Faces of the Army: Captain Michael Good
Divisional Youth Secretary, The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division
Captain Michael Good has been a Salvation Army officer for eight years, but he has been part of the Army his entire life. His relationship with the church started even before his birth when his parents met through The Salvation Army. Captain Good’s father was what you’d call a third-generation Salvationist; his parents and grandparents were involved with The Salvation Army. His mother grew up in a low-income household, and The Salvation Army frequently visited her neighborhood to take children to attend enrichment programs. She attended Vocational Bible School one year to win a prized camera and became more involved with the Army. Now, Captain Good’s entire family is involved with The Salvation Army; his grandfather joining the Army shortly after his birth.
“Salvation Army Officership was the perfect match for what the Lord has called me to do.”
Growing up in a poverty-stricken community, Captain Good witnessed many of his family member’s drug and alcohol addictions firsthand.
“It was volatile. When my family all started going to The Salvation Army for assistance, my grandfather got saved, followed by my aunts and uncles. Being salvationists is sort of our legacy,” Captain Good shared.
Captain Good felt the call of ministry early in life. He hadn’t planned to become an officer, but he knew everything within himself would be excellent in Salvation Army officership after learning more about the organization.
“I felt the Lord calling me for something greater than me. I didn’t feel like I deserved greater, but I felt like I was called to do something more than who I was. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be present in people’s lives, helping them,” Captain Good recalled.
After becoming officers, his parents would often bring people off the streets into their home and provide clean laundry to underprivileged community members.
“I remember my parents doing home visitations to crack houses. I remember feeling drawn to help that very demographic; People the average person would shy away from. Because I was familiar with people suffering from drug addiction due to my family history, I was drawn to help others who were suffering. Salvation Army Officership was the perfect match for what the Lord has called me to do,” Captain Good shared.
Youth Ministries and Camp Life
Like his parents, Captain Good and his wife, Captain Malaika Good, met through The Salvation Army. They were both middle schoolers at summer camp.
Their first appointment was in Washington DC. It was a tough, inner-city appointment in an area with a long history of racial injustice.
Captain Good grew up in an inner-city neighborhood in Virginia, so adjusting to this appointment wasn’t hard for him, but his wife grew up in the suburbs, so their new lifestyle was a more significant adjustment for her. After getting to know their neighbors and observing the community’s struggles, Captains Good quickly realized that their ministry was broken families. They wanted to minister to the entire family: single mothers, fathers falling away from their families, or grandparents raising children.
“Our ministry exploded. It wasn’t us. It was the Lord. We practiced what we call in the church, incarnational living, living as Jesus would within the community you serve. That’s where we lived, that’s where we ate, that’s where we shopped, those are the people we hung out with. That was what we practiced while it DC. We didn’t go to the nice part of town to shop or to catch a movie. We consumed in the community we served. We moved to Hampton, Virginia, and did the same thing. We had a successful after-school program and a summer program, so it makes sense that we are the Divisional Youth Secretaries. At the time, we thought we were just doing ministry. We didn’t really put a title on it.
There’s not one part of my job that I don’t like. My ministry is ‘fun’. Camp falls into that. Both my wife and I got saved at camp. We met at camp. We got married at camp. Camp is part of our DNA. I’ve been going to camp since I was six years old.
“Camp is a special place for us because we know the kids can escape the abuse and trauma of everyday living, and they can just be kids. It opens up an experience. This is what life is. Jesus came to give us life and life to the fullest. It hopefully opens up an introduction to Jesus. We do all of this for Jesus and for the kids to meet Jesus,” Captain Good shared.
Captain Good explains that The Salvation Army officer’s uniform is an outward sign of an inward change. Officership is not just a job; it is a lifestyle and a calling.
“Daily, we wake up to fight sin. There’s a war going on to save people’s souls. Who we are is in the title. We’re the Salvation Army. Our goal is to bring as many people to Jesus as we can,” Captain Good stated. “As an officer, it’s easy to fall into and be overwhelmed by all that is needed. At my last appointment, we used to say that if I help 600 people with their utilities today, there will be 600 more tomorrow. It’s easy to be burdened by needs and forget the reasoning behind them. We meet physical needs so that people can come to see that there is also a spiritual need: Jesus.
“As an officer, the first thing to remember is that you are not God. You can be a vessel of His use, but you are not Him. You can’t do more than what God allows you to do. Don’t fall into the temptation of trying to fix everyone’s problems. Remember, the purpose of us doing this is to save souls. When you lose sight of that, and you’re just feeding and paying electric bills, as great as that is, we still need to remember the purpose. The scripture says, “What good is it to feed the body if the soul’s dying?”
A Global Pandemic
Each summer, with the help of donors in the community, The Salvation Army sends kids to our summer camp near Lexington, Mississippi. The Salvation Army’s 300 acre Camp Hidden Lake helps disadvantaged boys and girls in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi open their eyes to a whole new world. Summer camp is much more than a vacation for these kids. Camp Hidden Lake teaches new skills, healthy attitudes, and high values. The annual camping trip was canceled last year due to the coronavirus, but Captains Good didn’t let that stop them from creating a unique experience for youth members, ranging from 0-35-years-old.
“I’m not the type of person who can sit back and wait, so we have taken the cards that have been dealt us and found new ways to reach our youth members. There’s a massive difference between an 18-year-old young adult and a 35-year-old young adult, so we have been innovative amid the pandemic. We couldn’t go a year without ministry because we would have risked losing touch with an entire generation of people. Our role is to engage our members, equip our leaders, and provide resources to our officers to continue serving our youth in their communities.
One thing the public should know about TSA:
“When people think of The Salvation Army, my prayer is that they think of Jesus. It’s so easy for us to fall into this or that; social services or the church. Those things go hand in hand. When you look at Jesus, when he preached and taught, he would often feed. When he would teach a lesson, he’d often heal. He did service at the same time as loving. We want to be like Jesus. To serve like Jesus, to love like Jesus. 150 years ago, that was how we got started; To find the least, the last, and the lost and to love them into the kingdom of God however we have to. I hope people think about Jesus when they think about us,” Captain Good shared.
For more information on Captain Michael Good and The Salvation Army’s Youth Programs visit https://salvationarmyalm.org/youth/.