Army Jargon

Our People

Standing before a Victorian Gin House with its brutish smells, sounds, and sights proved the unlikely setting for a genius act of parenting by William Booth to his young son, Bramwell. “These are our people; these are the people I want you to live for and bring to Christ,” William said.

Imprinted, Bramwell never forgot it.

An early army chorus continued the imagery; “Come away to Jesus, drunkards, swearers, gamblers, unbelievers, no matter what kind of sinner, deep–eyed or just a beginner.”

These are “our people.”

The Salvation Army is officially described as “a permanent mission to the unconverted,” and in many cultures around the world we are rightly associated with the margins of society, as the place for people who have no place.

These are “our people.”

Jesus announced He would “preach good news to the poor,” (Luke, chapter 4), and “large crowds followed him,” (Matthew, chapter 19). Jesus started a “people movement,” a key church growth principle.

The missional dynamic of “redemption and lift,” the beneficial impact of the Gospel, means that such people are often empowered to rise socially—from a welfare class to a working class.

So, Ed McKinley writes: “Salvationists are quite ordinary human beings, who like to eat and to sleep on Sunday afternoon. They enjoy their youth, they tell jokes, play softball, and work on their cars.”

These are “our people.”

“You let some funny people work for You,” John Gowans prayed, “the limited, the damaged, and the lame do daily wonders in Your holy name.”

These are “our people.”

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Lieutenant Dabiel Valdes