A day with the army

I spent yesterday as a guest of the army (no, not that one). I was a visiting teacher on the Salvation Army preacher training course at their state-of-the art training facility at Sunbury Court, on the banks of the River Thames.  Not surprisingly, I felt a little out of place on account of my conspicuous lack of the relevant clothing!  They were a mixed collection – with some in smart shirts and epaulettes, and others in everything from polo shirts to pullovers.

For a ‘non-army’ person, there is a curiously levelling effect to the whole uniform thing.  Nobody was ‘making a statement’ by the differences between what they wore, and the focus of the day was squarely on the task in hand – namely preaching.  Together we looked at the need to read the Bible, yourself and the congregation, and then considered specific techniques – from the poetic to the prosaic.  When it came to time to try out the narrative techniques we had been learning the results were spectacular.

What struck me most, both in the sessions and the conversations which punctuated them, was a keen sense of mission.  These people have signed up to serve – nothing more, nothing less.