Open, Participatory Church In The Early Days Of The Salvation Army

come join our army book

Here are some quotations from one of the most powerful and exciting books I have read in the past few years.  The book, Come Join Our Army, by R.G. Moyles was  published in 2007 by Crest books.

“This book tries to re-create, with the help of early eyewitness accounts, the ‘glory days’ of the (Salvation) Army.”

“The proceedings (the meeting) seemed to be quite spontaneous and highly participatory.  People felt free to vocalize their feelings with frequent exclamations of “Hallelujah!’ ‘Amen!’ or ‘Praise the Lord!’  They unabashedly clapped their hands and waved their handkerchiefs when singing, accepted as their privilege — even responsibility – to ‘testify’ to their salvation, and deemed themselves full partners with the officers in ‘keeping the wheels rolling.'”

“People stayed awake because the meeting was full of intensity and variety, requiring the active participation of the ‘saved’ and the full attention of the casual attendees.”

“The prayers are short and follow one another with great rapidity, men and women alike taking part in them, and the soldiers present joining in with gesticulations and volleys of allelujahs, amens, and cries of all sorts.”

“The most distinctive feature of the Army’s participatory worship, and one which intrigued the public, was the ‘testimony period,’ when soldiers and converts witness to their joy.”

“The testimonies gave the meetings a perpetual freshness and attractiveness and kept the halls filled, night after night.”

“There are usually two or three on their feet waiting their turn to speak.  And they speak with a simplicity, directness, and force which evidently comes from the heart.  Each testifies to his gladness in ‘being saved,’ to his daily experience of the life-giving and strength-giving power of the personal Christ received into his soul.”

“There is no routine, and, within certain limits, variations are constantly occurring, so that there is no fear of monotony.”

“In almost every meeting, each Salvation Army soldier and convert was expected to testify.”

“Full and free participation remains the hallmark of early Army worship.  For the liberty of personal witness and personal prayer, a central feature of Army worship, was unavailable in most other churches.”

“Early Army meetings shared similarities of intention and style — spontaneity, full-corps (church) involvement, testimonies, and singing.  The singing and testimonies were accompanied by much clapping, flag waving, and body movement (even dancing in the aisles).

Would you like to experience this?  The glory days are not over.  At The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, you can still hear glorious testimonies, prayers, Scripture readings, as people show and tell what God has done — Sundays @ 10:45, 225 Berry St., 37207.

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About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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