While many officers had sought practical answers to the apparent lack of relevance of Salvation Army corps to those involved in the Salvation Army Bridge Programme, it was not until the early 1990s that a clear vision from the Holy Spirit came to Majors Merilyn and Kevin Goldsack, the Auckland Bridge directors. That vision was quite specific.
They were to commit themselves to a community of faith within the Salvation Army that would focus on people newly in recovery. Bible messages would be topical, short and, above all, honest. They were to encourage full participation, ensure a place of safety and give God the glory for recovery.
The step of faith taken in January 1995 led to the rapid growth of the infant church. With music an important part of the ministry, a music team came together, the only criterion being that the participants be ‘clean and sober’.
Before the end of the year, people were taking the next step, enquiring about membership and being enrolled as soldiers and adherents. A Sunday school began and Bible study groups using The Recovery Bible were meeting each week. As good news is wont to do, word got around and others from the surrounding community were soon attending.
The Recovery Church adheres to Salvation Army doctrine and can be found in over 13 different locations throughout New Zealand, each with its own special flavour. In larger centres, officers have been appointed as chaplains, with responsibility for pastoral care.