My son, Benjamin, has recently been watching the movie Shrek on DVD. We are now all very familiar with it, we can all say the words and know whats coming next (not to mention have a giggle because we know a funny bit is coming up!). But really, there is one moment in the film, a song actually, that has been in my mind for the last little while as we have watched it. It has really spoken to me. Here it is: –

“I’ve heard there was a secret chord

That David played and it pleased the Lord

But you don’t really care for music do you?

It goes like this – the fourth, the fifth

The minor fall, the major lift

The baffled King composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof

You saw her bathing on the roof

Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you

She tied you to a kitchen chair

She broke your throne, and she cut your hair

And from your lips she drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Maybe I’ve been here before

I know this room, I’ve walked this floor

I used to live alone before I knew you

I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch

Love is not a victory march

It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know

What’s real and going on below

But now you never show it to me, do you?

And remember when I moved in you

The Holy Dark was moving too

And every breath we drew was hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above

And all I ever learned from love

Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you

And it’s not a cry you can hear at night

It’s not somebody who’s seen the light

It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah”

Ok, maybe the theology isn’t that great, and maybe not Christian, but what really spoke to me was the concept of a broken hallelujah. The idea of King David strumming out his hallelujah in spite of his sin, in spite of the enemies of his kingdom and of his soul. It reminds me that to live the victorious Christian life, that on the days when you can’t fly a flag on the marble arch, we can offer our broken hallelujah…the victory in that lies in that we praise God through our situations as opposed to feeling neglected, rejected and forgotten by God. He is so faithul and I am so thankful and enriched by those times when I have cried that broken hallelujah, from a broken me to a faithful God. I think its called singing through the rain.



So Major Chick Yuill was talking to us about Leadership yesterday. We were discussing the whole poat-modern effect and how it impacts on people’s ideas about joining things and being committed to things. Obviously in The Salvation Army, our membership lines are pretty strong, to be a soldier is to enter into covenant with God, to live betrothed to those promises. Dilemma?

I agree that people are not joining up quite so much these days. We have the sort of half-baked membership form of adherency, which now thankfully at least has a declaration of faith. Thats not to look down on adherents, I am sure the system has its benefits somewhere. But, perhaps it is time we looked at seeing membership/soldiership through different eyes it will give a different light.

In the UK, being a soldier basically is summed up as those people in the corps who are “Christian,” feel able enought to put aside drink, alcohol etc. and so enter into “full membership”. If that is all that soldiership is about, then I don’t want soldiership and I dont want to be part of a church where that is the whol deal. Soldiership is more than that.

Soldiership, by its very definition is tied up with relating to the army. A soldier relates to the army, its structures, orders, and a military soldier goes to the war, not necessarily because he is passionate about that war or what it stands for (listen to some soldiers in Iraq at the moment!), but because it is his duty and his job…his chosen vocation. No wonder, when it comes to somethign as rich as our spiritual lives that people in the post-modern culture don’t want to relate or be associated with that.

The thing that came to me as we listened to Chick was images of young men and women in little boats climbing up huge military vessels making peace protests and environmental stances, young Palestinians daring to throw little rocks at huge armoured tanks, a group of people standing outside a famous department store protesting about animal fur and all the other stuff like that.

So, whats the difference? What makes post-modern people do stuff like that? Well, its clear that they relate to the cause and not to the struture built up around the cause, but, of course, because of the cause, they attach themselves to the organisation which is passionate about the cause.

I’ve heard someone say that whilst the soldier relates to the Army, the warrior relates to the fight. Geoff Ryan comments that when he took The Salvation Army to Russia, he thought he was talking something rediculous into a culture that was absolutely tired of military and fighting and uniforms and all the rest of it. But, the Russian people were attracted to it….The Salvation Army and all its imagery had come to them and replaced all their old pictures and given them a new one. Communism had been a negative, The Salvation Army, its ideals, its fight, its self-lessness and its transforming message caught the imagination.

Captain Gordon Cotterill in his URBANarmy blog makes comments about a tired military metaphor. I totally agree that when we look at some elements of salvationism today, then it is tired…very tired. However, what is it about the “cause” that makes ranks of post-modern men and women sight up and risk their lives doing things like climb Big Ben in order to protest against war??

