FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Church in Oshawa

Why even go to church?

Would you like to have more meaning, understanding and purpose in your life? How about having good reason to worry less? Greater joy, love, appreciation, companionship, a personal relationship with a believable God who actually speaks to you and listens to you …has your best interests at heart? How about having a greater interest in helping others and in turn receiving much joy and appreciation in return. People even pray for you more often. Even Time magazine in 2018 concluded that people who go to church live longer (33-55% less likely to die over the 18 year study) due to the reasons of focused prayer and “having that sense that you’re not in the world alone, that you are part of a power larger than oneself, giving one confidence to deal with the issues of life.” We simply weren’t meant to go through life alone, and God didn’t put you on earth to live a self-centred life. His purpose for you is to build your life with him at the core, we were made for relationship with God, and for relationship with each other. Meeting at church helps you centre your life on God through worship, learning and prayer. Give it a try, and if you tried church before and you didn't get anything out of it, you may have changed just as we know we have over the years. We invite you this Sunday here. Click here to read the Time article

Why would God allow suffering, especially to good people? ...Questions of doing life together
For questions like these and other deep, often unanswerable questions, it can really show how small groups at church can help you navigate this journey we call life. God doesn't create many of the disasters like pandemics to happen to us, we decided to turn away from God's perfect world back in the garden of Eden. God nowadays does allow things to happen for a reason. Pain may not be desirable, but it's only a feeling, as is joy. Yet pain is not mere suffering, but also a warning sign and a way to protect us against danger. That something may hurt is undeniable, and that we will all feel some sort of pain at some point is inevitable, but whether this pain is our doing or God's is something entirely different. The all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God allows us to suffer, just as he allows us all sorts of things, because we have the freedom to behave as we will. But he has also provided a place with the greatest contentment we can imagine if only we listen to him, listen to his Son, and listen to his church. As to the specific issue of pain and suffering, C. S. Lewis, who watched his beloved wife die of cancer, put it this way: "But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." God's plan is for us to return to him, and to lead the best possible life on earth; sometimes we need to be reminded of our purpose. Pain is a sharp, clear tool to achieve that purpose. A needle may be necessary to prevent disease or infection; nobody welcomes or enjoys the injection, but it prevents a far greater suffering, just as what may seem like even intolerable pain now will lead to far greater happiness later.

Whether or not we understand His reasons, we must remember that God is good, just, loving, and merciful (Psalm 135:3). Often, bad things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. Instead of doubting God’s goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). We walk by faith, not by sight. Sadly it is often after disaster that people have their confidence in this life shaken and are forced to think about eternity. Churches are usually filled after disasters as people realize how tenuous their lives really are and how life can be taken away in an instant. What we do know is this: God is good! Many amazing miracles occurred during the course of natural disasters that prevented even greater loss of life. Natural disasters cause millions of people to reevaluate their priorities in life. If you have suffered through something in particular, you are then best equipped to help someone else in a similar situation. Churches such as the Salvation Army have the opportunity to help, minister, counsel, pray, and lead people to saving faith in Christ! God can, and does, bring great good out of terrible tragedies (Romans 8:28). Always remember, bad things may happen to good people in this world, but this world is not the end. Christians have an eternal perspective: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18). We will have a reward some day, and it will be glorious. Join us doing life together, and join a small group and bring this question and others up for further understanding and to have others pray for you as times of suffering come your way. Connect with us anytime to ask further questions. (some excerpts taken from got questions.org)

How can I lessen my worry and anxiety these days? 
(Rick Warren)

Before you can help others, you need to let God deal with your worry. You know this, but I want to remind you: Worry won’t help you.

Jesus told us this in Matthew 6:27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”(NIV).

Of course, the answer to Jesus’ question is no. You can’t keep yourself from catching COVID-19 through worry. It won’t keep your family from getting sick. It won’t help you keep your church open either.

Worry just makes your problems worse because you can’t move a step closer to solving them. Worry can’t change your past. It can’t change your future. All it can do is mess up your present.  

Proverbs 12:25 says, “Worry weighs a person down” (NLT). You weren’t made to endure it. In fact, it wears you out more than just about anything else. To effectively minister during this time, you need to be at your best. Worry won’t get you there.

So how can you overcome worry during this stressful season?

1. Let Jesus be your shepherd:

So many people spend so much time helping others or even thinking of themselves, that they easily forget they have a shepherd. A shepherd takes the responsibility to feed, lead, and meet the needs of his sheep. Note those aren't your responsibility, they are God's responsibility.

