The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 as an evangelical movement. When William Booth held Christian services in London, he preached messages of hope and salvation to congregations that were utterly destitute. Among those listening were thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards. Thus, he desired to lead these people to Christ by providing for their physical as well as spiritual needs.
Those who converted to Christianity under William Booth’s teaching became known as Salvationists. Between 1881 and 1885, some 250,000 people were converted through his ministry. Programs evolved to meet changing needs but remained focused on “Sharing God’s love by serving others” and continue to meet critical needs at the point of need. The Salvation Army ministry now serves in virtually every corner of the world.
The Salvation Army was also in the forefront of encouraging women to take a place of prominence in ministry. The first female general was William Booth’s daughter, Evangeline Booth, serving from 1934 to 1939.
The Salvation Army’s mission has remained the same since the day it began – to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.