The Minneapolis Temple, Minn., Corps is impacting its urban, multicultural community through a surge of mission advances. Youth ministries in particular have blossomed, according to Corps Officers Majors Roberto and Melissa Viquez, with rising numbers of children, teens and young adults at the corps.
Eight new junior soldiers were enrolled this spring. Teen ministries have grown from four to 18 members and young adults from two to 16! Several are involved in Bible studies and in the corps’ praise and worship team.
The corps’ youth brass band has been brought back to life by Jose Sanchez, Northern divisional music and gospel arts director. To reinforce the importance of music, this summer’s day camp revolved around the performing arts, examining the different ways God can be worshipped.
“Next up will be the resumption of character-building classes when our adults, many of whom are new believers, become more spiritually mature and ready to lead,” said Major Melissa. She indicates that a dozen adults are attending recruits classes with interest in being enrolled as senior soldiers or becoming adherents.
Expanded women’s ministries featured the launch of a weekly evening meeting for Spanish speakers, “Mujeres Llenas de Gracia” (Women Full of Grace). From the start the group had 12 women, and membership continues to grow. The self-dubbed “Forever 50” English-speaking group meets during the day. The groups work together on projects, such as a women’s luncheon and silent auction. Members of both groups brought in several of the corps’ 12 new families.
“We’re so happy the corps is growing through God’s use of The Salvation Army in reaching out to families,” said Major Melissa.
The majors unearthed the need for a new corps ministry while visiting a local residential care center where they found residents who had been soldiers, including 92-year-old Bea Ceagan who had belonged to the Minneapolis Temple Corps since 1955.
With the care center’s permission, the corps began holding monthly worship services there. Up to 45 residents come to enjoy the service in person, while other residents can watch through closed-circuit TV in their rooms. Afterward, residents participate in craft projects or other activities provided by corps visitors.
“When we go to the care center everyone has a blast, and we’re happy to share the gospel with these amazing seniors,” said Major Melissa. “Our goal is to start a similar older-adult program at the corps,” she continued after discovering older adults were an under-served population in the community. The corps-based program hopes to offer a wider choice of activities and a nutritious lunch.
As the corps’ budding advisory board continues to grow in numbers and influence, Majors Roberto and Melissa anticipate many more ministry opportunities.