That’s why I start every day by saying, “The Lord is my shepherd. You’re a good God.” Then I repeat that throughout the day. If you start saying that phrase on a regular basis, your worry will decrease. Reminding yourself that you have a good shepherd who cares for you cuts down on worry.

2 Give Jesus control over every area of your life:

Worry is a warning light that you have an area you haven’t fully given over to God. When God isn’t number one, you’ll worry in that area.

When you love something more than God, it becomes a source of stress and anxiety in your life. Even good things—like our marriages, our children, and our ministries—can become sources of worry if we give them first place in our lives. When anything becomes an idol in our lives, it creates insecurity and worry.

3. Relax and give God your worries in prayer:

I’ve always told the people in my congregation to count their blessings. In times like these, you must continually remind yourself of all God has done in your life. 

But I also think it’s important to count your worries. Often, we just have a general sense of anxiety, but we don’t know what’s causing it. Before you can give God your worries, you need to have a clear idea of what they are. Once you’ve written them down, you can hand them over to God in prayer.

Peter says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). You weren’t designed to carry your worries. It’s unnatural. God is big enough and strong enough to handle all your worries.

4. Trust God one day at a time:

Don’t steal your whole future by bringing its worries into today. Jesus said it this way, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT). You have enough on your plate today. Don’t add anything else.

It’s okay to plan for tomorrow. Right now, we’re going through one of the most unique experiences in church history. You need to make plans for what you’ll do in the days, weeks, and months to come. 

You can plan for tomorrow without living in tomorrow. You can only live in today.

God is constantly testing how much we trust him. God wants us to decide whether he really holds first place in our lives. Before we can help others understand this too, we must be clear about it ourselves. 

This unique period of history is one of the biggest tests we’ll ever face when it comes to trusting God. God has promised to care for us. He will meet our needs.

Will we trust him?

How can I work on becoming happier?

  • Cultivate gratitude, forgiveness, humility,  and contentment
  • Relieve stress and conflict
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus through bible reading and prayer (don't forget to listen)
  • Release the pain of your past hurts
  • Do life together with others (small groups)
  • Rediscover and work on your God-giver purposes in life

Why believe that Jesus is alive and in relationship with you today?
1. The empty tomb. The Jews or Romans had no motive to steal the body--they wanted to suppress Christianity, not encourage it by providing it with an empty tomb. The disciples would have had no motive, either. Because of their preaching on the resurrection, they were beaten, killed, and persecuted. Why would they go through all of this for a deliberate lie? No serious scholars hold to any of these theories today.
2. The many post-tomb appearances of Jesus. As Paul and others recorded: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time... The disciples record eating and drinking with Jesus, as well as touching him. This cannot be done with hallucinations. It is also highly unlikely that they would all have had the same hallucination. Hallucinations or dreams are highly individual, and not group projections.
3. Transformed disciples who first wanted to hide until they saw Jesus after the empty tomb, then preached willing to give up their lives. Were they lying? On this view, the disciples knew that Jesus had not really risen, but they made up this story about the resurrection. But then why did 10 of the disciples willingly die as martyrs for their belief in the resurrection? People will often die for a lie that they believe is the truth. But if Jesus did not rise, the disciples knew it. Thus, they wouldn't have just been dying for a lie that they mistakenly believed was true. They would have been dying for a lie that they knew was a lie. Ten people would not all give their lives for something they know to be a lie. Furthermore, after witnessing events such as Watergate, can we reasonably believe that the disciples could have covered up such a lie?
4. Impact on history and society. It is highly unlikely that something that wasn't true would now include over 2 billion people today.
5. Experience of billions of people today. If you ask any christian today what their experience is with Jesus, you will realize how Jesus speaks and guides them very personally everyday. Jesus still answers prayer in miraculous ways! (by Matt Perman)

Why believe the bible is inspired by God himself?

More Than 300 Biblical Prophecies Point to Jesus
(By Rick Warren)

“No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction” (2 Peter 1:21 GW).

The Bible is the most read book in history. It’s also the bestselling book in history and the most translated book in history.

Yet it’s more than that. It’s also God’s Word — God’s very breath. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (NIV).

That means the Bible isn’t just a good idea. It is God’s Word to us. One of the reasons I can know that the Bible is true and trustworthy is that it has thousands and thousands of prophecies that have come true and will come true in history. Every one of the Bible’s prophecies has either come true exactly as God predicted or will come true sometime in the future.

