Ward System we initiated at Pill was an attempt at this…as I say, I can identify much of the 1914 O&R for Wards in that 1930 reg. Wards had within them a ‘brigade’ system, but here we see the other way around. I’m guessing the wards were seen as maybe too difficult to set up alongside existing systems like band etc, and so they update the whole brigade idea.

Anyway, yes, we tried this in Pill and although the corps have now re-named and gone down the ‘cell’ route, I think much of the same essence is still in existence, praise God.

Other systems I’ve seen currently have to be at Holy Trinity Brompton (large Anglican church in London, home of the Alpha Course), who have what are called Pastorates. These are, in essense, ‘Brigades’. They meet together (maximum of 40 people) for worship, bible teaching, encouragement, pastoral care under two leaders, male and female. They meet in geographical areas across London and I understand several of them have gone on to either adopt dying churches or form their own under the umbrella of HTB. They produce a little booklet called ‘Pastorates’ and its available from HTB. HTB is certainly a church that many seek to emmulate.

Of course, there are still soem brigades active in the Army, but I’m not sure if there are entire corps where this brigade approach is operating.

This to me is about total mobilisation and involvement of the whole corps in mission and in mutual support, care, nourshment, sharpening and encouragement of each other. None of the 80/20 thing where 20 percent of the people do 80 per cent of the work. In that sense, these are wholistic small groups, if you’re in NCD language.

I still maintain that this could be an effective pattern for mission if viewed through a 21st century lens. As Major Stephen Court says, these Os & Rs have not been tried and found wanting…its more that they have been deemed irrelevant and therefor not tried. I think, in fact, he is offering $1000 AUD to someone who tries this system and can prove that it doesn’t lead to growth!! We have a very small corps here at Torry, but we’re using this as a pattern as we build, albeit from a very low base.

Anyway, have a think on these things. Could it help any cell groups/house groups you currently have? Could it develop your surviving brigades (songsters, band, corps cadets/youth group, Home League)? Don’t like the terminology….well change it if you like. I’d simply love to see a day with a greater mobilised soldiery, a less one-man-band officership and a steady increased influence in the lives of our communities in which we live.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this concept. Not particularly interested in ‘can’t see this ever happening in the Army’ – more interested in comments on the effectiveness, or otherwise of the system. Also, there is also a danger of using surviving brigades (such as band or songsters) as a bench mark…don’t be distracted by the narrowness of these groups, and think wider to the other aspects of them.

Orders & Regulations for Corps Officers (1930) Chapter VI Section Two: Corps Brigades

1. The Commanding Officer is responsible for organising Corps into Brigades (if not already done), and for insuring the efficient working of the same.

Even where it may not be possible to carry out, in its entirety, the Brigade organisation hereinafter described, ever Corps of specified size is required to adopt it as far as possible. Arrangements must at least be made for the guardianship and oversight of every Salvationist and Comrade by a responsible Brigade Leader

2. The CO must obtain the approval of his Divisional Commander with respect to all plans for the formation of Corps Brigades, also to any changes in the Brigades already formed.

3. To be fully effective, this system must embrace every individual in the Corps, providing for each adequate spiritual oversight and suitable Salvation employment.

To this end, every Soldier’s and Recruit’s name should be on one or other of the Corps Brigade Registers. Some names may be on more than one. (See para. 15)

4. To inaugurate the Brigade system of organisation, the CO should proceed as follows:

(a) He should recognise as essential to the scheme departments of the Corps work already existing – probably Band (brass or other), Songsters, Young People’s Workers, Corps Cadets; each of which shouyld usually constitute a distinct Brigade. But should this result in some Brigade or Brigades being unduly small, there might be a combination, as, for example, YP Workers and Corps Cadeds.
(b) He should, unless the Recruits are very few, form a Recruits’ Brigade, which should include also the Converts.
(c) He should, in a small Corps, include all other comrades in a Soldiers’ Brigade. But where such number more than forty, they should be arranged in two or more brigades.

