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About us - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the Salvation Army?
  2. Does the Salvation Army Operate Globally?
  3. What does the Salvation Army believe about God and Christianity?
  4. What is a Salvation Army corps?
  5. Do you have to be a member of the Salvation Army to attend the meetings?
  6. What is a Salvation Army meeting like?
  7. Do I need to wear a uniform?
  8. If my children would like to attend the Sunday School or Kids Alive! Do they have to be salvationists?
  9. What is the meaning of the Salvation Army Crest?
  10. If The Salvation Army is a Church, can you conduct Weddings?
  11. Are Salvationists full-time?

As Salvationists we are often asked a lot of questions by the general public as we are spreading God's word. Below are a few common questions which we feel may be helpful for some people to know. If you do have any other questions about what the Salvation Army is about then just email us and we will add your question to the below list.

1. What is the Salvation Army?

The Salvation Army is a distinctive part of the universal Christian Church. Its message and the lifestyle it advocates are based on the Bible's teaching. Its work is to make known the good news about Jesus Christ and to persuade people to become his followers. Alongside this primary aim, the Army shows practical concern and care for the needs of people regardless of race, creed, status, colour, sex or age.

2. Does the Salvation Army Operate Globally?

Although The Salvation Army had its beginnings in the East End of London, it has grown into an international movement. There is no continent where the Army is not at work somewhere, and it operates in more than 100 countries. The Army's work combines a spiritual and social ministry which takes into account the needs of each particular country. Projects are geared specifically to local requirements and are often run by local people. This is of particular importance in trying to ensure that the spiritual ministry is unhampered by language or cultural barriers. In many countries The Salvation Army co-exists with non-Christian faiths such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. It respects the sincerely-held beliefs of devout non-Christians, and does not regard conflict or bitter controversy as suitable means to making known the good news of Jesus. It prefers to maintain a clear and consistent witness to the Christian faith, hand-in-hand with a varied social ministry to people, no matter what their race, creed or class.

3. What does the Salvation Army believe about God and Christianity?

The Salvation Army's beliefs are in line with those of mainstream Christian churches. The 11 doctrines of the Army are set out in full on a Factsheet (link below). Briefly, we believe the Bible is God's word and forms the only basis for our faith and living. We believe there is only one God and he only should be worshipped, and that he expresses himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that God's creation of the universe was perfect but when man first deliberately disobeyed God, sin and suffering entered the world. As a result, man's relationship with God has been spoiled. We believe that Jesus is both truly divine and human. Through his suffering and death on the cross is given the only way by which sinful people - which means all mankind - can be forgiven. When we are forgiven, our relationship with God is put right and we receive new spiritual life. Although this is God's free gift, we have a part to play in that process - we must be truly sorry for our wrongdoing and have faith in Jesus. To maintain this new life we must continually have faith in Jesus and be obedient to him. Once we are 'saved', God gives us the help we need to live in the way he wants us to. We believe that our real selves never die but go on living beyond physical death. After this present life we will be accountable to God for how we have lived. Those whose lives have been as God has wished will live with him in eternal happiness; those who have not done so will be unhappy forever because they had no time for God. Changing social and economic conditions require the Army to take a critical look at, and sometimes review, parts of its structure, patterns of worship and methods of service. However, these Christian beliefs which form our doctrine are relevant to all generations and point to the unchanging answer to people's basic need of a right relationship with God.

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4. What is a Salvation Army corps?

A corps is the Army's form of a local church. It is a centre for Christian worship and provides a supportive fellowship where people can develop their Christian faith. However, a corps is outward-looking too, and tries to communicate the Christian faith to those outside the organised Church. It is also a centre from which people can be of service to those in the local community. The size of corps varies - some are very small with just a handful of people attending, while others can number two to three hundred people. Most corps are led by officers, the Army's equivalent of church ministers. They lead worship and serve those who attend the Army and people in the local community. In the Army there is equality of ministry between men and women officers. A corps includes members known as soldiers - those who have accepted the Christian faith and live a Salvationist lifestyle, and adherents - people who make the Army their church but have not taken on the same degree of commitment as soldiers. In addition, there are people of all ages who share other aspects of the corps programme, such as activities for women or the over-60s, or children, or those who simply attend Army meetings to worship. In every corps there is opportunity for each person to make a valuable contribution through his or her personality and abilities.