The Bible contains more than 300 prophecies about Jesus alone — all written a thousand years before he was born. The Bible prophesied about when he’d be born, where he’d be born, and how he’d be born. He couldn’t have manipulated his birth to fulfill those prophecies.

It also predicted how he would die. A thousand years before Jesus died, David described Jesus’ death on the cross in one of the psalms. He didn’t use the word “crucifixion” because no one knew that word then. Long before the Romans were even thinking about crucifying people, David described it.

Only God could have known that.

What are the odds that I could make 300 predictions about you and every one of them would come true? It’s so astronomical you couldn’t write the number down. It takes more faith to believe that the Bible’s prophecies were a coincidence than to believe that God planned them.

The Bible says, “No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction” (2 Peter 1:21 GW). 

During Bible times, nobody wanted to be a prophet. The law in Israel was that a prophet of God had to be correct 100 percent of the time. If you were wrong just once, then you were considered a false prophet and would have been put to death. A prophet better be right!

And the biblical prophecies were right — every one of them. You can trust the Bible because what the Bible predicts comes true.

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This verse tells us that God inspired all Scripture and that it is profitable to us. It is not just the parts of the Bible that deal with religious doctrines that are inspired, but each and every word from Genesis to Revelation. Because it is inspired by God, the Scriptures are therefore authoritative when it comes to establishing doctrine, and sufficient for teaching man how be in a right relationship with God. The Bible claims not only to be inspired by God, but also to have the supernatural ability to change us and make us “complete.” What more can we need? Try reading parts of the new testament today and don't be surprised if God is speaking specifically to you about something going on in your heart.

How to know you will spend eternity in heaven?

Admit your need and that you don't have all the answers (I am a sinner).
Be willing to turn from your sins (ask for forgiveness and begin to change with God's help).
Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave. (know deep inside that God wants a relationship with you)
Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit (Receive Him as Saviour and guide of your new life)

Simply pray: Dear Lord Jesus...

I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as the Lord and Saviour of my life.
In Jesus name, 

If you have prayed this prayer the Bible tells us...

  • “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)
  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:12-13)

Watch this video to be prayed for.

Connect with us to discuss these short answers more fully and let us know of any further questions you have, and how to further your relationship with God and a newfound family of believers. Contact our church office if you would like a free 64 page pocket sized book entitled 

You can live the life you were meant to be lived:

Rick Warren’s 64 page mini booklet “What on earth am I here for?” answers life’s 3 biggest questions:

Why am I alive?

Does my life matter?

What on earth am I here for?

Wonderful to read yourself or to pass onto a friend. Request a free copy today by contacting our church office (ask@oshawa-temple.org or 905-436-0011)

Is the Salvation Army a Church or a Charity? 

This is a really good question because it's not possible for the Salvation Army to be a church without being charitable. Therefore, it is both a church and a charity.

The Salvation Army thinks of itself in terms of a body with two arms, the spiritual and the social—with one hand we reach out to God and with the other we reach out to the world. I think that's a beautiful image.

And this 'two-in-one' focus is not new for us. From the commencement of The Salvation Army in London in the late 19th century, our founders, William and Catherine Booth, emphasised that we must exist in this fashion—as a church we must live out our Christianity.

It's crucial that our Christianity is expressed in charitable work. I don't see a separation between church and charity and, in fact, if there were ever to be a separation between the two, then The Salvation Army would cease to exist as it is known, understood and valued today.

If it were to be 'just' a church and failed to be charitable, then it would have no right to preach or speak about justice, compassion, or anything that affects the well-being of others.

But if, on the other hand, it were just a charity, it would fail to respond to the whole person—the body, mind and spirit.

Is the Salvation Army a religion or a mix of denominations? ...The story of our church

The short answer to this question is 'no'. The Salvation Army is not a religion nor is it a mix of denominations.

The Salvation Army stands independently as a denomination in the christian church alongside other churches, for example, the Anglican, Baptist and United churches.

In the 1860s William Booth, the Salvation Army founder, began reaching out to the masses who were living in poverty in London. He preached that there was a God who could transform their lives and show them a new way. He fed them, prayed with them and thousands of people's lives were changed.

Booth, a Methodist minister, tried to introduce his converts to local Methodist churches, but the wider church at the time had lost much of its vision for what was then considered the underclasses, and would not accept them.

