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General Salvation Army Information

When did the Salvation Army start in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga?

The Salvation Army was brought to New Zealand in April 1883 by Captain George Pollard (20) and Lieutenant Edward Wright (21) who came at the request of New Zealanders impressed by good reports of the Army’s successes in England.

The first Salvation Army work was in Dunedin. By the end of the first year over 25 Salvation Army centres were established from Auckland to Invercargill. By the end of that decade, the Salvation Army was working in every town with a population of more than 1500.

The Salvation Army extended out from New Zealand to Fiji in 1973 and to Tonga in 1985.

What does The Salvation Army do?

The Salvation Army helps people in need through a wide range of community programmes.

These include food assistance, budgeting advice, like skills training, counselling, crisis and supportive accommodation, addiction services (drug, alcohol and problem gambling), chaplaincy support, employment training, chaplaincy, emergency services, and youth work.

The Salvation Army also operates churches, called ‘corps’, in cities and towns around New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. These church communities feed the soul and fuel Salvation Army mission.

Salvation Army church services are open to anyone.

What is a Salvation Army Corps?

A corps is a Salvation Army church. Each corps runs church services and associated groups as well as a variety of other activities such as social programmes and initiatives that benefit people in the surrounding community.

Anyone can become part of a Salvation Army corps.

Why does The Salvation Army sound like it is a military organisation?

The Salvation Army is organised according to a quasi-military structure. For example, its ministers are called officers. They wear uniforms and hold ranks such as captain or major.

The quasi-military structure provides a useful analogy for the work of the Salvation Army, which organises its soldiers (members) to do battle in an ongoing war against evil, injustice and oppression.

Why do Salvation Army people wear uniforms?

Some Salvation Army members wear uniforms to identify themselves as Salvationists. The uniform is a visible expression of faith that often creates opportunities for the wearer to lend a helping hand or to share their faith.

Uniforms have been an integral part of the Salvation Army since it was founded in the late 1800s.

Uniform wearing is not compulsory for Salvation Army church attendees other than officers (ministers of religion). There are variations of Salvation Army dress, from formal uniform to Salvation Army-branded casual clothing.

What are the different ranks in the Salvation Army?

Ranks in the Salvation Army range from soldier to General. The rank structure is as follows:

Soldier – a member of The Salvation Army

Cadet – a senior soldier who is training to become an officer

Lieutenant – a recently commissioned and ordained officer in their first five years of service

Captain – after 5 years of service a lieutenant is promoted to the rank of captain

Major – after 15 years of service a Captain is promoted to the rank of major

Lieut-Colonel, Colonel and Commissioner – ranks held by senior administrative staff

The General – this rank is held by the person in overall command of the Salvation Army throughout the world. The General is based at the International Headquarters of The Salvation Army in London.

What is the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is in over 120 countries and is part of the worldwide evangelical Christian church. It has its own distinctive governance and practice.

The Salvation Army is committed to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in word and action, showing practical concern and care for all people without discrimination.

Salvation Army doctrines follow the mainstream of Christian belief and emphasise God’s saving purposes through Jesus Christ.

The Salvation Army has a quasi-military command structure under the authority of its London-based General. Its ‘fighting force’ comprises full-time officers (ministers of religion), soldiers and adherents (members), and employees.

What is the Salvation Army mission?

The international Mission Statement of the Salvation Army reads: ‘The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination.’

The Salvation Army in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga describes its mission succinctly as ‘caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society by God’s power’.

> Read the full version of our mission statement

How did the international Salvation Army start?

The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth, an ordained Methodist minister, and his wife Catherine in 1865. It was originally known as ‘The Christian Mission’, adopting the name ‘The Salvation Army’ in 1878. The Booths’ mission was to preach Christianity to the masses. They had a holistic mission that gave attention to people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The Salvation Army soon became known for its determination to improve the situation of the poor and otherwise marginalised. The Salvation Army spread rapidly from its homeland in England to nearly all parts of the globe and is now in over 125 countries. The vision of William and Catherine Booth remains the basis of the Salvation Army’s work today.


Can I have a wedding at a Salvation Army church?

Yes, Salvation Army churches are available for weddings. You don't need to be a member of the Salvation Army, but the wedding will be a Christian service.

What is a Salvation Army meeting (church service) like? Can anyone attend?

There is no single format for Salvation Army worship, although it is characterised by spontaneity, informality, participation, strong use of music, preaching of God’s word, and the encouragement to commit to ongoing spiritual growth.

All Salvation Army worship services are open to the public at any time and anyone is welcome to attend.

What kind of religion does the Salvation Army follow?

Salvation Army doctrines (Articles of Faith) closely follow the orthodox beliefs of the Protestant Church. View a detailed list of our Articles of Faith.

