The Orlando Area Command and Citadel Corps outreach efforts
By: Captain Ken Chapman
Evangelism and spiritual warfare are the foundations of why The Salvation Army was called into existence. The Orlando Area Command and Citadel Corps take this seriously. We believe in getting our hearts right with God and then getting our hands dirty with the mission of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Brian Smith Urban Outreach
Every Saturday, a blended group of officers, soldiers, advisory board members, staff, and Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) beneficiaries go out into the streets of Orlando and hold three open-air services. Brian Smith was promoted to Glory two years ago. He was the corps sergeant-major of the corps and a trophy of grace who came through the ARC program after a lifetime of drugs and alcohol. After being gloriously saved, he became a great evangelist. He was a jail chaplain and ministered to different groups every day of the year. He started this outreach on a simple basis and it has grown—exponentially—to serve about 300 people each Saturday.
We go to three neighborhoods that support precariously housed people and many who are unhoused. We bring the gospel, food, clothing, toiletries, and other items to bring relief and hope to those who have lost their hope. We tie many of them to supportive services to assist them in getting their lives in order and into more stability and productivity.
Over the past two years, other churches and universities have joined us in the mission: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Elevation Church, Faith Harvest, the University of Central Florida, and community friends and volunteers.
This outreach brings people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, hope, wrap-around services, and a sense that someone cares and they are not alone.
Hardcore Homeless Outreach
A spin-off of the Brian Smith Urban Outreach, advisory board members took up this outreach ministry to serve the hardcore homeless, those living on the streets, in trees and tents, those who refuse to go into shelters. Our board members take food, toiletries, and the gospel of Christ, ministering to basic human needs. They provide blankets, Bibles, and tents, and connect the unhoused to services: IDs, medical, education, and try to move them to permanent housing. This unique ministry fills a gap that is difficult for the current staff to fulfill and demonstrates our board members’ love of Christ and the mission.
Someone Cares Ministry
The Orlando Metropolitan Area Command supports the William and Catherine Booth Towers—supportive housing where 319 seniors live for an average of $237 per month. The command supports this effort with not only housing but wrap-around services and food security.
Led by our current corps sergeant-major, joined by other soldiers, they provide a weekly Bible Study and fellowship time with programs, games, prizes, and lots of laughter and hugs. This effort assures the seniors that they are loved and prayed for on a regular basis. The love of Christ is exhibited through this ministry, reflective of the old League of Mercy.
The Orlando Metropolitan Area Command and Orlando Corps have a close relationship with the local Orlando ARC. We provide 15 beds as a “halfway step” for successful graduates of the ARC, moving them into the Warrior Program with reduced rents, wrap-around services, case management, service projects, and weekly Bible Study. This gives the beneficiary an easier step back into the world, surrounded by soldiers who stand with them, march alongside of them, and guide them through the difficult transition period. Each of them attends the corps. Indeed, we enrolled two of them as senior soldiers recently! This program is completely soldier-driven and maintained.
Our men’s group meets regularly with Bible study and service projects. Again, soldier-driven, these men not only discuss theology and Jesus, they complete great service projects that assist the corps in successful ministry. They build, clean, change the oil for the needy and seniors, have lots of good fun and food, and take joy in serving Jesus and the mission of The Salvation Army.