In less than 20 years, while it had not been his initial goal, he established The Salvation Army. Today, the Army upholds the cross of Christ and serves suffering humanity worldwide in 127 countries.

A good word to describe our church is 'community'. The Salvation Army, like other churches, is a community of people that meets together in local neighbourhoods, regions or centres.

They worship God together; nurture faith, wholeness and integrity of life in their own lives and in the lives of others; and, in keeping with the 'DNA' of the Army, their faith shows itself in service to people with all kinds of material, emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

The Salvation Army is a great place to belong and I encourage you to go and find this out for yourself.

Why don't Salvationists drink alcohol, smoke, or gamble?

Salvationists believe that once we have entered into a relationship with God, our lives become his temple, and so we must try to adopt a lifestyle that is beneficial to our well-being. Body, mind and soul are closely interrelated and what has an adverse effect on one may well affect the other. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.

Alcoholic drink

The misery and poverty of London's East End, which was often exacerbated by excessive drinking, led the Army's Founders to regard drink as a rot cause to many social problems. They believed in abstinence from alcohol because abstinence rather than moderation seemed to them to be the most effective answer to the tragedies caused by drunkenness and alcoholism.

Today, tragedies caused through excessive drinking are no less in evidence, and the Army feels it would be hypocritical to come alongside and try to help in such situations unless its own members practised abstinence from that which was the root cause of these problems.

The Army will not judge people who see no harm in drinking in moderation. However, in a society where much social and business interaction revolve around alcohol, a positive stance is made by Salvationists that it is not necessary to rely on alcohol to feel confident, communicate with others or enjoy oneself. 


In an age before the dangers of smoking were known, the Founders regarded tobacco as injurious to health, a waste of money and a disagreeable thing to inflict on others. For that reason Salvationists were at first discouraged, and continue not to smoke. History has proved William and Catherine Booth's views correct.


Of course Salvationists, regard drugs in the same light as the above and abstain from the non-medical use of drugs or addictive substances.


Christians believe that our lives are in God's hands. Gambling is based on luck and chance and contradicts this belief. More importantly, gambling can be addictive, causing misery to the families of those caught in its web. Salvationists want to distance themselves from anything that can be the cause of so much harm. Nor would we be happy at making gain through other people's loss, the principle on which gambling operates.

When asked to support a lottery or raffle in aid of charity, Salvationists are free to support by making a donation instead. Salvationists do not regard their abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and gambling as a negative lifestyle, but rather we believe that it gives us the freedom to be the people God intended us to be.

Why does The Salvation Army not baptize or hold communion?

A major difference between The Salvation Army and some other religious denominations is that it does not include the use of sacraments (mainly holy communion, and baptism) in its form of worship.

The Salvation Army has never said it is wrong to use sacraments, nor does it deny that other Christians receive grace from God through using them. Rather, the Army believes that it is possible to live a holy life and receive the grace of God without the use of physical sacraments and that they should not be regarded as an essential part of becoming a Christian.

Salvationists see the sacraments as an outward sign of an inward experience, and it is the inward experience that is the most important thing.

It should be noted that The Salvation Army did not cease to use the sacraments because of any prejudices it had against them or from any desire to be 'different'. The decision to discontinue their use was a gradual process in the minds of the Army's founders.  Some reasons for The Salvation Army's cessation of the sacraments may be summarised as follows:

The Army's Founders felt that many Christians had come to rely on the outward signs of spiritual grace rather than on God's grace itself. William and Catherine Booth believed, along with the Apostle Paul and others in the bible, that salvation came solely from the grace of God personally received by faith. They felt that much of what passed for Christianity in their day was primarily an observance of outward ritual, and not enough focus on a relationship with God. Historically, many early-day converts to the Army had previously been alcoholics. It was considered unwise to tempt them with the wine used in holy communion, and unfermented "wine" was not available/acceptable at the time.

Luke 3:16 John answered all of them: “I baptize you with water, but One more than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Corinthians 11: 25-26 "... He also took the cup after supper saying"This cup is the new covenant in My blood.This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."
Note "as often" or "every time" they drank and ate, not just on a prescribed day, in a formal church setting, about once a month, and apart from a fellowship meal. Salvationists view the true sacrament here is that spiritual joy and fellowship Christians share every time they gather together for a meal ...and remember Jesus in a prayer of thanksgiving.