Does the Salvation Army push religion onto people it helps?

The Salvation Army provides a wide range of social services without any expectation or requirement that those being helped will join the Salvation Army.


Where does the money raised by donations to The Salvation Army go?

Funds go to support the Salvation Army’s social service programmes that help more than 100,000 people in New Zealand each year.

These include emergency help such as foodbanks, temporary accommodation and disaster relief, as well as supportive services that help people to break the cycle of poverty and despair, such as budgeting, counselling, addiction services and parenting help.

Will money I donate go to support religious activities?

Money raised through donations goes to support social service programmes. Salvation Army church activities are supported by the local church community.

If you would like your donation to support religious activities, then you may specify this at the time of donating.

When I make a donation can I specify that the money be used for a specific purpose?

It is possible to specify that your donation be used for a specific purpose. Call our donation freephone +64 0800 53 00 00 to discuss this option. When donating online you can specify a purpose within the 'Specific use' field on the 'Make a Donation' page. However, most donations are for unspecified purposes and help to support our wide range of social programmes.

If I make a donation to the Salvation Army, how much of it will go to help people in need?

The Salvation Army is proud of the extent to which donations are used to help people rather than to pay for administration and other associated costs. About 81 per cent of donations go to help people in need. This is one of the highest rates among New Zealand charities.

My company is looking to form a partnership with a worthy charity. Who do I talk to about this?

Contact one of our regional Public Relations Officers. They will be happy to discuss how your organisation can work with The Salvation Army to help people in need. Read some more information about Corporate Partnerships.

How is the Salvation Army funded?

The Salvation Army's social work is funded by donations, grants and public funding. There are regular public appeals throughout the year, but members of the public can donate at any time through our free phone 0800 53 00 00 or online.

Salvation Army church activities are funded by the local church community.

Why should I donate money to the Salvation Army rather than some other charity?

The Salvation Army helps more than 100,000 people in New Zealand every year. The Army’s broad range of social programmes and services helps as many people as possible. Rather than limiting itself to being a welfare agency, the Salvation Army aims to help people to help themselves.

Supporting The Salvation Army changes people’s lives for the better and helps build better communities for us all to live in.

We would welcome and value your support.

I am unable to make a financial donation right now. How else can I help?

There are so many ways to give to the Salvation Army and to those in need in your community. Check out the Giving Back area of our website to see how you can help.

Joining/Volunteering/Taking Part

How do I become an Officer in The Salvation Army?

The decision to devote yourself full-time to the service of God as a Salvation Army officer (minister of religion) normally follows a period of association with the Salvation Army.

This includes becoming a member, after which time you may apply to attend the two-year officer training course. There are training schools for officers in Upper Hutt (Booth College of Mission) and in Suva, Fiji.

How do I join a Salvation Army Corps (church)?

To start with, try attending a Sunday service or other local Salvation Army activity. Talk to some the Salvation Army people attending about your interest in joining and they will be able to assist.

Becoming a member involves some commitment in terms of learning about God and Christian beliefs as well as Salvation Army practices.

How can I volunteer my time to help the Salvation Army?

We are grateful for the many people who already volunteer time to help with the work of the Salvation Army, such as in our social programmes or in Family Stores.

Contact your local Salvation Army Corps (church), centre or Family Store to find out how you can become part of our valued army of volunteers.

Drugs & Alcohol

What help can I get help for drug and alcohol addiction?

The Salvation Army has 14 treatment centres around the country, providing free, confidential help for anyone struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The programme will give you the opportunity to evaluate your alcohol or drug use and explore ways to bring things under control again. You will be supported, challenged and encouraged to make positive changes in your life.

How can I get help?

Simply contact your local Salvation Army Centre for information; or find your nearest Salvation Army addictions services centre; or call 0800 787 797 Alcohol Helpline or, for a service directory You may also be referred to us by another agency. Our caseworkers will assess you and your needs, to work out the best way for you to get the help you need.

How much does it cost?

The treatment programme is free for anyone who is eligible. *Conditions apply for residential services.

How long is the treatment, and do I live-in or come for the day?

Generally the residential programme is eight weeks long. This means that you will stay in our accommodation and attend the programme during the day. In some centres you can also come for day treatment, and the length of time will vary—call your local centre to find out about options in your area. Some centres provide residential treatment for parents who have young children, with a Parent and Child programme working alongside the regular programme. In addition to the longer treatment programme, a six-day methamphetamine detoxification service is also offered in some centres.

What will I be doing at the programme?

