The Salvation Army's membership consists of adherents, soldiers and officers. Adherents are persons who consider The Salvation Army their place of worship. Soldiers are required to sign a declaration of faith and practice - known as Articles of War - and must give volunteer service to The Army. Soldiers who have served for more than six months may apply to the College for Officers' Training, and, if accepted, enroll as cadets.
Who is The Salvation Army?
The soldiers of The Salvation Army, the committed laity known as Salvationists, 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 noncommissioned officer in the armed forces.
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 services completely to God.
Candidates for officership undergo an intensive two-year course in residence at Salvation Army colleges. 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 captains, ordained as ministers, and assigned to active duty while continuing their education. Promotions are based on length of service, character, efficiency, capacity for increased responsibility, and devotion to duty. The ranks are 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 requires skilled and dedicated personnel to carry on its many-faceted programs.
Employees are hired to perform clerical work in Salvation Army offices, to work in Salvation Army social services programs as professional case workers, supervise and work in Salvation Army youth programs and boys and girls clubs, and help in specialized fields such as accounting, development and property.
Presently, there are about 40,000 employees of The Salvation Army in the United States.
Advisory organization members are concerned men and women who voluntarily use their professional skills and knowledge of the community to make a practical difference for their neighbors. With commitment to excellence, they dedicate themselves to increasing public awareness of The Salvation Army; recruiting other volunteers and giving hands-on assistance for specific activities. They provide advice and guidance in areas such as budgeting, overseeing large-scale capital campaigns, creating outreach services, public relations and fundraising, management and personnel development, and building improvement and maintenance. Their commitment to serving others unites them with like-minded professionals from a variety of backgrounds. This makes advisory organization members vital partners in Salvation Army ministry.