To a large extent this is still the Salvationist's standpoint. However, it should be stressed that Salvationists have never been in opposition to the sacraments. Indeed, when they take part in gatherings with Christians from other churches, Salvationists will often share in using the symbols of the Lord's Supper as a sign of fellowship and remembrance. Furthermore, Salvationists are not prevented from being baptised in other churches should they so desire. There may be those who would take exception to some aspects of the Salvation Army's interpretation of the Bible, but keep in mind there has always been criticism and differences of opinion concerning both the practice of baptism and the lord's supper ...there is no monolithic structure through all churches. The essential thing for all christian churches to keep in mind is that regardless of what we practice, or how we practice them, Jesus Christ is the ground and centre of our faith and through Him, in Him, and by Him we may have glorious unity, fruitful fellowship, shared ministry, and brotherly love.

A quote regarding baptism, communion & even our next question of wearing the Salvation Army uniform:

"If we were allowed a glimpse into the heavenly throne room of our eternal God I am sure he might be amused at our deliberations on the finery and details of our particular expression of church. If we accept him as Saviour through Christ, having renounced our sins and sought forgiveness, then been spiritually blessed in our quest to be like him in word and deed, then we have become part of the body of Christ, the Church. We are a church in essence and by adoption. What we actually call ourselves and what we wear or what symbols we use to confirm our status – as important as they may be to our own expression of faith – are largely incidental to the fact that we are who we are, children of the most high Living God. I don’t need the symbols of sacrament, the water of baptism, the uniform of witness to know that. I simply choose these things as part of my expression of Faith. If I do not choose those things it doesn’t make me unworthy of membership. I make my confessions and promises and public pronouncements to witness to all that I am saved by grace – and I am sure God is happy with that and blesses all of us who then follow in the footsteps of Christ in whatever capacity in whatever Christian church. I can break bread with fellow believers in church or at home if I wish, wearing whatever attire I choose, but when I share sacred fellowship it is not about the ceremony, but it is in the knowledge that Jesus is our Saviour and only by the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit are we part of the embodiment of Christ and therefore his Church."
(Salvation Army Major Keith White) 

Why do some Salvationists wear uniforms?

The uniform of the day was used to equialize the new members who came from all places in society,  It was also used to unify them in cause and commitment.  Knowing that their mission was to engage in spiritual warfare, the uniform became a symbol of a visual reminder that they had accepted the call to Christ.  Underneath the uniform was a heart committed to God and a willingness to use their hands to reach humanity.

The Salvation Army uniform is one of the recognizable icons of the world.  This uniform shows itself in the pulpit, on the street corner, in hospitals and nursing homes.  It served food at Ground Zero in New York and at the floods, fires, tornados, and hurricanes around the world.

The uniform is the clerical garb of The Salvation Army officer (ordained minister) and is also worn by some soldiers (local corps members),  It is a symbol to declare our faith to everyone and to make ourselves available for service.

It tells the onlooker that the person wearing uniform is a professing Christian and that he or she is available to give practical or spiritual help through the Movement, if not personally. Uniform also opens the way for the wearer to be recognised and accepted as the representative of The Salvation Army in all kinds of situations.

There are also personal advantages in uniform-wearing. It helps the wearer to remember to live up to the Christian profession he or she has made. In difficult or dangerous situations from inner cities to wars around the world, the uniform can give the wearer a measure of protection. Wearing uniform also gives Salvationists a feeling of fellowship and an increased opportunity to witness to those who often ask questions or offer stories of appreciation for what the Salvation Army has done.

The intention of Salvation Army uniform is not to isolate its wearer from other people but to give a visible sign that he or she is available to serve others.  You do not have to wear uniform to be a Salvationist, however Salvationists who do wear uniform feel it is a privilege to do so.

Why is the church called a temple?

In the Salvation Army all the churches are simply Community Churches, but we also clarify them by size: Temples are the biggest, citadels are smaller, and corps are the smallest.

Who is William Booth?

William Booth, born in Nottingham, UK, on 10 April 1829, was the founder of The Salvation Army. Booth grew up in the Methodist Church and worked in a pawnbroker's shop.

He felt a calling on his life to become a full-time preacher and was offered a position as an evangelist for a few months with some financial support. This was the beginning of him being able to fulfil his life's calling.

In 1865 Booth started the Christian Mission, which was re-named in 1878 as The Salvation Army. Booth had a heart for the down-and-out in society. As he walked around the East End in London and saw people—the poorest of the poor—sleeping in the streets, Booth felt these were the people he should help.

