Salvation Army Officers
Operations of The Salvation Army are supervised by trained, commissioned officers. They proclaim the gospel and serve as administrators, teachers, social workers, counselors, youth leaders, and musicians.
These men and women have dedicated their lives, skills, and service completely to God. Lay members who subscribe to the doctrines of The Salvation Army are called soldiers. Along with officers, they are known as Salvationists.
Candidates for officership undergo an intensive two-year course in residence at Salvation Army colleges in Chicago; Suffern, New York; Atlanta; and Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The curriculum combines theory and field practice, including Salvation Army doctrine, sociology and social work, psychology, Salvation Army regulations, homiletics, public speaking, Bible studies, church history, composition, community relations, business administration, accounting, and vocal and instrumental music.
After two successful years of training, cadets are commissioned as lieutenants, ordained as ministers, and assigned to active duty while continuing their education. Lieutenants are required to devote five years to additional studies.
Numerous advanced training courses are available for officers wishing to specialize in a particular discipline. Institutes, seminars, and conferences have been established to ensure that officers are informed of new and innovative programs and developments.
Promotion is based on length of service, character, efficiency, capacity for increased responsibility, and devotion to duty. The ranks are lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel and commissioner. The international leader holds the rank of general and is selected by a high council of active-duty commissioner and territorial commanders.
Salvation Army officers must devote full time to Army work. An officer who marries must marry another Salvation Army officer or leave his or her officer status. Married captains and majors will individually carry the rank applicable to their own length of service, not that of their spouse. In case of married officers, the conferred ranks of lieutenant colonel, colonel and commissioner will be held jointly. As ordained ministers of the gospel, they are authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, funeral services, and infant dedications. They also provide counseling and consolation to the bereaved.
The Salvation Army provides officers' living quarters, furnishings, and official transportation. Officers qualify for retirement once they are eligible to receive full Social Security benefits.
Salvation Army Soldiers
The soldiers of The Salvation Army (wearing blue epaulets), the committed laity, are local citizens in communities throughout the U.S. who give allegiance to the doctrines and disciplines of the Army. There are approximately 450,000 soldiers in the United States.
These soldiers may take on volunteer responsibilities in the congregation or help in the Army's social service outreach. Many soldiers give valuable service in directing and leading youth groups in character-building activities. Many take part in the Army's musical programs and teach young people to sing and play.
As a valuable means of service to the community, soldiers visit the sick and lonely in hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional institutions. Social service programs are enhanced by the commitment of soldiers who often give their time in the Army's basic ministries of shelter and food provision.
Soldiers abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages, drugs, and tobacco. Trained and qualified soldiers are appointed as "local officers." This corresponds to a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Other members of the congregation are adherents who participate in church activities but have not signed on as soldiers. Adherents may take on some lay responsibilities, such as teaching Sunday School classes.
Salvation Army Volunteers
From its inception, The Salvation Army has relied heavily on volunteers who support it's programs. Often referred to as "the army behind The Army," volunteers play a crucial role The Salvation Army's ability to provide quality social services for the entire community.
Volunteers are valuable assets in The Salvation Army's efforts to meet the changing needs of our world. Through the skills and experience they bring to The Army, volunteers make significant contributions to society by positively impacting the lives of those they assist. Salvation Army volunteers change lives, uplift families and support communities throughout our nation everyday.
Thank you for exploring the many opportunities to help those in need and enhance your community as a volunteer within The Salvation Army.
Visit our volunteer page.