Our programme is based on your individual needs, and we’ll work with you as well as with your family and whānau, on the best treatment plan for you. At the centre, you’ll do a mixture of group work, individual counselling and the 12 Steps towards recovery. You’ll receive a range of help with things like:
• drug and alcohol education
• strategies to reduce harm from drugs and alcohol
• dealing with emotions
• communication and relationships
• problem-solving and coping strategies
• principles for maintaining your recovery
• spiritual and cultural self-awareness
• life-skills and employment training

What sorts of people will be there?

People from all walks of life attend the our programme. It is for anyone who is adversely affected by their use of drugs and alcohol.

What other addictions can The Salvation Army help with?

The Salvation Army’s problem gambling service provides free, confidential treatment. This is an outpatient service that includes counselling as you move from crisis to recovery, work with your family and whānau, and group work. Find your nearest centre, or phone 0800 654 655 for the Gambling Helpline.

Officership Training FAQs

What happens with meals at BCM?

Cadets buy their own food and eat in their own homes. Community meals, fully catered by BCM,are also a feature of college life. This includes lunches on ‘Spiritual Days’ and In-Sundays. You will be asked to advise the Campus Administrator about any medically-diagnosed food allergies.

What schools are in the BCM area?

You may enrol your children at the school of your choice. The closest schools, and those most commonly used by the children of staff and cadets are:

What will my training include?

The officer training programme focuses on:

  • Personal and spiritual development, including worship as a priority (individual and corporate), and the opportunity to develop inter-personal relationship and time management skills.
  • Academic development, including Bible, doctrine, social work, preaching, meeting leadership, counselling and Salvation Army principles.
  • Practical training, including both public and pastoral corps ministries, religious education in schools, and prison chapel services and mission weekends - supported by a substantial teaching component that includes individual and group learning.

At the end of training, the Laidlaw College Diploma in Christian Studies, the Booth College of Mission Diploma in Salvation Army Mission and Ministry, and the Salvation Army Certificate of Salvation Army Officer Training are awarded to those cadets who have fulfilled the requirements of these awards while at BCM.

What will I study in my first year as a cadet?

In your first year, the usual course of study is the Diploma in Christian Studies.

This includes: biblical studies, Christian thought and history, personal growth, pastoral studies, worship and preaching, mission and Maori studies, spiritual formation, and mission (practical training).

What will I study in my second year as a cadet?

In your second year, the usual course of study is the Diploma in Salvation Army Mission and Ministry.

This includes eight 15-credit modules. Each modules is an integrated and holistic unit of learning, usually four weeks’ long and with six of the eight topics also including a week of fieldwork.

Modules include: The Salvation Army 1: Mission and Ministry; Officership 1: The Work; Mission 1: Evangelism and Disciple Making; Mission 2: Living and Serving in Community; The Salvation Army 2: Organisation and Governance; Ministry 1: Leadership; Ministry 2: Management; Officership 2: The Commission.

What will I wear?

Uniform requirements are governed by the Salvation Army Territorial Uniform Minute (the details of which will be provided to you upon your acceptance into training). All uniform and accessories should be purchased before you commence training at BCM.

You will need to bring one as new ‘formal uniform’ (with blue epaulettes, no white piping) to college, along with approved footwear, and sufficient ‘working uniform’ for classroom and on-campus wear.

Cadets are usually expected to be in uniform during working hours from Monday to Friday (8 am to 6 pm) unless otherwise advised. This means you will need enough uniform blouses/white shirts, etc, for six days.

Men are required to have a uniform tie. An approved navy cap for men is recommended (for use at civic/official public functions).  Slide-on epaulettes (cadet trim) are provided free of charge by BMC.

One new uniform will be supplied free of charge before your commissioning.

Cadets receive 20% discount on all goods purchased from Salvationist Resources - this includes uniforms as well as books.


Do I need to make a financial contribution toward my training?

Cadets are required to make a contribution to help cover the cost of the full two-year course. This contribution is reviewed each year and is refundable on a sliding scale if a cadet withdraws from training.

For the 2017/19 session, the contribution is set as $2764.60, invoiced at the end of March and payable by 20 April 2017. You are encouraged to speak to the college if this payment would be unduly difficult for you so other options may be explored

What other financial matters should I think about before starting training?

Cadets receive a modest living allowance, but this is sufficient only to cover day-to-day expenses. Therefore, you are strongly advised to have some personal savings to cover additional expenses such as car maintenance and insurance, dental and medical needs, holidays, personal insurance (personal items are not covered by BCM insurance), as well as any emergencies. Recent experience shows some cadets are able to manage with $3000 per person in reserve, while others may require $5000 or more.

BCM is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority as a private training establishment, accredited to teach approved course. Cadets enrolled in the Laidlaw College Diploma in Christian Studies may be entitled to receive student allowance.

