Interview with Captain Peter Brookshaw
Captain Peter Brookshaw is a magnetic
Australia Southern officer.
Among other things… “how do you not only mobilize the
army, but mobilize it, so that in fact you witness global
Who are you?
This is where I tell you about my
upbringing. Let me keep it short for you. I grew up in the
western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia (born 1982) and had an
Anglican church background in my Sunday school years. Funnily
enough an Anglican priest used to punch me in the arm and say,
'You're going to be a minister one day!'
I was privileged to be top of my class when
finishing school and then went on and completed a Bachelor of
Business. I married the amazing Jo Brookshaw in December 2004,
and we became officers in The Salvation Army with the
Witnesses for Christ session (2007-2008). Since then we've
spent four years up in the northern parts of Australia
(Palmerston Corps), and now are leading an awesome church
(Craigieburn Corps) in the northern suburbs of Melbourne,
Victoria, Australia. We have three little gorgeous children;
Shekinah (6), Elijah (3), Hosanna (15 months).
JAC: Tell us about your salvation and
When I was 18, I met a girl. I liked the
girl. The girl knew Jesus. I followed the girl. I met Jesus. I
followed Jesus. The girl and the boy became a couple. The boy
and girl grew up and got married. That's the short version of
the story. Something amazing happened within me during the
course of the year 2000. Every second week I was bawling my
eyes out at the mercy seat. Jesus had come into my life and a
new journey had begun. It was now all for God.
The next couple of years, I continued to
desire to know God better. Every night I laid down in bed and
lifted my hands to the sky. Every night, I did this. I
remember an internal holy discontent inside of me, that what I
was reading about in the book of Acts, was not happening in my
life. Literally, every night, I lifted my hands and prayed to
receive the same Holy Ghost power that ignited a dynamic
ministry amongst the first apostles. Well, one night, the Holy
Spirit fell upon me and my hands tingled and I knew God was
very close. The baptism of the Holy Spirit went from some
antiquated 20th century phrase, to a real, powerful,
I still pray regularly that the Holy Spirit
would come upon me, and do two things: Sanctify my life and
empower me for ministry. I want the kind of character that is
a good representation of who Jesus is. I want the kind of
power that is a good representation of what Jesus can do.
What is your mission/calling?
It was April 25th, 2013, and as I was
driving along the road in the Corps 12-seater bus when I felt
words from left-field hit me. The words were: "I want you to
mobilize an army to transform the world." Wow! What a word
I have thought about this lots in recent
days. What does it mean to mobilize? I know, by definition, to
mobilize is to get people ready for war, but how do you do
that? How do mobilize the 'army'? Lastly, how do you not only
mobilize the army, but mobilize it, so that in fact you
witness global transformation?
Personally, this is my life's calling. I
haven't got many of the answers. I'm learning some along the
How does the Army support your war fighting?
The Salvation Army have blessed me beyond
what I can begin to appropriately express. In a sense, I have
all the practical aspects of life taken care of, and I can
focus on what matters. I continue to be blessed with
opportunities to engage in leadership development and
theological study that the Army invest financially in, so as
to personally equip me as a follower of Jesus in a 21st
How do you influence people?
Big question. I am excited in my own journey
of ministry, to have had opportunity of late, to be
consistently and intentionally encouraging 'the next
generation'. That is beginning to evolve for me, as God is
taking me to a place of being able to coach and support others
in ministry. I have a lot to learn, but that which I have
learnt, I want to pass on to others.
The last couple of years I have began to
realise God gave me a sense of humour, and that can be an
amazing weapon in the toolkit, for building relationships,
engaging people in preaching and breaking awkward moments
(like that time my mother-in-law...... nevermind).
I have been blogging since 2006, and I'd
hope to think some are being encouraged by that!
Who influences you?
I have had amazing mentors over the years;
corps officers, divisional staff and other denominational
leaders who always seem to speak a word in season. I have a
couple of mentors at the moment; one who is speaking into my
life on a personal level and how that plays out in ministry,
and also a coach who is helping me to ask the right questions
about our Corps' mission and strategic direction. See, I need
people who remind me of God's perspective about me. That's not
being egocentric, that's saying, that in the midst of the
challenges of ministry, family life, administrative
expectations, pastoral concerns, financial pressures and the
like, I personally need people who affirm the call of God upon
my own life and who speak encouragement into the ministry
I'm trying to read lots of books. I'm a slow
reader. I am attempting to read a few different books this
year (along with the Boundless material for getting through
the NT), from each of the following topics:
- Salvation Army
Let me suggest one book from each of these
topics that are worth grappling with.