Outside a pub called The Blind Beggar in June 1865, Booth stopped to listen to a group conducting an open-air meeting and he accepted an invitation to say a few words. Soon after, on 2 July in the Whitechapel district of London, Booth preached to hundreds and later declared to his wife, Catherine: 'I have found my destiny'.

Booth encountered opposition, but became a social reformer in his time. In 1890 he published a book, In Darkest England and the Way Out, and in 1891 opened a match factory to create employment. He also provided training in agriculture, shelter and food. While reaching out to help the poor, Booth encouraged the rich to use their wealth wisely.

Booth was a creative communicator and was ably supported and advised by his wife Catherine. Physically weak and blind after giving himself in total commitment to the calling on his life, Booth died on 20 August 1912.

Does the Salvation Army have a Pope?

The Salvation Army doesn't have a Pope, but instead has an international leader who is called the General.  The General leads the work of the Salvation Army in over 130 countries.

To become General of The Salvation Army, a person (man or woman) must be a Christian who is ordained and commissioned as a Salvation Army officer (minister). The electing body, referred to as the High Council, is composed of all active commissioners and territorial commanders in the world.

The General resides in London where The Salvation Army began its work in 1865. The founders of the Army were William and Catherine Booth. They chose a quasi-military command structure in 1878 when their congregation, The Christian Mission, changed its name to The Salvation Army.

William Booth was the Army's first General and, since then, another 19 Generals from around the world (including General Brian Peddle from Canada since 2018) have served in the role.

In The Salvation Army, the rank of Commissioner is assigned by the General. The roles of commissioners vary, but all carry a great weight of responsibility. 

A territorial commander is responsible to the General for accomplishing the Salvation Army's mission of transforming lives, caring for people, and reforming society within a territory of the world.

This person must provide visionary and practical leadership and inspire Salvationists in their Christian faith. They are also responsible for the effective implementation of social service programs to meet human need, and for taking social action against evil in society.

Among other things, a territorial commander is also responsible for the legal constitution, property, and finances of the territory, as well as the development of officers (ministers) and soldiers (full members).

How does the Salvation Army use the funds it raises?

The Salvation Army is committed to assisting all people without regard to nationality, race, belief, sexuality, ability, or judgement of behaviour. Donations worldwide are used to fund the following programs:

  • Addiction rehab centres
  • Aged care services and visitation
  • Alcohol detoxification facilities and services 
  • Anger management programs 
  • Anti-trafficing and modern slavery relief
  • Armed forces services
  • Asylum seeker support services 
  • Budgeting help services
  • Chaplaincy services 
  • Child programmes & services 
  • Christmas Toy and Food distribution
  • Community support programs 
  • Court and prison services 
  • Crisis accommodation / Contact / Counselling centres 
  • Crisis telephone support services 
  • Critical incident counselling 
  • Daycares
  • Disability services 
  • Disaster relief & rehabilitation 
  • Domestic and family violence services 
  • Drug addiction detoxification 
  • Drug and alcohol programs
  • Emergency services 
  • Employment training programs 
  • Family counseling & welfare services 
  • Family crisis and transitional housing 
  • Family tracing (missing persons) 
  • Flying Padre and outback services 
  • Food vans and kitchens
  • Food banks
  • Gambling counselling 
  • Grief counselling 
  • Health care and disease prevention/treatment
  • Home and school support programmes 
  • Homeless accommodation centres 
  • Homes for the aged
  • Hospitals developed and managed
  • Hostels for youth 
  • Housing services 
  • Human trafficking safe house
  • Indigenous peoples' work
  • Marriage enrichment 
  • Material aid 
  • Meals programmes 
  • Mental health services 
  • Migrant and refugee services 
  • Outreach services 
  • Parenting skills 
  • Prison visitation
  • Recreation programmes 
  • Refuge for victims of violence 
  • Research and advocacy 
  • Rural support services 
  • Schools
  • Small business community projects in developing countries
  • Social policy and social justice services 
  • Sports ministries
  • Survivors of suicide counselling groups 
  • Water well drilling developing countries
  • Youth crisis drop-in centres 
  • Youth support programmes


Connect with us and let us know of any further questions and how to further your new relationship with God and a newfound family of believers



 Feel free to connect with us anytime to ask further questions and to take your searching to another level