Thursday, February 22, 2007

Form Vs Essence: Does style matter in Salvation Army Meetings?


I have a cheeseburger. A beautiful, tasty cheeseburger, with only 12 grams of fat. If I take away the pickles from the cheeseburger, do I still have a cheeseburger? Did you say yes? Good. If I take away the pickles and the piece of cheese, do I still have a cheeseburger? No. I now have a hamburger.

What is it, that if we took it away from a Salvation Army worship service, it would no longer be 'Salvation Army'? Let me ask you:

* If we took away the contemporary band from a Salvation Army service, could it possibly still be 'Salvation Army'?

* If we took away the brass band, the timbrels and the songsters away from a Salvation Army service, could it still be run in such a way that it is still, 'Salvation Army'?

I would say yes to the above. What makes us the Salvation Army is deeper than the Form of our meetings, the style that we have. What makes a Salvation Army meeting truly 'Salvo' is the ungirding theology that makes up that meeting. These are the main fundamental attributes that I believe give us the Essence of who we are:


* Our doctrines (e.g. We believe in... the trinity, sin, redemption, etc.)
* Soul Saving. We are after all a SALVATION army.
* Warfare. We are after all a Salvation ARMY.
* Holiness. A holiness movement!
* Social Justice. Seeking to set the captives free, feed the hungry, etc.

If we have Salvation Army meetings (Worship Services) that are based on those fundamentals, then I personally believe let it be whatever style works, as long as it is reaching the community around them!

Final comment: If we want to see existing churches grow and also plant churches, then we need to allow freedom in worship styles, meanwhile sticking to the fundamental theology that defines us as a movement.

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