1) Don't Pray
Samuel Chadwick once said, “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” The most important thing you can do to kill your corps is make sure everyone works really hard in their own strength until they're burnt out. That way, they'll either leave or become so bitter and angry they'll tear each other apart. A lot of corps have stopped at this step and had great success at quickly falling into obscurity.
2) Don't Plan
You're good at figuring out what to do as you go along. Who's got time to sit around being still and waiting on the Lord? You've got errands and programs and stuff. And TV! You do have a lot of TV to catch up on. After all, like Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” So if you're trying to kill a corps, make sure to coast as much as you can. Sure, you can flip through the lesson plan right before Sunday school, or throw your sermon together at the last minute. Why not pick out the songs while everyone is filtering in? Just keep coasting. If you really gave the Lord your best effort, he'd probably bless it and you'd be back to square one!
3) Don't Change
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Your corps has been in steady decline for a few decades now, so you must be doing something right. Along with not planning or visioning, neglecting an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses will keep you on track to imminent demise. Evaluating the efficacy of your work might lead you to try new things, or invest resources differently, in reaching people for Christ in your community. Keep your head in the sand and you'll do fine.
4) Don't Get Your Hands (or Uniform) Dirty
You know how Jesus disrobed, wearing the garment of a slave, when he washed the disciples' feet? That's how the uniform is meant to be worn, with genuine humility. But while others might have been “saved to save,” or “saved to serve,” you were saved to swagger! If you can make the uniform a symbol of status, position or membership, no one will work that hard to join your weird club. So wear it with pride—in yourself, that is. But wear it only when it benefits you, and make sure you don't get it dirty or ragged while working in your community (unless they're handing out trophies or something).
Jonathan Taube works and worships with The Salvation Army in the U.S.A. Central Territory's youth department and as a soldier at Des Plaines Corps in Illinois. God has grown a deep passion in his heart for discipleship, world missions and incarnational expressions of the Gospel. Taube is also a big fan of the Chicago Cubs. Read his blog posts at centralyouthnetwork.com/author/jtaube.