5. Do you have to be a member of the Salvation Army to attend the meetings?

Most definitely not! Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend the services held at The Salvation Army on Sundays. In a meeting you will find all kinds of people worshipping God, from the very young right through to the elderly. You will notice that some of the congregation will wear Army uniform. But with the exception of the officer, who is the minister, they are not full-time workers for The Salvation Army but are ordinary people who have jobs or are unemployed or housewives or retired - just like everyone else! They choose to wear the uniform to indicate that they are Salvationists. Then there will be other people who don't wear uniform. Some of these simply regard the Army as their church and go to worship and enjoy the friendship. Others are members in the same way as uniformed Salvationists but prefer not to wear uniform. There may be some people who have just 'dropped in', wanting to find out what an Army meeting is like. In addition to Sunday services there are weekday activities everybody is welcome to attend. These can be for young people, for the elderly, for women, for parents and toddlers, plus the occasional music festival. You don't have to be a member of The Salvation Army to attend any of these.

6. What is a Salvation Army meeting like?

Salvationists, and everyone who wishes to join with us either on an occasional or regular basis, meet to worship God, to discover how to live as Christians and to enjoy each other's company. Many people attending an Army meeting for the first time find the informal style of worship refreshing and relaxing. On going into a Salvation Army hall you will discover there is a cheerful bustle before the meeting as people greet and chat to each other. If a corps has a band and songster brigade (the choir) they might play or sing before the meeting begins. Other types of musical instruments used may include piano, organ, guitars, woodwind and percussion. Salvation Army meetings don't have a set order of service. They usually include plenty of hymn singing, and there may be group or individual music items. Occasionally a dance or drama group may be used to help with the worship. Verses from the Bible are read in every meeting. While an officer usually leads the meeting and gives the 'address' (sermon), other people can do both or may be invited to take part by praying, reading out verses of hymns or from the Bible, or by talking about their Christian experience. All these factors help to give Salvation Army meetings their own special character.

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7. Do I need to wear a uniform?

No, you don't! Many of the people who attend our Church on Sundays do wear their Salvation Army uniform, but you will also find plenty of people who don't. There is no Dress Code at The Salvation Army!

8. If my children would like to attend the Sunday School or Kids Alive! Do they have to be salvationists?

Thousands of children round the world attend our Sunday schools and other young people's activities. While we are happy if, with their parents' permission, they choose to become junior soldiers (junior members) of the Army, there is no pressure on them to do so, and many do not. We believe all children are important to God, and so our priority is to give all children who attend our Sunday schools a grounding in Christian belief and conduct. We believe it gives them a good foundation for their adult lives. From the age of 14 onwards, young people are given the choice whether they wish to become senior soldiers (adult members) of The Salvation Army. If they decide this is what they want, in a series of classes they will first have explained to them exactly what is involved. If young people decide not to become members, we encourage them to continue to think of us as their 'church' and still join in worship or other activities.

9. What is the meaning of the Salvation Army Crest?

The Salvation Army crest was designed in 1878 when The Christian Mission changed its name to The Salvation Army and began adopting a military style with uniforms and military terms. The crest can also be found inside Salvation Army periodicals and books and on the walls of Salvation Army halls. This symbol has particular relevance for Salvationists because it reminds them of the important features of their faith. The 'S' in the centre stands for salvation, while the cross represents the death of Jesus. The swords remind Salvationists that they are fighting against sin. The surrounding shape of the sun stands for the fire and light of the Holy Spirit. The crown reminds Salvationists that Heaven is the reward of all those who love and serve God. The motto 'Blood and Fire' again emphasises important points of Salvation Army belief: 'Blood' because Christians are saved from sin by the death of Jesus, and 'Fire' representing the power of the Holy Spirit which helps Christians live holy lives. Salvationists worldwide use the crest, translating the words on it into their own language. However, the more-easily recognised logo of a red shield with the words 'The Salvation Army' printed across it in white is also used for such things as exhibitions, collecting boxes or door-to-door collection envelopes.

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10. If The Salvation Army is a Church, can you conduct Weddings?

Salvation Army Officers are ordained Ministers of Religion. We conduct Marriages, Funerals and Dedications of Children (Christenings). If you need more information, please feel free to contact us.

11. Are Salvationists full-time?

The vast majority of Salvationists are not full time, and have busy day to day home & work lives very much like everyone else. Our members at Long Eaton represent a wide variety of careers in their lives outside of Church.

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"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 15 v 13. NIV
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