Information and application for Student Allowance is online at - it is important to begin the application process at least 8 weeks in advance. Note that Student Allowance begins with the start of the Diploma in Christian Studies programme and is paid in arrears. You will need to allow sufficient personal funds for at least three weeks.

A one-off grant is available for accepted candidates who, immediately before entering training, have been employed in a ministry position within The Salvation Army. Please contact your Divisional Candidates Secretary for application details.

A Living Allowance Scholarship, provided by The Salvation Army, is available to cadets who do not qualify for Student Allowance under certain criteria, to help meet their personal living costs during training. Those who do not qualify for Student Allowance will need to formally apply for this scholarship. This scholarship is also available to top up household income where only one of a couple is eligible for Student Allowance. Those aged under 24 may also apply for a scholarship to be topped up.

Cadets with preschool children are eligible for a Child Care Subsidy from Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ). This covers most of the cost of having your child/ren at William Booth Educare. Children from 3-5 will also be eligible for 20 hours free ECE. All cadets are expected to apply for these funding sources in a timely fashion to minimise costs to The Salvation Army. Once the college session begins, The Salvation Army pays that portion of fees not covered by WINZ or 20 Hours ECE.

Where possible, official travel is by BVM vans. If you are required to use your personal vehicle for official activities, you will be able to claim motor vehicle allowance for this use.


What is a Salvation Army Officer?

A Salvation Army officer is a senior soldier who has responded to a calling from God to devote all their time and energies to the service of God as a commissioned and ordained leader of The Salvation Army.

Salvation Army officers enter into the following covenant with God:


to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation Army.

I bind myself to him in this solemn covenant

  • To love and serve him supremely all my days,
  • To live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life,
  • To care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovable, and befriend those who have no friends,
  • To maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God’s grace, to prove myself a worthy officer.

Tell me about Booth College of Mission (BCM)?

Booth College of Mission (BCM) has two Schools for Officer Training - one in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, and one in Suva, Fiji. It provides training for all who respond to the call to officership in The Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory.

Booth College of Mission also includes:

  • The School of Bible and Mission, operating in partnership with Laidlaw College and open to anyone who wants to pursue courses in biblical, ministry and mission studies. Diploma courses are accredited with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in partnership with Laidlaw College.
  • Centre for Leadership Development, offering workshop-based learning experiences for The Salvation Army, especially staff and those who hold leadership and ministry responsibilities within The Salvation Army.
  • William Booth Educare, our on-site early childhood education centre.
  • Heritage Centre and Archives, forming an important research resource for The Salvation Army in conjunction with the BCM library.
  • Youth Mission Training, a faculty of BCM located at Territorial Headquarters in Wellington.

What will I be called during my training period?

During your training, you are referred to as a ‘cadet’ because you are training to become an officer.

You will also have a ‘sessional name’, a name shared by other sessions around the world who are training in the same general time as you.

What facilities are available at Booth College of Mission?

Our Upper Hutt Campus is a purpose-built facility opened in 1983. Today, it includes classrooms, an assembly hall, kitchen/dining area, conference facilities, library and staff offices, along with an early childhood centre.

The Salvation Army Heritage Centre and Archives was added in 2010. The BCM library has more than 18,000 items.

William Booth Educare (WBE) operates five days a week, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, meaning that cadets with preschool children can attend all their BCM classes. WBE is also open to the public.

A tennis court, sports field and children’s play area is available to the college community, as well as a prayer grove for adults.

What is the accommodation like at BCM in Upper Hutt?

You will be provided with partially-furnished accommodation in the form of a unit or house throughout your training. Major items of supplied furniture include lounge suite, dining suite, bedroom furniture, washing machine and refrigerator. Kitchen items are not supplied with the exception of a microwave. Vacuum cleaners are provided.

There is no extra storage space on campus, so you may need to make arrangements for storing some of your household effects while you are training. This will be a personal cost.

If you have any pets, you will need to make other arrangements for their care while at the college.

What personal amenities would I need to pay for?

You will need to pay for your own gas and electricity. Each unit/house has an individual meter and you will be invoiced monthly.

You will not have to pay line rental on your phone line, but you will pay for phone calls.  Wireless routers are installed in each unit/house, giving access to high-speed wireless internet. You will pay around $5 per month for this service.

When would I arrive at BCM if accepted for training?

You are welcome to arrive at BCM as early as mid January (you will be advised of the actual date), which makes it easier for transition for families with school-aged children. All cadets are to take up residence no later than 1 February.

If you do choose to arrive before the last Friday in January, you will need to pay for your accommodation for that period. This is $120 per week (or $20 per day for part of that week). Attendance at William Booth Educare during this early period is also a personal cost.

Who pays the cost of my travel and that of my goods to BCM?

Cost of travel to BCM is a personal cost, as is the cost of moving your personal belongings to the college.