At its heart, The Salvation Army is a church. This foundation is what motivates us to do the work that we do. We love God and serve others because of His love for all. That’s where our mission comes from – to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, because we want others to come to know God’s love too, and to meet needs in His name without discrimination. These are our marching orders.
Why an Army?
We’ve been around since 1865. An itinerate pastor named William Booth started the organization as a grassroots effort with boots on the ground in London. He didn’t have buildings, but he did have a dedicated following who saw desperate need among the poorest of people and took to the streets to offer help. While operating under a different name, Booth referred to the organization as a volunteer army, because of the way they operated and served. As the organization grew, he used military-style rankings to describe the hierarchy of leadership. Leaders adopted a uniform apparel that mirrored military styles. Their mission was to serve others in Jesus’ name, meeting not only their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs. Booth described their work as providing “soup, soap and salvation,” eventually changing their name to The Salvation Army.
Today, the mission is the same and we’ve kept the Army structure. Our officers, or leaders, are ordained pastors.
Want to learn more about the history of The Salvation ARmy in the midwest? Visit our Historical Museum website