Charity Shop Alt. Worship

Alternative worship service at a Salvation Army Charity shop. Now thats a good idea. I am at the Cell Church UK conference in Harpenden right now. Nice people, including my partner in crime Richard White and some Norwegians that heard me speak in Copenhagen last year. We are meeting at the YWAM base.

Anyway, this Scottish chap named Captain David Robertson was sharing about the various cell church ministries of the Salvation Army and he described an “alt. worship” service each Wednesday morning at one of their charity shops. I asked the question about what they did – and the obvious question . . . did they all dress up in vintage clothing from the shelves? Well apparently there is no costuming at all and in fact the service is quite traditional – a talk, some sharing and prayer at the end.

But it got me thinking what i would do if i hosted an emerging church alt. worship event at a thrift shop. It could be a blast! I would totally use FOUND OBJECTS from the store itself. Teaching would be from the Bibles already on the shelf and any illustrations would be taken from books on the shelf. Costuming would be encouraged and perhaps an award (voucher) given to those with the thriftiest and yet funkiest outfit. Drinks would be poured out of found jars and jugs into found cups and mugs from the shelves. Children might want to play some found games. Everything is found in the shop. Nothing is imported in. An offering could be taken {in an old hat, of course) for Salvation Army and a blog post with all the details of the service uploaded to a blog so that others might catch the vision to start one up in their local Salvation Army charity store. Maybe its a really lame idea. But it might be trying.

Speaking of Salvation Army, Strawberry Fields in Liverpool where John Lennon used to play as a child, was recently sold by Salvation Army. It was also used recently as a 24/7 boiler room.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Johnny Laird says:

    Good to see some Sally references on the TSK blog!
    As far as I know Strawberry Field is still going strong, and is still owned by The Salvation Army.

  • tk says:

    so let’s do it. i’m up for a little installation in a charity shop!

  • steve says:

    if you want to see dress up church, check out this vblog – people dressign up as shrek characters for church –

  • Thanks for this Andrew…
    Bellshill are opening a SA Charity Shop later this month and I have already persuaded my officer (really easy – bought him a coffee) to allow us to host Alpha / A life worth living on the premises… followed by a form of house group / bible study thing.
    Our vision is to use the shop as a third place venue… although we need to see how it will shape up.
    Would love to use it as a social / gallery space. We’ll see how it progresses.
    Keep you posted… any preferences for togs? I’ll see if they can put some stuff by for you.
    Thomas aka Headphonaught

  • Chris says:

    Andrew: there’s a small Salvation Army charity shop in Kirkwall. Can’t remember the name of the place it’s in, but it’s towards the harbour-end of the high street in a warehouse. Might be worth dropping in 🙂

  • andrew says:

    yeah – i know them. great people!

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