Colonels Jim and Sue Betts Go National

by Colonel Richard Munn

As the Betts follow their calling to National Headquarters, they reflect on their service at USA East Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command and always seeking God’s will in their journey.

On Jan. 1 of this year, Colonels Jim and Sue Betts farewelled from The Salvation Army’s USA Eastern Territory to begin a new season of service at National Headquarters (NHQ) in Alexandria, Va. This is a significant shift of responsibility and a recognition of their clear capabilities and giftedness. Jim and Sue have served this territory with distinction, and the national gain is our loss.

Their new roles require precision, acumen, and corporate savvy. The often unseen demands of this kind of executive leadership are very real and can have national implications for The Salvation Army’s movement. Holding this fort enables our front lines to operate with greater freedom and impact.

SAconnects had the chance to catch up with the Betts before their USA East departure to give you, our readers, the story behind the story.

How long have you been commissioned officers and where have you served in that time?

We have served as Salvation Army officers for nearly 28 years—in Ohio, New York, and New Jersey, variously as corps officers and area commanders, divisional and territorial youth leaders, divisional leaders, and Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command leaders.

Your recent service leading the USA East Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command is a significant and unique responsibility. How has that impacted you?

We have always been aware of the incredible ministry of the ARC Command, but it wasn’t until we became a part of it that we began to understand its depth and full beauty. Each year, the courageous and indefatigable officers of the ARC walk alongside thousands of people experiencing brokenness to help them, through the power of the love of Christ, discover deep and lasting transformation in their lives. Some come with addictions, others with various forms of despair from all that life has thrown at them. We have witnessed lives saved, families reunited, and hope restored. It has been unlike anything we have witnessed in our lives.

Your move to NHQ now expands your field of responsibility to four USA territories. What are your roles in that vast catchment area?

Jim has been appointed as the national chief secretary, and Sue has been appointed as the national secretary for personnel.

You will be working closely with the Commissioners Conference and the USA National Advisory Board; can you help explain the difference between these two significant bodies for our SAconnects Good News readers?

The most helpful distinction would be to see that the National Advisory Board is made up of volunteer leaders who come from outside the ranks of The Salvation Army, while the Commissioners Conference is made up of senior leaders from within the organization.

We recently came across a beautiful description of the National Advisory Board, which stated: “Distinguished members of The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board are notable community leaders who voluntarily use their professional skills and knowledge to plan, advise, and generally assist The Salvation Army on issues of national significance.”

The Commissioners Conference serves to bring the leaders of the four USA territories and National Headquarters together to collaborate and set policy for topics that have national significance. While each territory has a great deal of autonomy to ensure that the local expression of the Army is most effective for their context, there are times when it makes sense for the various territories to agree to work together on some issues that have national impact.

Do you have any concluding words of insight or counsel to our readers?

Sometimes we focus on finding God’s perfect will for our lives. On our journey in Salvation Army officership, we have found ourselves going places and involved in things we could never have imagined. There have even been times when we haven’t fully understood the “why” behind a specific appointment. In each case, God has revealed Himself in new ways, enabled us to encourage others, and blessed us immeasurably. Rather than trying to discern the exact path God has for us, it seems to make better sense to seek Him wherever He allows us to go. Staying close to Him keeps us in the center of His will in all of life’s journeys.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:33

Thank you, Jim and Sue. Our prayer is that this will be a rich and fulfilling season for you both, to the betterment of our Army and the Kingdom of God. You can be sure of this: SAconnects and the USA East will be cheering you on. And we’ll be sure to leave the light on for you.