'The Forgotten Ways' - Alan Hirsch. A book that speaks of
organic multiplication of discipleship, and of creating
movements (not institutions). It places Jesus squarely at the
Salvation Army -
I read recently, 'Inside a High Council' by General John
Larsson (Rtd). Interesting. Towards the end of the book he
gives snippets of the nominated Commissioners (who
subsequently became Generals) and what they communicated to
the High Council about their vision for The Salvation Army.
Inspiring stuff indeed!
- Call me crazy, but I have read quite a few snippets from the
Word Biblical Commentary on the gospel writers, primarily
Donald Hagner on Matthew's Gospel.
'Good to Great' stands out for me. Jim Collins and his team
offer some great insights into leading great organisations. It
speaks of creating clarity around what you are seeking to
achieve and to work towards that with tenacity and focus. In
the early days John C. Maxwell built a foundation for me on
which to build from.
What are your dreams for the next several years?
I want to lead a Corps that significantly
impacts the surrounding community, where we witness the
transformative power of the gospel at work in the lives of
Personally, I see the character and
competence of more seasoned Salvation Army Officers, and I
have an internal passion to reflect the kind of life they
live. I hope in the next few years and beyond, I can learn
from such officers, through their example, their preaching,
their compassion, their servanthood, their missional-living,
their humility and their leadership capacity. I want to grow
to a point where I am investing continually into the lives of
those of the next generation.
What are the keys to successful warfare on your front and the
larger salvation war?
We have to learn to pray. Let me be
controversial for a little bit. I'm sick and tired of sitting
around in prayer meetings, with little passion, little faith
and next to no expectation that God is going to hear our
prayers. Go home if you don't want to really pray. Let's
understand that we are speaking with the God of the universe,
that loves us so much, that if we ask for a loaf of bread, God
is not going to give us a washing machine. We will be more
effective as a Salvation Army, when we stop playing prayer
games, and get serious about Jesus and how he wants to use us
in changing the world. To pray and to not expect an answer, is
to fail to grasp the nature of who God is.
We’re working hard locally, to have local
churches praying with each other and supporting each other in
ministry. We’re trying to keep the main thing, the main thing,
and stopping talks about how many rolls of toilet paper keep
the toilets well stocked, in leadership meetings. We’re
constantly inviting people to participate in the life of our
Corps, through volunteerism, and ultimately to a relationship
with Jesus. We have a long way to go, but the seeds are being
How do you cultivate your relationship with God?
However I can! I find myself taking short
moments in the day, to pray. I spend longer times of prayer at
night, and lately it has been standing out in the backyard,
looking out to the stars and praying for spiritual
breakthrough in my local community. I seek to hear from God.
Sometimes, all I hear is my tummy rumbling, but other times I
hear a scripture reference in my spirit, and it will be
pertinent to my current situation. One day, I am convinced
Jesus is going to stand next to me face-to-face and give me a
word of encouragement. I've been reading through the
Scriptures and seeking to hear God speak through his word. At
the moment, I'm thinking a lot about entering the rest of God
(Hebrew 4), and what they means on a day-to-day basis in
What are some of the dangers we have to face in the coming
years? (And how?)
We always face the danger of becoming just
another social welfare organisation that has thrown its
religious ideologies out with the bath water. We must stay
focused on Jesus. Apart from him, we can do nothing.
We face the challenge of staying true to the
fundamentals of Salvationism, while adapting our methodologies
to impact a rapidly changing 21st century context. We can be
at the forefront of innovation in our community.
We face the dangers of spending our days
fundraising in order to keep our buildings and centres open,
in order that we have a place in which we can fundraise to
keep our buildings open. The Salvation Army will (and has for
many years), had to grapple with finding the funds to fund
what it does. I believe this pressure will continue to mount
and we will need to rely on 'faith' a little more in the
process, while being good stewards of what we have.
We have theological issues related to our
day, that The Salvation Army will need to collectively wrestle
Lastly, we have the danger of retreating
when opposition comes. We must be innovative and creative. We
must be evangelical in approach. We must be filled with the
Holy Spirit. We cannot retreat when societal pressure is
heaped upon us, or when the media rip us to shreds, or we lose
a governmental grant. Let's be risk-takers. Let's stay full of
faith and continue to grow and move forward.
What final exhortations have you for this audience?
I believe with all my heart that the best
days are still ahead for The Salvation Army. So, stay focused
on what matters. Old Salvation Army Corps buildings have
historical value but won't necessarily transform the world
today. Your fancy, contemporary band with your synthesiser is
a means to an end. If something better comes along, move with
it. Brass bands that have lost their missional-edge, should be
banned. We need to get back to what matters. In the book of
Mark, the gospel writer wants his listeners to hear what Jesus
was on about. He came into Galilee saying, 'The Kingdom of God
has come near. Repent and believe the good news.' Let's make
the values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the
world, the standard for our lives.
Facebook Page: facebook.com/petebrookshaw