Sunday, February 19, 2006

dna

Martin over at missiome just put up a post asking what the DNQ of the Army is, along with several other questions that followed. The following is my response. What is yours?

What defines us? What is our DNQ? It has to be our historical belief that mission, social action, and the fight for justice should embrace each other. That, in fact, these three things are the gospel in action. Right? Otherwise there’s no need, nor has there ever been a need for the Army.

How do we use it to establish our identity? The beauty of the above stated belief is that this identity is already established for us. Those who have carried on the call to mission and social action have kept this identity alive. Now all that has to happen is for the rest of us to join them. The social service department should stop being a separate entity and should once again be a part of our weekly lives as Salvationists. Fact is, most modern day Salvationists are nothing more than Presbyterians, maybe in uniform, maybe not.

What is God saying to us about our future? I came to the Army because of the realization that it was a church that a post-modern (sorry) generation could get behind. Our mission statement drips with authenticity and authenticity is what a cynical world is looking for. In London we have a Corps that takes one Sunday out a month to go out and serve the community through clean up, painting houses, planting flowers, etc. They do it in place of their morning worship service and they call it their “act of worship”. They have more people join them for that one Sunday than any other Sunday during the month. In fact, people who won’t darken the door of their building will come alongside them and serve. Some of those people are beginning to enter the life of the church. They’ve seen a church/religion with some authenticity.

Can you imagine a group of young Christians who gather together on a Friday (or Saturday) night, pray, worship together, and then head out on the streets to perform acts of service. Wouldn’t that be an amazing church community? Or maybe a group of people who spend a Saturday afternoon serving their community and then gather together that night for dinner, fellowship, Bible based discussion, worship, and prayer. What an amazing church community that would be. In fact, I can see lost people getting involved with a community like this during the afternoon part and then following them back for dinner and the rest of it that same evening. Authenticity. It’s what a dying world is crying out for. Come to think of it, its what we’re crying out for too.

I should really end my thoughts there, but it would be a mistake not to point out that the third paragraph unintentionally describes an early Salvationist meeting. Long before we got bogged down with what should have been temporary ideas and campaigns, we were simply a faith based community looking to put our faith into action. People (Christians and non-Christians alike) were seeing that faith in action and coming alongside us out of a desperation to be a part of something that they could believe in. The desperation is still there, its our authenticity that's missing.

Comments on "dna"

 

Blogger Tim said ... (10:38 PM) : 

Let me just say, before Shaun bashes me over the head for using the “they’re nothing more than Presbyterians” line, that I used it simply because our doctrine most closely resembles the Presbyterian doctrine. No offense intended there.

 

Blogger Mel Reynolds said ... (2:50 PM) : 

Who is this Church in London that does that? 4th paragraph sounds great to me. Where do I sign?...

 

Blogger Larry said ... (5:11 PM) : 

I would love to sign up for this corps.

I think I may share this with TEC.

 

Blogger peter said ... (8:43 PM) : 

Tim, once again you have nailed it on the head. What makes the Amry truly distinctive is that we are (should be) a serving churh. Anyone can wear a uniform, living out your faith everyday is a different story. I also totally agree with you about the social service disconnect. I have argued this for sometime now. Part of being a soldier, a christian a caring human being... is serving others. We need to do more of this.
cheers,
www.lublink.ca

 

Blogger Bill said ... (5:53 AM) : 

Maybe its just that I am a "social service" officer (I like the tag by the way) but as I have told DS, DC, other DC's, anyone who asks "we (Army) suck at church" We do. Just look out here there are two corps (in the territory) that would be considered self supporting churches. And in my oppinion they both suck. We don't do it well. Here is why I believe, we are not a church. We never were. We like to think so be we never were. We were a gathering of poor people. Furthermor the real reason the Army survived was not Bill Booth but Bramwell. It was he who took the lead developing social services.

In America if we closed all or corps (churches) would we be missed? NO! If we closed our social services would we be missed? YES!

What does that say?

What does it say when the money trail leads to social services, in fact without them often there is no money?

My answer stop fooling ourselves and stop trying to be a church.

 

Blogger Sean said ... (2:59 AM) : 

I was once a Salvationist. I grew upin the army knowing nothing of the true goals of the church outside of band, kettles and programs I didn't want to go to. It has been eye opening to be a part of a church community that grows, serves and are truly, by seeking hard after God, is being the hands and feet of Jesus.

I agree with you Bill, if they decided to stop having service on Sunday morning, no one outside of my Grandfather would think twice.

that doesn't mean that it should happen. I would love to see how a corps would look if it cancelled home league, sunbeams, junior soldiers, senior day, the salvation meeting, YMF, crappy divisional band, whatever the militant teen thing is and any other desperate cling to tradition and took the 12 people (not too big of an exageration) that come every Sunday and poured into those people not with just sermons, but through relationships. serving together, encouraging, reaching the poor, the widows, the orphans, growing, teaching, and following the officer over a time of three years, equipping those twlve people to do the same... that would be the Army revitalized, that would be the army that I could get behind again, that would be the DNA they should have, the DNa of CHrist.

 

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