The red Christmas kettles look the same as they always have. The proper navy uniforms haven’t changed, either. But despite the traditional appearance of the Salvation Army and its members, it is an organization on the verge of far reaching change.
Change in this case, is both self-initiated and encouraged by the leadership of the Salvation Army in the United States. After 100 years of service in America, the army has undertaken an exhaustive study of every possible element of its program, image, and ministry. As a result, top leaders of the Salvation Army will meet next month to consider more then 25 separate actions aimed at preparing the body for its next 100 years of service. Called Second Century Advance, the program involves every member of the army and every aspect of its work.
Explained former National Commander Ernest W. Holz, under whose leadership the program was initiated, “We are leaving no aspects of self-examination untouched. While we may be quite satisfied with our historical advancement and accomplishment, we wish to remain relevant and contemporary in all avenues of our service.”
A major thrust will be that of reaffirming the spiritual aspects of the Salvation Army’s work. Evangelical in both spirit and conviction, most of the army’s publicity has come through its social service, including disaster relief. But, as Holz affirmed, “Our social work emanates from our spiritual commitment.” Worldwide, the Salvation Army has 25,000 officers and two million members. In the U.S., it has 4,000 officers and 420,000 members.
Although there is high public interest and support for the Salvation Army, the spiritual side of the group’s dual ministry is not well understood by the general public, according to results of a study ...1
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