10 May 2023

Commissioner Miriam Gluyas (Territorial Commander of the Australia Territory) reflects on her experiences of leadership within the global Church, the importance of working with others and wrestling for God's best. Her writing was originally shared as part of the Women's Ministries digital exhibition, 'The waters are rising, but so am I', which recognises the strength, resilience and determination of Salvation Army women through 33 photographs and testimonies:

An African lady, at a corps where I served in Australia, once asked me a key question. She said, ‘I am not trying to be difficult, but why in Australia would you need God?’

‘In my country, if I need my child healed, I call on God,’ she continued. ‘If I need food, I call on God. If I need a house to live in, I call on God. I come to your country, and if I need my child healed, I go to the doctor. If I need food, I go to The Salvation Army, and if I need a house to live in, I go to the Housing Commission. Why do you need Him?’

That is such an important question and I have thought about it often. Having served in the developing nation of Papua New Guinea, and now being back in Australia, I see the stark contrast. My friends in Papua New Guinea know that they need God. In Australia, and many Western nations, we live in a post-Christian, post-modern and post-covid world. Most people make the choice of living without God. 

The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over.’

We also live in a world where things are no longer black and white. There are so many grey areas. There are moral, ethical and theological dilemmas and debate. People take sides quickly. Keyboard warriors are rife. Now, there’s a challenge for any leader!

These are the days to admit that we don’t have the answers, to go into rooms and say, ‘None of us have the answers to some of these issues, but let’s seek God and say, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”’ We wrestle to find God’s best.

Leadership is not easy. The world is very different to even 20 years ago. I signed up to see the world won for Jesus and I am very focused on seeing that happen. It’s an amazing journey, and there are painful and disappointing days. The right people taking that journey with you are key. Eyes high. God’s got it. ‘I’m going over.’

Same Jesus, same gospel, different days.

These are exciting and urgent days! These things are key: living like and for Jesus, partnering up, spiritual renewal and disciples who make disciples who make disciples. New ways of doing church, of being church, are part of the new green shoots. I have great faith and high hope. I have seen God do miracles. I believe in fasting and praying, and spiritual renewal. I feel very called to see God at work in the West in remarkable ways. Big God. Big Gospel, and so many green shoots.

Catherine Booth also said, ‘There is no improving the future, without disturbing the present.’ In the Western world, it’s time for some disturbing, with some new ways of doing things, that help people to find real community, seeing people of God living like Him and for Him, and believing that many will find Him.

I have a mentor and a coach, and I mentor some women who are ‘iron sharpens iron’ to me too. I am surrounded by prayer warriors. If someone tells me something can’t be done, and I believe it’s a God thing, then I will do my best to see it become a reality. That often means getting a team of people around me who are passionate about the issue and seeing it come to be.

I am blessed with family, friends, and lots of children in my life. I am empowered by life-giving people. I live close to Jesus and love time with Him. I am not afraid of obstacles. When the Spirit of God speaks, I want to be obedient, and whatever He says to me, I want to do.

Tags: WM News, WM Resources, Women's Ministries