Soldiers relate to the Army…Warriors relate to the fight. I guess the adventure is to start promoting soldiership as an adventure, as holy heroism, as dedicated to the cause. But what of The Salvation Army? It can only be the richer because instead we will have soldiers who relate to the war as opposed to just the army. We will have adherents so caught up with the vision of what it means to be a soldier/warrior that they won’t want to stop at adherency.

We need a culture that is, as Chick says, “fuzzy at the edges”, people need to feel comfortable about coming and sharing with us, but we need, as he went on to say, to be “solid at the core.” Actually moving into being part of the church, being ‘baptised’ into it is the sage where there is commitment to discipleship and all that follows. WE NEED TO STOP MAKING SOLDIERS WHO ARE NOT WILLING TO BE DISCIPLES AND BE DISCIPLED. We cannot afford to have a two tiered membership, there seems to be no biblical or scriptural presidence for this. You are either baptised (enroled?) into the fellowship of the church, signifying that you have left your old life behind and starting a new one and now enterong the covenant of discipship, or you are not, or…at least you are committed to working towards it.

But what about our additional “requirements” for membership? Drinking and smoking, taking drugs? Bg issue, perhaps for the next blog, but I want to say that surely common sense and a good look at society shows us the dangers of all these things. Chick Yuill talks about making those elements voluntary…perhaps there is something in that. But, my point is that if people are engrossed with the bigger vision of knowing Christ, serving Christ, winning others to him like I did when I was converted, then the drink issue pales into significance and we will discover the absolute power of God to deliver us from those things! Are we the ones who “are of little faith?”

Well, thats it for now…

yours in the fight

Andrew Clark

“Success in soul winning, like all other work, both human and divine, depends on certain conditions… If you want to succeed you must be careful to comply with these conditions…

I desire to give a few brief practical hints…And, first and foremost, I commend one qualification which seems to involve all others. That is, the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Ghost. I would have you settle it in your souls for ever this one great immutable principle in the economy of grace, that spiritual work can only be done by those who possess spiritual power. No matter what else you may lack, or what may be against you, with the Holy Ghost you will succeed; but without the Holy Spirit, no matter what else you may possess, you will utterly and eternally fail.

Many make mistakes here. Aroused by the inward urgings of the Holy Spirit, they endeavour to comply with the call which comes from the word and the necessities of their fellow men; but being destitute of this power, they fail, and instead of going to the Strong for strength, they give up in despair. Again aroused, again they resolve and venture forth, but having no more power than before, they are as impotent as ever. And fail they must, until baptised with power from on high.

This I am convinced, is the one great need of the Church. We want no new truths, agencies, means, or appliances. We only want more of the fire of the Holy Ghost. …”

General William Booth.

That says it all…


So, yeah, its Monday morning and I’ve got a few things rattling around in my brain. Was reading last night a biography of Commissioner James Hay, a scottish officer out of Govan Corps. Was quite blown away with the way in which he fought his war.

This is a man totally convinced of God. Thats what really showed through because nothing else would have taken him into some of the places that he carried the gospel to. When he was the principal of teh training college, he made the point of making sure cadets had experience of off the wall evangelistic daring! I don’t think there was a theatre or dance hall in London that he didn’t take them to. Totalling up the people who where saved at various stages of his ministy there must be at least 5000.

Or is there more? Apparently, when William Booth appointed him as principal of the college, he told him to go and make “saviours of men.” I wonder to what extent our college’s these days have the mentality of creating men and women who will know what it is like to become saviours of men, of course meaning leading people to Christ.

It appears to me that our whole frame of reference for minsitry has had a dramatic shift since early days. Our reference point on what we do in the Army these days is the saved, rather than the unsaved. Rather than what we do being determind on our effectiveness of how we reach the lost, it is determined on pampering the the whims of congregations and HQ’s.

What does a Salvation Army look like that considers the lost before it considers anything esle? I can comment in my own situation…I guess there would be a college that prepared people to lead a corps to win their world for Jesus. Have we lost the vision of “the world for God?”

I am increasingly challenged by my new appointment in that its not what you call a huge district. The corps is in a village, surrounde by another few villages and a small town. I think to myself…how close can we get to reaching the whole district?

Booth said in O’s & R’s for officers that a good officer can make his message heard by 30,000 in a day. Interesting thought.

