Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pastoral Letter from Commissioner Miriam Gluyas





I am writing to you today with great hope. We have a big Gospel. We have a big God.

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In these days, our focus will be: “Hope revealed ... Jesus-centred ... Spirit-led.”

Jesus is our hope. Hope at Christmas, at Easter, on the cross, at the resurrection, in the ascension, speaking on our behalf to the Father, sending the Holy Spirit who is in us, for us, working through us. Hope, every day, because of him. And how we need him!

And so, we begin the next chapter of our story. Let’s write a good one.

We must stay focused in these days. They are both urgent and exciting, and there are so many signs of new growth.

Many things will be important as we write this story:

  • Keeping Jesus at the centre and being led by the Spirit
  • A Jesus culture, living like him and for him
  • Speaking words of life, building up, not tearing down
  • Working together, partnering to bring the best in every area that we are part of
  • Raising up leaders
  • Every Salvo/Salvationist on mission. Gather – 1 worship service, Grow – 1 discipleship group, Go – 1 ministry
  • Seeing our Army thrive again with children, youth and young adults
  • Our creatives producing new works
  • Welcoming all people. Treating everyone with love and respect
  • A culture of honour
  • Prayer
  • Really depending on God. “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you”
  • Discipleship
  • New ways of doing corps and working together in areas to bring the very best

I left ‘corps’ until last as I wanted to focus there for a moment. A strong Army has strong corps, strong churches and strong faith expressions. COVID has taught us a lot and, in a sense, forced us to think differently. We are the Church. We don’t ‘do’ church; we are ‘the’ Church, the body of Christ.

And so, we look at new ways of being the Church. We gather to worship, we come together to focus on the Word and grow as disciples, and then we go into a world that desperately needs Jesus. (We need strong disciples who understand evangelism and apologetics in these days).

Some of you are part of healthy, thriving churches focused on discipleship and sending your people. Some of you are part of organic churches, communities of hope and organic faith expressions. Others are sitting at tables and sharing about life and faith and what you can do on mission together. Healthy churches have people engaged in discipleship groups.

And we are at our best when we partner with others, share our resources, lead as teams and trust our great God. It’s happening already, and it will happen more and more. This will be a key focus in these days.

We also need many godly leaders. They will come out of these places. Can I encourage you to be asking God who in your faith expression will rise up to become the next leader? We pray and believe. It might be you.

I am blessed with amazing prayer warriors! I want to encourage our Army to be a people on its knees (first) and then rise up and go forward into a world that desperately needs Jesus.

Some say that our mission statement is aspirational. I believe that it will become a reality: Wherever there is hardship or injustice, Salvos will live, love and fight, alongside others, to transform Australia one life at a time with the love of Jesus.

We need our hope to be secure in him. We need faith to rise.

I love this translation of Hebrews 12:1-3 from The Message: “Do you see what this means –all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” 

Let’s now write this new story together.

Grateful to you and for you.

Bless you,

Commissioner Miriam Gluyas

Territorial Leader

The Salvation Army Australia Territory

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