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Groundbreaking change to officership in Australia

Groundbreaking change to officership in Australia

Groundbreaking change to officership in Australia

17 October 2019

Salvation Army cadets in Australia will be able to train for a specific role in social and community services from 2020.

By Lauren Martin

In an Australia Territory first, a new specialised Salvation Army officer role has been created. Called ‘Social and Community Services Officer’, it will allow people to train as an officer for one specific area and serve their appointments in that area only.

“This is a major change that is supported by International Headquarters and is an exciting opportunity for us to develop different pathways of officership,” said Australia Territory Secretary for Personnel Lieutenant-Colonel Kelvin Merrett.

In order to prepare for the specific training required for this role, Eva Burrows College has developed a new pathway for Salvationists who sense God’s leading towards the field of social and community services and full-time service as an officer.

After training, they will be commissioned as a Salvation Army officer and, like all officers, they will make themselves available to serve anywhere in the new Australia Territory, but exclusively in social and community services appointments.

“While officership typically requires people to generalise in a wide range of areas, now there is an opportunity to train as an officer for one specific area and have confidence that this is where you will be appointed,” said Eva Burrows College Leader of Officer Formation Captain Richard Parker. “Our new approach allows leaders to be equipped to serve as an officer in their areas of gifting and passion.

It also allows for highly individualised training, resulting in officers who are especially equipped for a challenging yet rewarding ministry in social and community services.”

The Salvation Army will commence training with three cadet positions in 2020 for this opportunity to serve as a specialised officer. The requirements for those wanting to apply are the same as anyone who expresses an interest in becoming a Salvation Army cadet, although the new pathway will offer specialised training for social and community services while also covering all essential officer training.

Alternate Training Mode Coordinator Captain Andrew Walton said it’s an exciting opportunity for future leaders of The Salvation Army and is the first step in creating more pathways to officership. “We hope to further diversify training into other specialised modes of officership in the not too distant future to help us minister to more people, more effectively,” he said.

People interested in applying for one of the first three cadet positions to start their training in the 2020 intake at Eva Burrows College can contact


  1. Major Evelyn Sneller
    Major Evelyn Sneller

    This was done back in the 1920’s in England. There were two sections at the college, 5hose who trained to be corps officers and those trained to be social officers. My parents-in-law were trained in a session like that in England.
    Great idea.

  2. This is nothing new in the 70'S had Social and Field Officers

  3. A very good idea.for those who have a heart4the comunity.&2 encourage full time ministry.God Bless our Army.

  4. So excited about this news. This so encouraging and breathtaking. I've desired to have such an opportunity & I know many out there too. Keep it
    up Australia Territory.
    Is there an opportunity for outsiders (willing candidates from other parts or Territories of the large international Army). Thank you & keep it up.

  5. What a great idea. This will open up a lot of possibilities for all.

  6. Submitted an article on streaming of officers back in 1990 to the Officer magazine in Canada. Was rejected for publication. Eventually left officership and went on for another 24 years of ministry service until retirement.. Good on ya mates and God bless.

  7. This is a huge step forward! The world is changing so fast these days, and people's needs are as well. I am glad for this move. When I served as an Officer, I often thought there were many situations & circumstances where I was not remotely trained for but because I wore the uniform, I was looked to as the "expert"...
    I think this is a good move & I think it will go well!

  8. I think it may just work. It will be interested in seeing results or updates.

  9. This is how our emphasis for the salvation of souls moves further into erosion as the organization becomes even more secularized by the world's ideals. This is not progress. This is how we dedtroy the very foundation and identity of who salvationists are. A sad state of affairs for the Social Services Army, formerly known as The Salvation Army.

  10. This will do nothing but create yet another category of division among salvationists. Especially among officers.


  12. Marian H hienderson
    Marian H hienderson

    This was how I was trained in UK in 1965 - 1967

  13. Lieutenant Nuni malele
    Lieutenant Nuni malele

    what a great blessing

  14. This should apply to those in first responders status and medical personnel, who, of course, profess a mission to follow that of Christ's.

  15. I'm not sure this is a good thing. Theses officers will be very limited in experience. Will these officers be eligible in their later career to be DC's, TCs, General - without experiencing the life of a Corps Officer? If so, how will they relate to those corps officers under their command when they have no experience? And will we be having special courses and conditions for those cadets who only want to work in an office as - say - an accountant, a public relations officer, in women's ministry, in humanitarian sectors? I understand that officers (like us all) have special gifts- but these should be explored and developed as they minister. I think this initiative is very limiting and may be taking things a bit far!

  16. Major Graham Mizon
    Major Graham Mizon

    As mentioned by others, in the distant past there were two streams of training in the UK - Social and Field. Numerically, more officers were trained for the Field as Corps Officership was high profiled and there were far more Corps than social centres. From the article above, the emphasis appears to be on training cadets to be social and community officers with no mention about the specialist training needed these days to provide leadership for a diverse portfolio of Corps. My fear is that this change in officer training could encourage the trend of more Corps closing and we end up with well run social and community programmes, but alongside a diminished Corps ministry.

  17. Kudos! But groundbreaking? Good progress in returning to our roots of ‘evangelical feminism’ at best. Keep it rolling!

  18. norman, the inquisitive non-salvationist  working for the salvation army...
    norman, the inquisitive non-salvationist working for the salvation army...

    @John Esker:

    Is the faith not built in the service of others - a greater calling to servanthood to a Jewish carpenter who spent his earthly existence to save the finite? Is this move so binary that it would destroy The Salvation Army? Maybe a better rebadge - The Salvation Servants?

    I hope you don't find this argumentative or facetious. As I am not a Salvationist, I think I am missing nuances from the culture. What do you think?

  19. Unfortunately the past specialised either field or social officer categories in Australia on the 1960s and 70s created 2 ‘classes’ of officers. What is being put in place that reflects our learning from this past experience that was a barrier to the ongoing effectiveness of the ‘expert’ streams.

  20. @John Esker:
    @John Esker:

    It sounds like an idea that could be negative for some ... I have read the comment by Ray L Maer ... The Army believes it’s uniform is an open invitation to “others” to approach the wearer and expect a response that shows the wearer is knowledgable on The Bible, Army services across the board, and is able to pray with the enquirer if invited to do so.
    We all know that is far from 100% certain for every uniform wearer ... so launching a new team of Uniformed Officers who have no knowledge or experience of so many aspects of life and its problems, sounds like a way of letting down the enquirer who expects much more ...
    Or will these new ones wear a different uniform, like normal Social and Community workers ... ?
    Or will they be working indoors only, where they will not be seen by the public who may think they are proper SA Officers ?

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