Discipleship - Part Three of Three
by Colonel Janet Munn
What is discipleship? How did Jesus make disciples?
How can I become a disciple? How can I be a
Why should I prioritise discipleship? How can I be discipled
in The Salvation Army?
If you are asking these questions, you are not the only one.
In fact, I think you would find many, who are asking the exact
same questions. This three-part series of articles contains
some insights into discipleship.
discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Discipleship in The Salvation Army
[This is the third
article of the three-part series on discipleship, written by
Colonel Janet Munn]
Salvation Army Programmatic Structure in Relationships
The Salvation Army has a tradition of discipleship built right
into the structure. Have you been a part of the following,
From birth through adulthood, including every age group and
vocation, The Salvation Army has already in place a context
for discipleship. Add to this list, Women’s Ministries, social
service recipients, children’s and youth programmes galore, as
well as musical sections, and the potential for highly
effective discipleship of the multitudes that come within our
influence, is profound – were there intentional effort applied
systematically and in authentic relational ways.
Orders and Regulations for Ward and Penitent-form Sergeants,
There was in place in 1922, a remarkably systematic strategy
for disciple-making in The Salvation Army in the form of Wards
and Ward Sergeants.
These were “for the purpose of following up,
encouraging, and helping the Converts, making them into
seeker at the Mercy-Seat would immediately be introduced to
the Ward Sergeant, who would “look after their spiritual
welfare in every possible way.”
This responsibility for spiritual development by the
Ward Sergeant of the Seeker/Convert would continue “both
before and after . . . enrolment.”
Every Soldier was also to be involved in a Ward, according to
neighbourhood, and the Ward meetings were to take place once a
week, and were “for the unconverted people as well.”
Each Soldier and Recruit present was to speak of their
spiritual condition and their work for the Lord in
Ward meetings would end with an invitation as needed.
The Ward Sergeant was to “keep the Ward Meeting on
strictly spiritual lines” and in the hope that every person
was able to “go away feeling right with God and man.”
The Ward system was intentional, systematic and relational,
and that, nearly one hundred years ago.
The Ward system demonstrates Salvation Army DNA coming
from John Wesley’s methodical small group accountability
system that brought about societal transformation.
Where are we now?
An example from Denmark:
Discipleship, Leadership and
The purpose of
Transformers is: To help teenagers do and experience a
transformation spiritually, physically, emotionally,
creatively and socially; for teenagers to be inspired by God’s
Word and a desire to help others to a better life.
is a 12-13 week course, run as an addition to the everyday
lives of teenagers. It is important that school is not
neglected because of
Transformers, and it is therefore designed to recognize
responsibilities, such as homework.
Three weekends with teaching, worship, prayer and fellowship
are shared throughout the
programme; one weekend at the beginning of the 12 weeks, one
after 8 weeks and one final weekend.
Each teenager is given a mentor, who will support, encourage,
give feedback and help the teenager to reflect.
The following is an overview of the
A weekly logbook
A selected book to read
A group chosen project
A selected mentor
3 weekends of teaching and fellowship
1 mission day in a selected city
The results and impact of the Transformers programme is clear
and visible throughout Denmark. Of those who participated
45% have made a commitment as a Disciple of Christ in The
Salvation Army, becoming Salvation Army soldiers. Out of the
remaining 55% of programme participants, most are moving
toward Soldiership. These young
disciples are some of the 46% of soldiers enrolled in Denmark in 2011
under 25 years of age.
Reported by Louise Wahl and Major Joan Münch
An example from Australia Eastern:
The LIFE Leadership handbook by AUE says:
“Life groups are all about relationship – about doing life
together. They’re about developing trust and accountability,
and they’re about having a safe place to talk and ask
questions. They’re about developing Kingdom of Heaven
life skills like encouragement, serving and praying for one
another. And they’re about engaging with and learning from
A phone survey of every corps in the territory was conducted
prior to the launch of LIFE groups, and then again two years
later. The results showed:
The number of 13-25 year olds engaged in a discipleship
program from 2009-2011 had increased by 111%.
The number of 13-25 year olds being discipled with a Salvo
resource has risen by 230%.
Reported by Claire Hill and Ashlee Sheppard
In recent years
The Salvation Army has seen the creation of incarnational
training communities such as Saved 2 Save, Revolution Hawaii,
The War College, Railton School for Youth Worker Training, 614
corps, and Transformers -- that are dedicated to equipping
young adults for ministry and mission which makes for
The renewed emphasis on prayer throughout the international
Salvation Army is an evidence of grace among us in these days,
and a hopeful sign for the future regarding Salvationists’
participation in the Great Commission.
With more than 500 Salvation Army centres throughout
all five zones involved in 24/7 prayer and 121 territories
participating in the Worldwide Prayer Meeting on Thursday
mornings, Salvationists are activated and systematic in prayer
in greater ways than in the generations prior to the existence
of the internet.
Surely this investment in prayer is nourishing discipleship
the world over.
Advantages of Prioritising Discipleship
It doesn’t cost money.
It is applied in the real world, in local communities and
It is gender and age inclusive.
All learning styles are engaged (thinking, feeling, and
Literacy is not essential.
It is inclusive of the non-believer and so has evangelistic
Already built into Salvation Army structure – just needs the
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are
his dear children.
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
I would like to finish this three part series with a quote
Territorial Youth Secretary, from the Australia Southern
“We need a revolution
of ordinary discipleship in the real world for the long term”
Will YOU be
Colonel Janet Munn