Ask an Officer

Why Do Salvation Army Officers Wear Uniforms?

Ask an officer anything. An officer in The Salvation Army is an ordained minister of Christian faith.
Ask an Officer

“Why do Salvation Army officers (pastors) wear uniforms?”

I see my uniform as my testimony. My uniform is a symbol of my journey with the Lord that resulted in a covenant I prayerfully made with God, stating that I would commit my life to serve Him as a Salvation Army officer (pastor).

I see my uniform as an opportunity. When I wear my uniform, I have the opportunity to share with others about my church and about my faith.

I see my uniform as my banner. People know The Salvation Army and they recognize our unforms. As I wear it, I carry this banner of who I am and Who I represent.

I see my uniform as my heritage. I grew up in The Salvation Army. Putting on my junior and senior soldier (member) uniform was always so exciting for me and still is! As I’ve continued to wear my uniform now as an officer (pastor), I have always loved wearing my uniform and have done so proudly.

Captain Kelly Hanton
Chicago, IL

“I have no interest in reading the Bible. To be honest, it puts me to sleep. Help!”

Sleep is awesome, but I wonder if the Bible is causing you to fall asleep or if you’ve become exhausted from all the other things you’ve pursued throughout your day? I wonder what you’d experience if you made a Bible reading plan a priority at the beginning of the day, rather than one more checklist item at the end of the day? I think it’s an important question to wrestle with and I’ll tell you why: To say that you have zero interest in the Word of God might be another way of saying you have no interest in God Himself, or at the very least don’t want to invest in that relationship.

So, the question that forms in my mind is this: Is God worth your time? From a practical standpoint, don’t be afraid to start small—read smaller portions, but really digest it. Meditate on it. Embrace it. Add prayer to your reading. You don’t have to pray for hours or know all the right words—just be sincere. The Lord Himself looks for those who worship Him genuinely! That is just a nugget of the good stuff found in the Bible.

Captain James Brennan
Syracuse, NY

“Have you ever gotten ‘FOMO’ if called to officership?”

In 2002, I was a fourth year Th.D (Doctor of Theology) student at Boston University. Up to that point in my life, I had been running from a clear call to Officership. What was holding me back from taking that first step? I was afflicted with the dreadful disease called FOMO! I had it bad—I was paralyzed! The fear of missing out on my future dreams and desires which I had worked so hard, and for so many years, to finish had me deadlocked. It was a struggle of surrender.

At the time I was working on a paper concerning the early church. During my study, the story of Polycarp was received with new insight and inspiration. In the second century, Polycarp was a Bishop in Smyrna and was a key leader in the early church to the marginalized group known as Christians. During the latter years of Polycarp’s life, the opposition grew in intensity toward Christians. Polycarp was brought before a public forum and asked to say four words. If he would simply say these words he would be set free. Those four words were, “I bow to Caesar.” Polycarp refused! In a fact his response to the Pro-Council was: “For eighty-seven years I have served the Lord, and he has never failed me yet; I will not fail him now.”

So, they bound him to a stake and lit a flame beneath his feet. While his body was being consumed by the fire, Polycarp prayed, “I thank you Father that you have allowed me the privilege for dying for my Savior who died first for me.” And it says that he died singing!

I put my paper I was working on to the side and started writing thoughts and pointed questions concerning my calling to Officership and my personal dreams and desires in my program at Boston University.

I wrote:

• If you did everything right, everything that was faithful and obedient to God, and you ended up being a candle, would your final expression be, “I’m so grateful to do this to honor the Lord!”?

• If your future life was in the balance? If it was a matter of a simple choice, just four words, what would you choose? If your life was going up in flames would you be praying and singing, “thank you, God, for this wonderful moment!”

• If it were a choice for you, would you choose to die for Christ? If your life was on the line, would you stand up to be counted?

As a stream of consciousness, questions and fears started to flow onto paper.

What do you do when the work is over? What will you do when the choices are difficult? What will you do when you have to take a stand? Where is your hope anchored? Where is your life centered? Why are you here? What purpose does your life ultimately have?

The answer was clear—surrender and take a step towards God’s will.

Some of us spend a good deal of time trying to keep God out, silence Him and keep him controlled. We’re somehow afraid that if we give God control, if we surrender, that He is going to give us a lobotomy. We’ll look weird, talk weird and even act weird!

I’ve been a Christian a long time and a person even longer.  I know how difficult it is to take the next step or make the right choice. The best decision I ever made was putting my FOMO in God’s hands, surrendering to His will and taking one step forward.

Major William Francis
Ashland, OH

“…don’t be afraid to start small—read smaller portions, but really digest it. Meditate on it. Embrace it. Add prayer to your reading.”

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