There is a foolishness about evangelism. It take’s fools to do it. But I follow the king of fools. If I really believe the gospel, then it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone!

in the fight


“Let others whose blood is fired and whose hearts are melted after teh same fashion join hands with you. Make a Mount Carmel of some ante-room, or barracks, or kitchen and offer yourself up as a sacrifice, body, soul and sirit, and believe and wait until you receive the Holy Fire”

General William Booth, THE GENERAL’S LETTERS

My mind turns to the story of Smith Wigglesworth, a man of God (former Salvation Army officer!) who had an incredible ministry healing the sick, saving the lost, preaching with all signs and wonders following. The key moment for him was when he took himself into a room, drew a circle around himself and shouted to God that he wasn’t moving until the Holy Spirit came upon him. He waited, the Spirit came.

I am not good at waiting for anything.

And what about the early believers, their Jesus had died, their Jesus had risen now he is telling them to wait, to hang around in Jerusalem, for the Spirit to come. They waited, I guess they prayed with great expectation because the risen Jesus had suggested it be a good idea. They waited, the Spirit came.

I am not good at waiting for anything.

I’m of the theory that when a person is born again, we receive the baptism of the Spirit. It seems that it is right that this should happen, it is the Spirit that regenerates and creates new life in us, we are born again by the Spirit. But there seems to be a problem. There, in these days, does not seem to be much evidence of this baptism having been received. Every evidence in scripture of people receiving the Spirit for a first time, and for the second time top-ups for that matter, begin to see the power of God manifest through a variety of spiritual gifts.

I’ve seen evidence in these days of people maturing in the fruit of the Spirit, but we’re often slow on the gifts. There is a whole co-operation thing that needs to go on, as well as a lack of education thing happening. The Spirit empowers us all with an array of powerful gifts. Because, frankly, any Christianity which is not charismatic is not Christianity at all.

For me, it was the case of waiting, although I am not good at waiting for anything. Convinced of having new life, convinced of having the Spirit, I had to go through that process of opening up all the vaults and valves, moving the blockages in life that mean the the Spirit coul pour out, be released in my life. We all recieve the Spirit, just like a boiler always has a pilot light (unless it goes out, but that must be a different blog) and that pilot light, when the switch is pressed for the boiler to come on, becomes a flame that can heat a building.

How many of us are on pilot light mode? How many of us need to turn the switch?

Go into a room, draw a circle round yourself, seek God, wait expectanly for him to come…and he probably will.

in Jesus


Spent the afternoon with some interesting people. Was doing some hospital chaplaincy as part of training. The chaplain thought it would be a good idea for us to go to what is, I think, the ward the chaplains don’t like to go to. Its basically the ward for homeless guys, folks on heroin, akward people who are not “normal” enough to be around “normal” people. People who are dying and too offensive for anyone else to have to look at, apparently. So, I wonder if you can figure out where I saw more of Jesus this afternoon? Was is sitting in the office at the back fo a draughty chapel with 4 priests drinking coffee? Or was it talking to a little Glasgow lady about her emphasima and how she used to go dancing at the Dennistoun Palais? Or the heroin addict whose mother had just popped in to tell him his brother had died of the same disease that plagues him?

Often I have the idea that I am taking Jesus to these places and people and again and again I find him sitting in front of me saying “how are you going to respond to me today Andrew?” For the most part I stumble for words, desperate to find something to bring up in conversation, but at the end of the day its all a Jesus thing. Good to be there.


So, The Salvation Army in the UK is undergoing abit of a revolution in our stuff for youth. The new brand of “Salvation Army for a new generation” has been launched and Alove+ is its name. Sounds a bit wierd on first hearing, but I have to admit that the vision has grown on me.

Attending the youth rally, it made me feel about 90, but hey, I am a dad, I must be entitled to feel a little older! I’m guessing it was the 1,000,000 decibel music, but hey, I’ve never heard “O Boundless Salvation” sung with quite so much fire, heart and soul!

So, this Alove is a 21C version of agape. The early Christians were sick of “love” being thrown around, so they create a new word for love…agape…GOd’s special love. And yeah, our generation needs new definition of love in contrast to lust, adoration, puppy love, liking something very much (i.e chocoate, tv shows, clothes). So, on that basis I love it. It has to be right for today.