5. In larger Corps, the organisation of Soldiers not included in a Brigade representing a specific phase of corps work (see para 4 (a), (b)) will require particular care. These should be formed into two or more Brigades ( see para 4 (c)) in such a way that each has from fiteen to forty members. The basis of classification may vary according to curcumstances. Thus:

(a) The basis might be personal suitablity, each comrade being placed where he is likely to find congenial environment, associations, and Salvation employment.
(b) The basis might be place of residence. That is, Soldiers not included in already existing Corps Brigades would be arranged according to the Regions in which they life. (See para 6)
(c) The basis might be sex. That is, there could be a Brothers’ and a Sisters’ Brigade; or, if Sisters were sufficiently numerous, a Married Sisters’ and a Single Sisters’ Brigade. Similarly with the Brothers.
(d) The basis might be position and work in the Corps. Thus, besides one or more Soldiers’ Brigades (to which should be allocated comrades not elsewhere included), a variety of Brigades could be worked as circumstances render advisable; for example;
i. A Home League Brigade, for HL members who are soldiers
ii. A Heralds’ Brigade, for sellers of publications
iii.A Bandsmans’ Wives Brigade
iv. A Veterans’ Brigade, including aged and disabled comrades.
(e) The basis might be a combination of some of the foregoing. For example, there could be a Brothers’, a HL, and a Sister-Soldiers’ Brigade – or any other arrangement that would suitably place every comrade.

6. The Corps District should be divided into portions or ‘Regions’ corresponding in number with the Brigades that are organised.

(a) The Regions should be so arranged and should so join each other that together they include the whole Corps district, with its entire population.
(b) Well-defined boundaries should as far as possible be chosen, such as main thoroughfares, railways and canals.
(c) Each Region should be given a name by which it can be easily recognised. This may be either the name of the neighbourhood, or of some prominent street, square, or building therein.
(d) Each Brigade should be responsible for aggressive Salvation warfare in a specified Region. (see para 14)
(e) If desired, the regions for which the Brigades are responsible may be changed periodically, but only with the DCs approval.

7. A Local Officer, known as a Brigade Leader, shall be responsible, under the CO, for the leadership of each Brigade.

(a) The leaders for certain Brigades are definitely fixed by Regulation, thus: Bandmaster, for the band; Songster Leader, for the songsters; YPSM, for the YP Workers; CC Guardian for the CCs; Recruiting Sergeant, for the Recruits and Converts; HL Secy for the HL; Publications Sergeant, for Heralds; Veterans’ Sergeant, for Veterans.
(b) Each Brigade Leader may be assisted by a Sergeant of the opposite sex.
(c) Certain Brigade Leaders should be assisted in visitation and other duties as follows: Bandmster, by Band Sergeant; Songster Leader, by Songster Sergeant; YPSAM, by Assistant YPSM and Visiting Sergeants as required; CC Guardian, by Assistant CC Guardian; Recruiting Sergeant, by Assistant RS, Visitint and Penitent-Form Sergeants as required; HL Secy, by HL Welcome or Visiting Sergeant.
(d) Each Brigade Leader will be responsible to the CO with respect to his own Brigade for:
(i) The general welfare, the employment, and the development of each Salvationist attached thereto. (see para 8)
(ii) The holding of required meetings or classes (see para 9)
(iii) The conducting of Company Open Air meetings (see para 10)
(iv) Cartridges (see para 11)
(v) The Corps Brigade Register (see para 12)
(vi) Cottage Meetings in the allotted Region (See para 13)
(vii) Aggressive Salvation fighting in the allotted Region (see para 14)

8. Each Brigade Leader should take general oversight of all who constitute his Brigade. In particular:

(a) he should, either personally or with the help of his assitant, watch over them temporally and spiritually, visit them in their homes, especially when sick, care for them in difficulty, and do all in his power to promote theri holiness, happiness and usefulness.
(b) He should report to the CO the same day and who are seriously ill, and as early as possible any who backslide, prove disloyal, or meet with temporal difficulty
(c) He should arrange, as far as is in his power, for the fullest and most suitable employment of all, urging them to the fulfillment of every duty, and giving to each needed instructions, training, encouragement and guidance.
(d) He should be called in for consultation at the Census meeting when any comrade for whom he is responsible is under consideration for removal from the Roll

9. The Co should see that, in Brigades where Meetings and Classes are required by regulation, the respective leaders regularly hold such. These include:

(a) For Band and Songsters respectively, a weekly practice opened and closed by prayer, a monthly spiritual meeting, and the condicting of a public week-night meeting each month.
(b) For YP Workeers, a weekly Preparation class.
(c) For Corps Cadets, a weekly Training Class.
(d) For Converts and Recruits, a Converts Meeting weekly whenever convenient.
(e) For the Home League, a weekly Meeting

10. The CO should arrange for each Brigade to hole separate Open Air Meetings at least once every Sunday, the Brigade Leader being responsible for leading.

