Over these last few years, around 3 years in fact, I've been increasingly building relationship with an emerging church planting movement (emerging in the developing sense, as opposed to the theological sense) led by a guy with a clear apostolic ministry called Peter Farmer.
Mission Britain promotes simple church, organic church planting, pioneer evangelism and training up people for the gospel. One of Peter's key heroes is William Booth and the work of the early Army. He is convinced that we need to see an army rise in the UK to advance the Kingdom and take the gospel to re-evangelise the nation. I happen to agree with him. The kind of army he is talking about is a flexible, mobile army with clear missional intentions to win the world for Jesus by utilising strategic planting tactics. He has the UK split up into regions and he travels to encourage, train and draw together those interested in stepping out of the regular churchy culture and to galvinise around mission. He is training up planters, trainers, pioneer evangelists, prophets and prayer warriors.
The irony isn't lost on me.
I thoroughly believe this nation needs a people who sense the call to arms in the sense of engaging in creative, strategic mission and to see a viral pattern of outposts on every street corner. William Booth would have been delighted that someone is taking up his vision to have a barracks on every corner at last. Is it really so different to seeing a simple church, a small missional community, in every viable community? And whats more, viable here doesn't mean 'able to support an officer and fund a building' because this is a viral, organic movement...a people movement. Its an army where everyone is commissioned for the advance, where everyone is a regular and the Lord Jesus Christ is Commander in Chief...a band of brothers and sisters united around one mission. An army whose enemy is 'the strong man' and whose weapons are prayer, love and radical commitment to Jesus and his instructions as our King.
For all that I am still in the inherited church at the moment, my life's calling is in this direction. Its a calling that I couldn't work out in the other Army. Maybe its a wineskins thing, you know? You don't put new wine in an old wineskin else the old on deteriorates. Maybe, I don't know. I still have hope in some places that The Salvation Army can recover significantly, and in fact I see it in some places round the world, praise God.
Meanwhile, another salvation army is rising. Its Commander in Cheif has issued the call to arms and the warriors are taking their place in the field. I'm watching it take shape, watching God recreate a dream and a vision and its very exciting. There will be other warriors in your community...we can link you up, enlist and train you for the mission.