Global Connection

This issues Global Connection highlights an individual who, instead of being frustrated when feeling disconnected, built a community online that now reaches around The Salvation Army World.

SAWM: So Dan, you have created this Facebook group called Guitar Players of The Salvation Army. What was the impetus behind that?

 

DAN: I spoke to Nik King about having something that was really accessible to everybody and I guess I felt for a long time like there wasn’t anyone else who played guitar in

the Army within the UK. I was the one who did

all of the guitar stuff at my corps and in my

division. I didn’t know anybody else who was

playing. Then I started playing with FourHymn

and I met a few people who played. I started

trying to branch out and find more people who

played. So, basically the idea was that it was

a place that me and my friends could share

ideas and ask each other questions and it just

grew from there. I think they all shared it with

their friends while I was trying to get people

who played guitar that I met to join. I think it has been going for about 18 months now and I think there are 179 people, spread across every continent which is pretty exciting.

 

SAWM: When you started this, it was an easy way for you to communicate with friends who are playing. Did you imagine that it would grow like this?

 

DAN: No, I didn’t think anyone would be interested.

I didn’t think there were that many people out there

playing. But I still meet people and ask them if they

know about the Facebook group and they say no. It’s

been great to be able to share with them that there

is this group they can be a part of. There are still

people I want to connect with and get them involved

in it as well. In the early days, it was definitely very

much just me putting stuff out there and asking

questions. It felt like a bit of a slog for the first few

months.

 

SAMW: So, explain to us the format. You said you

put questions up there, and then what happens in

the group?

 

DAN: In the beginning, I wanted to collect information

about what was happening, just with guitars, but

specifically in contemporary worship music in the

Army in the UK. Because, like I said, I was

disconnected from everything in a wider sense and I

didn’t know what was going on. At the same time, I started joining lots of groups such as worship collective groups in America. I thought to myself that I hadn’t seen anything like this in the UK or in the Army.  I wanted to start something so that people can have a chance to be part of this online shared experience.

It started off with me just asking questions and hoping for responses. There were a few polls that went up, like how often do you play, and topics like that. But now it is a lot more like I wanted it to be with lots of different people contributing. A few months ago, I put up a post on the group page that said in the beginning, I had to approve everything that was posted because I had seen some Facebook groups go sour in the past.

When I saw what people wanted to ask or comment, and the number of times I hit approve, I made the decision to allow people to post, give advice or ask questions. There are a lot of technology things on there that I never would have thought of. People are helping each other out and just being kind to one another which is nice.  

 

SAWM: So, as it goes forward, what would you hope for the group in the future?

DAN: Actually, I don’t have any grand aspirations for it past what it is now. Other than more people being able to join and experience having a community, since that was something I didn’t feel like I had when I started. With more people joining, it just opens up a much larger area that I thought it ever would. I hope it stays positive and functional, and that it doesn’t die out. If it takes a different format from what it is now, that is okay as long as it is helpful to the Army. I often complain to myself that in contemporary music, we are misrepresented or underrepresented. I don’t want that to be the case. I just wanted there to be a community and now there is!

Dan Bate is 24 years old and has been playing guitar for worship in his corps since he was about 10 years old. 

 

He goes to Preston Corps in the North West of England.

He is a member of Meraki a worship team that leads worship at different events across the UKI Territory.

SA Worship magazine is a cooperative project that has contributors from around The Salvation Army World. If you would like more information on how you can contribute, Please write to your local Territorial Worship Representative.

Editor: Simon Gough - Canada And Bermuda Territory 

Music Type Setting: Nik King - United Kingdom and  Republic of Ireland Territory

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