When the fighting force of the Brigade is insufficient, two or more Brigades should unite, the Brigade Leaders being jointly responsible for the Meetings.

11. The distribution and collection of teh Cartridges may be carried out, with respect to each Brigade, by or under the direction of the Brigade Leader.

12. The CO should supply each Brigade Leader with am official Corps Brigade Register, in which are entered the names of all who belong to the Brigade.

13. The CO should, wherever circumstances permit, arrange for teh holding of a weekly Cottage Meeting, by each Brigade, in the Region for which it is responsible.

(a) The dat and time for each Meetings will be decided by the DC
(b) If desired, two or more Brigades may unite to hold such meetings
(c) Usually a Regional Cottage Meeting should be held in a room lent for the purpose by a Soldier, or a friend. But the CO may, with the DCs consent, arrange for it to take place elsewhere.
(d) Cottage meetings should, as far as possible, be attended by all Soldiers, Recruits and Converts belonging to the Brigades, who should bring with them unsaved people of their acquiantance, particularly any under conviction of sin, or seeking Salvation. The CO should also impress upon each Leader his responsibility for the unsaved. Both Leader and Salvationists should make every effort to persuade unsaved residents of the region to attend the meetings, and to bring them to decision
(e) A Cottage Meeting may, with advantage, be proceeded by an open air meeting within the boundaries of the Region.
(f) The CO is required to ensure that Regional and other Cottage Meetings are spiritual in character, including appropriate content, liveliness, testimony, prayer and an inviation to the mercy seat.

14. The Co should encourage the Brigade Leader to stimulate the Salvationists under his direction to earnest effort on behalf of the unsaved residents in the appointed Region. At the same time the CO must take care that work of this kind in no way interferes with the ordinary operations of the Corps throughout the entire district. Such brigade efforts may include:

(a) Open Air and Cottage Meetings when possible, especially on week nights.
(b) Visitation, especially of the sick and from house-to-house. A Company of Soldiers might be organised for this purpose.
(c) The distribution of Army literature. As far as possible each Brigade should provide at least on Herald for this purpose.
(d) The organising of Sldiers for Special Service to meet any particular need of the Region – for example, in workhouses, Lodging-homes, or Slums, should such places be found within the boundaries of the Region.
(e) For distribution of poor relief, when needed.
(f) Self-Denial collecting
(g) Advertising, such as the distribution of handbills prior to special meetings.

15. A Soldier whose duties require him, at different times, in two or more Corps Brigades, may be considered to belong to each, and his name may be upon each Brigade Register.

16. When the number of Soldiers and Recruits in any Brigade exceeds forty, the CO should inform the DC and make some proposal for re-arrangement. Usually, unless the DC directs otherwise, such Brigades should be divided, thereby forming a new Brigade.

17. (Doesn’t exist in the book….typing error!!)

18. The CO will need constantly to supervise and inspire the whole if the Brigade organisation is to work successfully. In particular:

(a) He should, at his monthly LO meeting give such guidance, instruction, and encouragement, as will help the leaders of the various Brigades to do their work satisfactorily. The CO must take responsiblity for the Brigade Leaders’ welfare, just as they should for the welfare of the Salvationists in their respective Brigades.
(b) He should act promptly and in cooperation with the responsible LOs whenever the case of sichness or difficult is made known to him.
(c) He should interest himself in the affairs of eac Brigade, regularly and helpfully condicting with each such meetings and classes as regulation require and circumstances render possible.
(d) He should encourage all to attend Brigade Open Airs as regularly as possible and periodically visit each, helping and guiding leaders where necessary.
(e) He should regularly examine each Corps Brigade register.
(f) He should promptly allot to some suitable Brigade every soldier newly enrolled as such, and ever Soldier transferred from another Corps. He should also arrange, where necessary or desireable, for the transfer of Sldiers between one brigade to another.
(g) He should magnify the importance of the Soldier’s Meeting, making it of teh nature of a united gathering of all the Brigades, referring therein to their respective work and to such Brigade matters as affect the corps as a whole.

19. The Corps Brigade dealt with in this chapter must be carefully distinguished from Special Service Brigades; the former are integral parts of an organised corps, the latter are companies of Salvationists banded together for some particular form of service, such as rescue or slum work, hospital visitation, and so on.

