Having become an officer from Upper Norwood Corps in 1957, Commissioner John Larsson spent 23 years in various appointments in the United Kingdom - as corps officer, in training work, as territorial youth secretary in Scotland and then as national youth secretary, British Territory.
Commissioner Freda Larsson (née Turner) became an officer from Kingston-on-Thames in 1965 and served as a corps officer, area youth officer and area secretary before her marriage in 1969, and afterwards as corps officer, territorial guide organiser in Scotland, and assistant in the Youth Department at National Headquarters.
In 1980, Commissioner John Larsson became the chief secretary of the South America West Territory, and Commissioner Freda Larsson the territorial home league secretary. They returned to England in 1984, with Commissioner John Larsson taking an appointment as principal of the International Training College and Commissioner Freda Larsson serving as college librarian.
From July 1988 until November 1990, Commissioner John Larsson was Assistant to the Chief of the Staff for United Kingdom administrative planning, and Commissioner Freda Larsson was coordinator for married women officers at International Headquarters. Commissioner John Larsson was then appointed territorial commander of the United Kingdom Territory and Commissioner Freda Larsson territorial president of women's organisations. The commissioners served in similar capacities in the New Zealand and Fiji Territory from 1993 to 1996, and in the Sweden and Latvia Territory from 1996 to 1999.
On 1 August 1999, Commissioner John Larsson was appointed Chief of the Staff at International Headquarters, and Commissioner Freda Larsson was appointed World Secretary for Women's Ministries and World President of SA Scouts, Guides and Guards, International Headquarters.
On 6 September 2002, Commissioner John Larsson was elected as successor to General John Gowans, who retired from active service at midnight on Tuesday 12 November 2002.
The 2002 High Council was the largest in the history of The Salvation Army, and included 87 members - 49 men and 38 women - who direct the work of The Salvation Army around the world. Following the counting of the ballots, it was announced by the President that Commissioner John Larsson had received over two thirds of the vote and was thereby duly elected as the 17th General of The Salvation Army.
Personal and organisation congratulations were then extended to the General-elect and his wife, Commissioner Freda Larsson, and the necessary legal documents were signed confirming and authenticating the election. The General-elect was then invited to address the Council.
Commissioner Larsson spoke of the awesomeness of the responsibility to follow in a line of succession of such distinguished Generals. He pledged not to attempt to imitate any of them, but to be the unique person and leader God had called him to be. He concluded with a reference to his grandfather, Commissioner Karl Larsson, who took as his motto, 'Work, for the night is coming.' 'I want to dedicate every day, every hour, every power,' said the General-elect, 'to advance the Lord's work through the Army.'
Larsson retired as General in 2006.