Watson Identifies Army’s ‘Bottom Line’

LONG BEACH–National Commander Commissioner Robert Watson addresses the Lions Club of Downtown Long Beach on Friday. Seated are president Coy Herring (l) and Long Beach Corps Officer and Lion Major James Hood (r).

“The Salvation Army’s bottom line is represented by the changed lives of human beings through the magnificent work of God’s grace,” stated National Commander Commissioner Robert A. Watson as he spoke before the Long Beach Lions Club during the Great Victory Congress weekend.

Continuing to focus on the primary mission of the Army as more than simply social work, Watson emphasized the necessity for spiritual renewal to provide the lasting change the Army’s social service ministry initiates.

He used the illustration of a woman with multiple addictions who had just completed one of the Army’s addictions rehabilitation programs. “I’ve been through many rehab programs,” Watson quoted the woman, “but this time the program also went through me.” The change, Watson stated, took place from the inside out.

With strong passion, Watson emphasized the mission of the Army is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human need in his name. “We are non-discriminating. We remember the words of Christ to care for the least among us, because in doing so, we have cared for him.”

Watson noted that there is a thought among social scientists today that organizations which help the poor should measure their success by declining statistics–that increasing statistics is evidence of failure. The organization should work its way out of business. This kind of linear thinking completely ignores the non-linear nature of the human condition.

“We do not live in an ideal world where there are no hurts – no homeless –no hunger. We do not live in a world free from physical and social disasters. This worldwide Army, therefore,” Watson said, “accepts Christ’s reality that ‘the poor we will always have with us’–and we will continue helping others in his name. We have daily, up-close contact with the poor, the broken hearted, the captives, the prisoners, those who mourn. A person may be down, but is never out … because God’s Grace is the secret weapon of this Army. We know that God does not give up hope on the seemingly hopeless. Nor will we.”

Watson’s invitation to speak at the Lions Club was facilitated by its president, Coy Herring, and by Long Beach corps officer Major James Hood, a club member.

Watson participated in meetings extensively throughout the weekend and also addressed the close to two thousand adherents at the Saturday breakfast. He was accompanied by Commissioner Alice Watson, national president of women’s organizations.

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