And what a provocative logo it is. Its like ALOVE+ (the plus is a cross) in flashing red neon, pulsating and in yer face. Would look fabulous in any red light district, but hey, that wasnt a criticism. From my experiences of ministry in London’s Soho every Monday, Soho is a place people like to be! It speaks of a red hot passion and I just hope and pray our youth catch it like a serious dose of the flu! I hope it pains them, consumes them, makes their eyes run. I’m guessing that alot of them are looking for an excuse to live like they know they ought, and I pray this is an opportunity.

The reference was made to that love story that began in Brixton with the meeting of two hearts, William and Catherine Booth…they even thought of calling it Brixton1851, but though it should be wider than a London thing. It was fab to see teenagers getting the idea as the day went on. Connecting with the core of who we are as a movement.

It seemed to be going down like the titanic for a bit, but it wasn;t too long before to started to make sense. Anyhow, the key focus of this new thing is going to be dynamic faith, radical lifestyle, adventurous mission and a fight for social justice. That sounds like war and revolution to me! Tre Sheperd (leader of the abnd 100 hours) even suggested that it was time the Salvation Army started standing on the streets in weird clothers playing outrageous music for Jesus again! I just really pray that these guys get a hold of this and show the rest of us what its going to be.

They have to set the pace for the next Salvation Army. I pray that the Spirit will start pumping through veins of our youth. I encountered a few young guys testerday. For a moment I doubted that anything could actually inspire them for passionate Christianity. But really, there is no room for doubt, we have to believe it for them, and hey, if we’re young enough, get stuck into it with them!

Its awesome, and I think its going to turn out to be a God thing.

Go for it, live the live of ALOVE+


So, here it begins. I have to admit that I am a man with an agenda. Yes of course, to see the Kingdom of God grow and expand to all nations, for people to find salvation and grow in holiness. But more specifically, that people will once again The Salvation Army and all those who we win will walk again in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I discovered today, by mistake almost, that during the 1960s there was a huge split at the William Booth College for training officers in London. The Evangelist Session started its life with around 200 cadets and after the first year of training was down to 100. Why? Because 100 people felt that they had to leave The Salvation Army because of reticence to move in the gifts of the Spirit. WOW! What a sad year that must have been.

I am spilt on what I think on this. First thing that comes to mind is “deserters.” The people who left undoubtedly left The Army at a critical stage in its history. I think 100 spirit-filled, charis-oriented people would have made a huge impact in The Army of its day. Perhaps their commitment to the movement would have meant that we would have avoided the dogmatism and legalizing, cold formality that existed in the Salvation Army at that time. Why did they desert? Surely they were on the brink.

But then, how powerful a statement is the departure of 100 leaders from a movement en-masse. Huge! A huge lesson to be learned. So, I guess we say thanks to those who were bold enough to leave everything for that principle. I guess that there was a degree or resistance in the college and in leadership in general. These days we cannot afford to have a reluctance in these things. The harvest is plentiful, even if we don’t always see it or get off our seats to bring it in.

So, my agenda has been made clear. The Salvation Army needs to see what it is to walk in the Spirit within the regiment. We can be too quick to throw away this thing we call The Salvation Army and the Spirit in which we do our warfare. Not that I am advocating tradition for traditions sake…I am advocating an aggressive spirituality and mentality that is heroic and passionate. My fuel has been flamed by many, by Captain Steve Court of fame. By Captain Geoff Ryan who constantly challenges my boxed image of salvationism. But where is the UK equivalent? We have some fantastic officers in the UK. We have fantastic people like Wall and Rook. But who will there be who will dare to commit to covenant with God “out of the spotlight” in the frontline of mission in the United Kingdom.

I am in the Army because I caught a glimpse of something consuming, something revolutionary…little did I know that I had joined a movement which in many places had lost its fire. But my sense of “something more” has urged me on and God has shown me.

William Booth once said “Your days at the most cannot be long, so use them to the best of your ability for the Glory of God and the benefit of your generation.”

Its going to look different, sound different, smell different, march to a different beat, sing to a different songbook, but The Salvation Army is God’s and he will lead it. I commit myself again to living as God has called me. I commit myself to taking seriously this God metaphor and to live my life as an officer in The Salvation Army

yours in the fight

Andrew Clark