Being a Salvationist

Elizabeth, a Salvationst at Addlestone corps and friend

Did you know that more than 1.5 million people, around the world, worship every week at The Salvation Army?

We are a Christian church and the spiritual home for many people who don’t attend worship on a Sunday. 

Our worship meetings are open to anyone – there’s no need to wear a uniform to participate. Music is an important aspect of our worship – sometimes a brass band, often contemporary Christian music, always congregational singing and usually a group of singers who all help people worship and reflect.

You should expect to receive a warm welcome at The Salvation Army. 

Being a soldier in The Salvation Army is a lifestyle commitment that helps me live out my Christian faith – it challenges me to love God and serve others in the decisions I make every day.
Bethany (28), London
Remote video URL
Watch how discipleship affects different people in The Salvation Army through their faith and every day lives.

Salvation Army corps (churches) are usually led by officers (ministers). All officers are first and foremost soldiers. The Salvation Army believes God has a plan for everyone’s life. Some soldiers are called by God to be officers in The Salvation Army.  

Salvation Army officers are well trained – usually one year distance learning, two years residential learning, and then distance learning in the first five years of ministry. Many Salvation Army officers complete bachelor degrees; others go onto obtain advanced degrees and professional qualifications. 

You do not have to be a member of The Salvation Army to attend worship meetings, or to receive practical help and support, but many people want to belong – and we want people to feel they belong to The Salvation Army. Most importantly, we want everyone to deepen their relationship with God, Father, Son and Spirit. 

A Salvation Army solider in uniform
When I started coming to The Salvation Army, everyone showed love. There is a warm welcome to everyone.
Catherine, Hemel Hempstead

Soldiership

Most members of The Salvation Army are  soldiers. Other Christian churches have similar ceremonies such as baptism and confirmation. The Salvation Army uses the term ‘soldier’ to emphasise that we believe life is a battle between right and wrong, good and evil.

Soldiers must be at least 14 years old and have completed a preparation course. The course explains the beliefs of The Salvation Army (and the 11 doctrines) as well as discussing a number of personal commitments that every soldier makes. For example: ‘will make the values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the world the standard for my life.’

When a Salvation Army soldier is enrolled, they publicly demonstrate their decision by signing and making a covenant with God. Salvationists know we cannot live out the promises we make without the help of God every day. 

Adherent membership

Anyone can become an adherent member of The Salvation Army if they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and seek to follow and be like him; participate in the worship, fellowship, service and support of a local Salvation Army congregation; and identify with the Army's Mission Statement. 

An adherent member is a person 14 years of age or over, who meets the definition of adherency given above, and who is not an active member of any other religious body. The Salvation Army recognises this as a positive step in a personal journey and pledges ongoing encouragement and pastoral guidance as this journey of faith unfolds. 

Junior soldiership

Children and young people are key part of The Salvation Army family. We are committed to offering a safe place for all children and young people where they can belong, worship and have opportunities to serve their communities. 

Children over the age of seven can become junior soldiers in The Salvation Army. No pressure should ever be placed on any person – child or adult – to become a Christian but we believe children are not too young to make this decision. Many adult Christians treasure a moment in their childhood when they decided to become a disciple of Jesus. 

Any child who is 7 years or older can be enrolled as a Junior Soldier. As with the adults, there is a preparation course to help children understand and discuss the promises they are making. In a public ceremony, the child signs the junior soldier’s promise and is welcomed as a junior member of The Salvation Army.

Becoming a Salvation Army officer 

Salvation Army corps (churches) are usually led by officers (ministers). All officers are first and foremost soldiers. The Salvation Army believes God has a plan for everyone’s life.  

Some soldiers sense they are being called by God to be officers in The Salvation Army.  This calling is tested through assessment, practical experience and reports from various sources inside and outside The Salvation Army and supported by The Salvation Army as a church. 

Salvation Army officers are well trained – usually one year distance learning, two years residential learning or a longer distance learning programme as a cadet, and then distance learning in the first five years of officer ministry. During this time, many Salvation Army officers complete bachelor degrees; others go onto obtain advanced degrees and relevant professional qualifications. 

At the conclusion of the cadet training, a service of ordination and commissioning takes place and the new officer is appointed to a specific community and church. Officers are not employed by The Salvation Army. The officer makes covenant with God and Salvation Army officers are recognised as Ministers of Religion.

Watch a film about Candidates Sunday, a yearly event (normally in May) and a great place to start a conversation about officership and your calling.

Come along and see what it's like

Find your nearest Salvation Army

About us

For over 150 years, The Salvation Army has been transforming lives at the heart of communities.

Our leadership

Meet the Territorial Leaders of The Salvation Army in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Our faith

The Salvation Army is a Christian Church and charity. Learn more about our faith.

Prayer

Join our Prayer Network and help us spread the word and love of God.