For a decade my wife and I were in a Salvation Army band. We were both working for them when they approached us and asked us if we would like to start a Sunday morning meeting in an empty church building that they owned. They said that the traditional church format had never worked in that building and asked if we would do something nontraditional.
We accepted their offer and began to meet band-style (as in a band of brothers and sisters meeting interactively together with open-hearted honesty, love, humility, and compassion). It was a 10-year experience. We typically had between 20 and 35 adults. After praise and worship, people would freely share as they felt prompted by the Lord. We soon discovered that ordinary people are eloquent when they speak from their heart as led by the Spirit.
Every Sunday was different, but incredible. Each week we heard, saw, and experienced amazing things. Love abounded in our multi-racial band. Lives were changed in front of our eyes. We were supported and encouraged by local, regional, and national Salvation Army leadership until a new local leader arrived in Nashville and told us we couldn’t meet like that anymore because it wasn’t The Salvation Army way.
That was five years ago. Since then, my wife and I have experienced much banding. We meet almost every day with people in both regularly scheduled and spontaneous gatherings (in person, by Zoom, or on the phone). We now have open-hearted sharing and spiritual connections with more people than we have ever had before. We are continually amazed at how God continues to knit our hearts together with people we’ve known for a while and with people we’ve only recently met. We love band-style gatherings of the body of Christ (whether in twos or threes or in big band meetings where 20 or 30 or more people share as prompted by the risen Jesus).
To learn more about my Salvation Army band experience, click here.