“Irregulars” of The Alliance
Since the beginning God has used both professionals and Irregulars to bring hope to the nations. The Alliance, too, has called for both professionals and lay men and women to advance the gospel. In 1897 A. B. Simpson reminded the early Alliance family, “God has always done a great deal of His work out of season as well as in season, irregularly as well as regularly . . . We claim to be raising up a band of irregular soldiers for the vast unoccupied fields to supplement the armies of the Lord in the regions they cannot reach and work they cannot overtake.” Irregulars stand both in solidarity with and support of those who have been vocationally called to professional ministry.
This phrase “Irregulars” would crop up again and again in early Alliance language. In an 1899 editorial we find the word referenced. “In the army of the Lord there is a place for the lay missionary and the plain evangelist who has not had the advantage of professional training but who knows men and who knows God and who knows how to touch human hearts . . . God has raised up The Christian and Missionary Alliance and kindred movements to send forth these Irregulars.” Irregulars are those who are, at times, overlooked by some but never missed nor unappreciated by Jesus.
In 1901 Simpson again used the phrase to call forth more men and women to the work of the gospel. “God loves to use men in unconventional ways. The need of the Church today is not a larger number of clergymen, but a larger number of men and women in social, secular, and professional life whose entire influence and talents are at the service of the Master. Not a salaried and dependent priesthood who preach the gospel because it is expected of them merely, but a great body of consecrated irregulars . . . who use their earthly station in the providence of God as a standpoint from which to serve and witness for their heavenly Master and bless their fellow men.” Irregulars are men and women who daily interact within a lost and dying world and who often have greater access to the lost than do the professional clergy.
In 1914 Simpson beautifully described The Alliance as
. . . a movement unique in its polity, worldwide in its scope, lofty in its aims and inspiring in its motives . . . a lay movement utilizing agencies for which otherwise the doors had perhaps been closed, and encouraging the consecrated laymen, the earnest business man, the humble farmer boy, the Spirit-filled maiden whom the Master has called and fitted to follow in the footsteps of the lowly fishermen of Galilee and create a new battalion in the army of the Lord, the volunteers and irregulars of whom we have no cause to be ashamed, and who but for this movement might never accomplish their glorious work.
Irregulars are men and women who recognize that God places everyone in the exact spot He needs them in order to bring the light of the Kingdom into dark places.
The Alliance embraces and champions the idea that alongside a strong group of ministry professionals an army of regular men and women is needed to accomplish the work of the gospel. Or, as one recent Alliance missionary said, “All of Jesus for all the world takes all The Alliance.” To help equip and empower modern day Irregulars, The Alliance has invested in a variety of opportunities for men and women—both within local Alliance churches and globally through Alliance Mission’s four specialized structures.
By Dr. Steve Grusendorf, Director of The Alliance Center for Leadership Development. This article was written for Alliance Life Magazine. The above is an excerpt of the original article entitled MOBILIZING THE “ALLIANCE IRREGULARS”