“Love Has An Army. We Fight For Good,” the Salvation Army (SA) website touts. On any given day, 200 men, women, and children are finding shelter, counseling, spiritual guidance, and drug rehabilitation services in Memphis-area Salvation Army facilities.
But according to the organization’s commander, Salvation Army is more than just a place to address practical needs.
“We are actually a church,” said Major Marion Platt. “And our denomination is found in 130 countries around the world. Our system of faith has Methodism roots. So all of the Methodist variations – AME, CME, United Methodist – we are foundationally related to traditional Methodist denominations.
To impoverished and underserved populations, the Salvation Army offers residential services for the homeless and displaced, adult rehabilitation centers, youth development, disaster relief, and a host of other long-term programs to assist families with employment training and placement, as well as spiritual guidance.
“We’re not just an organization with an overt, religious message,” said Major Platt. “We are a church in every sense of the word.”
And according to this church’s “pastor,” there were some clear directives and goals set out for the next leader who would direct the Memphis installation of SA.
“One of the primary objectives laid out by the Memphis Advisory Board was for the Salvation Army to firm up its connection with the faith community,” Platt said. “My job is not only to preach the gospel in our chapel, but to form partnerships with other movements as a preacher of the gospel, claiming to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We want to fellowship and congregate with the African-American church community to broaden the range of inclusion and diversion on the advisory board.
“People come to the Salvation Army, and they are tormented by substance abuse, situational or generational poverty, and other conditions which stem from those issues. We can offer temporary peace by meeting the immediate needs for food, shelter, and clothing. But ultimately, real, lasting hope comes from the peace-the shalom-of God through Jesus Christ. He is the only source of deep, lasting, eternal peace. Our call to ministry in sharing that gospel message unites every Christian church across denominational divides.”
Major Platt was born and reared in Charleston, SC. As a child, he participated in the Salvation Army Adventure Corps Program and attended summer camp every year. After graduating from high school, he immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving two tours of duty as an infantryman in the 10th Mountain Division.
Later, he earned a doctoral degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. Following an honorable discharge from the army, he met and married his wife, Everette, who is also a Salvation Army major and Ph.D like her husband.
Together, they accepted the call to ministry in 2002, and were commissioned as Salvation Army oﬃcers in 2004. After holding corps and headquarters appointments in Atlanta, Savannah GA, Tampa FL, and the School for Oﬃcer Training, they were appointed as Memphis Area Commanders in June of 2019.
The Platts consider their marriage, parenting their three children — Medina, Joshuah, and Zion — along with their calling as oﬃcers in The Salvation Army their most sacred and important commitments.
Pastors and other church leaders are invited to learn more about the Salvation Army in Memphis and opportunities to fellowship and partner with the Christian organization.
(For more information on locations and ministry outreach, go to the website: salvationarmymemphis.org., or call the office at 901-729-8007.