(a) Every Soldier and Recruit (where the soldiership is over a hundred and fifty) must belong to a corps brigade; he may also belong to onr or more than one Special Service Brigade.
(b) Whenever there is any doubt as to which kind of Brigade is intended, the gull term – ‘Corps Brigade’ or ‘Special Service Brigade’ as the case may be – should be used

Be a hero to a child

A couple of days ago, Commissioner Joe Noland sent me his DVD ‘Altars in the Street’ which outlines his plea for Christian people to step in to the lives of children in their communities, especially considering that many children are ‘at risk.’ The DVD carries the true story of a boy, Joey and a girl Annie and how their lives were influenced for the good and for the bad for the involvement or non involvement of Christian people in their lives. Many children become ones who are remembered by teddybear covered graves or flowers tied to railings – altars in the street.

You know, children who are growing up in desperate conditions don’t always realise that there is an alternative unless they happen to glimpse it elsewhere. When I was growing up, I had no idea that my life was any different to any other child. Yet, my life at home as a child was marked by break-up of marriage, violence, poverty, depression, a lot of sadness, fear and rejection. The memories I carry of childhood, even the few positive ones, are tinged by sadness. That all leaves its scars.

My life changed when one man stepped in at the age of around 9. Thing is, he maybe didn’t know what he was doing. When he stepped into my life with kindness, support, massive encouragement and calm guidance he would probably never have guessed the absence of all these things in my home life. My brass teacher at primary school, Brian Keachie, rescued me and I’m eternally grateful. I want him to know, in no uncertain terms, about the impact of his life on just one of his many pupils over the years.

There was something different about him. I’d never seen this kind of man anywhere else at all. At a time when I started to abuse prescripted medication, at an all time low, I discovered, at a much later age of around 14 that he was a member of this thing called The Salvation Army. I immediately wanted to find out about it. I knew that there must be something in it that was making the difference.

I eventually worked up the courage to steal my bus fare from my grandmothers purse and make my way to The Salvation Army where I found several other heroes, champions, mothers and fathers I never had. Within a few months, I knelt at the mercy seat, cried out to God and he saved me completely. He set me on a different path, lifted me and carried me through my circumstances and started turning me into a man of God.

After my conversion, things got tougher at home. My mother and step-father couldn’t quite cope with the change and it led to persecution and I had no other real choice but to leave home to live with my grandmother. Again, God’s people were my strength. Billy, Joyce, Matthew, Debbie, Chris, Donald, Hugh, Cameron, Robert, Roberta…heroes every one. They championed me. I’m here because of them.

To see my son, Ben, at the age of 7 happy, content, loved, secure in himself and a little rascal into the bargain, is nothing short of a miracle for me. You have no idea how entirely delighted I was to enrol him as a Junior Soldier, a follower of Jesus, last month. Thankfully, he doesn’t have to look beyond the four walls of his home to find his champion and his support because I am here for him. The legacy continues into the next generation.

Friends, I share this to encourage you never to be tired of stepping in an influencing the life of a child. It doesn’t just affect the child, but his children and his children’s children. I work a few hours a week in HMP Aberdeen and I see in there young men who never had a champion. And I’ll tell you one thing that is true, the person who said that it is easier to build a child than repair a broken man spoke great truth.

Be a hero. Make a difference.

Selah

I’ve been thinking deeply about mission and ministry over the last couple of days, a sort of personal assessment if you like. I remember in Bible College, my practical theology lecturer, Rev Dr Rory McKenzie used to say (maybe quoting someone) ‘the unreflective life is not worth living.’ It struck me as true at that time and always has. So easy to miss everything that goes on. And, like the Psalmist, I find that I often need a ‘Selah’.

Have you ever noticed that in the psalms? Its a one word term that doesn’t have a simple translation and it means something like ‘stop hear and think deeply of what has just gone before.’ Its a great practice to build into your life.

My Selah has actually been more than a few weeks. This whole first year in Torry has been a very intense listening year, not only for mission here, but as a whole. I still cannot make much sense of the uncharacteristic wavering that had come my way before arriving in Torry, but I’ve emerged stronger and more resolved. God has a way of doing these things, thankfully. I can certainly say its has led us here and to some ministry opportunities I’ve been desperate for. Of course, the day to day meeting people and developing what we have already hasn’t been a passive task, and things are taking good steps forward there.

I’d say that having regained some Holy Spirit confidence, not only in me and my calling, but in the Army and its mission, I’m much better off. I’m reminded though that we’re not always promised long in an appointment and that there is much pressing on to do. We are progressing well through Phase One of our vision here but we are not resting on that alone.

For Greater things are yet to come; greater things have yet to be done in this city!