The Salvation Army’s principal purpose is to save souls.
We are an Army at war with sin in the world and in our lives. We are called to work tirelessly to win the world for Jesus. General William Booth said:
We are a salvation people – this is our speciality – getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more until full salvation on earth makes the heaven within, which is finally perfected by the full salvation without, on the other side of the river.
The Salvation Army’s Primary Focus
Everything else has to be subservient to this. To be saved and to keep saved is our primary focus. It is to get someone else saved, and it is to keep getting saved ourselves more and more, in other words, to pursue holiness. We can do all sorts of other worthy things, but they must all serve this main purpose.
We can play a brass instrument, as long as we do it to save souls. We may sing in the Songsters (choir) or worship band, as long as we do it to save souls. We should make tea and coffee, as long as we do it to save souls. We might prepare and serve meals, but we must do it to save souls. We can preach, we can feed, clothe and provide shelter for the homeless; we can help those who are addicted; we can provide debt counselling, we can help people find employment, and all other manner of things, as long as we do them all to save souls.
Part of the Salvation Army’s Mission
You may think of the ways in which you serve in The Salvation Army and wonder how it could ever help to save souls. But this is something we do together. Nancy Duarte tells the story of President Kennedy who gave a speech in the 1960s declaring that by the end of that decade, the United States should land a man on the moon and bring him home safely. He wanted support from every American. He said in the speech, “In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon— it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.” He wanted the entire country to feel responsible for supporting his vision.
Later in the decade, JFK was touring NASA headquarters and stopped to talk to a man with a mop. The president asked him, “What do you do?” The janitor replied, “I’m putting the first man on the moon, sir.” This janitor could have said, “I clean floors and empty trash.” Instead, he saw his role as part of the bigger mission that was to fulfill the vision of the president. As far as he was concerned, he was making history. (Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences).
Whatever you do can fulfil The Salvation Army’s bigger mission of saving souls.
Salvation Army: Don’t Be Distracted
The devil would like to distract us and get us to forget this purpose. He would love us to do all these things without thinking about doing them in a way that saves souls. He’d like to get us to forget our distinctives and lose our specific, unique Salvation Army ways of saving souls. He would like to put enough doubt about us that we are no longer convinced of our calling. But the Holy Spirit will so fill us, will so fill this movement that we cannot help but move forward to fulfil the purpose God has chosen us for. Are you Saved to Save?
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