(Here how God called me to the work I’ve done with Street Pastors)…
I was sat with Bishop David, the Bishop of Salisbury, in his study, feeling like a 14 year old who left his homework on the bus. I’d just finished theological college and was about to start my curacy (or serve my title as its technically called!).
“I’d like you to do some work with clubbers” he said -I wondered for a second why posh people always speak through their noses!
…work with clubbers in Salisbury? -I didn’t know Salisbury even had a nightlife (let’s face it Salisbury is hardly Ibiza!)
Anyway, I started work at Bemerton (a tough estate on the edge of the city).
To be honest my boss couldn’t have been less keen if he tried!
So, I didn’t do much about it.
Then one day I was at Alpha at the posh Church in town (if you’re the poshest Church in Salisbury that is saying something!). They had Joel Edwards talking.
As he spoke I looked around and wondered if anyone in this packed room was actually not already saved?!
I wondered how much evangelism we do actually is simply talking to our Churches. Great gospel sermons preached to the already converted. Activism that just makes us feel like at least we are doing something even if it’s not actually achieving anything very much.
Maybe I’d just become a grumpy and twisted cynic.
So many thoughts. It had been a long week, maybe I just needed sleep.
It was a Friday night when I got in and I had a beer and put on the Jonathan Ross show and attempted to chill out.
Yet suddenly I got this God nudge about going down into the city and having a look around.
…But I’m knackered and can’t be bothered.
I tried turning up the volume on the Telly and tried to put the thought out of my mind (being the ‘good’ Christian that I am).
Eventually the nudging got so much that with a grumpy reluctance I grabbed my coat and headed off for the city centre.
As I headed down the Wilton Road into the city, I wandered past three girls, the middle one was so drunk her two friends were trying (fairly unsuccessfully) to carry/guide her home. As I looked closer they weren’t young women, but school kids, probably no more than 15. Now as a dad, I see girls like this and
I worry realising just how vulnerable they are.
I walked past the kebab shop, there were some lads outside hanging about and the air felt tense, they were itching for a fight, their short-hair suggested that they might be squaddies, I crossed the road and walked past at a pace not wanting any trouble.
I walked past the Abbey National bank, and saw a lady huddled in the doorway wrapped in a filthy curtain, not even a blanket.
A few minutes later I heard some girl screaming at her boyfriend, and saw a girl crying in a doorway.
I then noticed that every Church in Salisbury was shut up and in darkness.
The Cathedral even went one better and had great big gates to shut the world (and its problems)!
The leading Nightclub ‘The Chapel’ is in a redundant Church. What message does this send out to the community? Not one of the Church and Jesus being relevant for the 21st Century.
Just then the rain started the fall, but something burned within me.
I had often been out clubbing, but somehow I saw this ‘world’ differently tonight, almost as though it was the first time but this time I was seeing this with the eyes of God.
As I thought and prayed about this, I asked God “what can I do?” -The problems seemed so big and I felt so powerless.
I felt God say simply “The only thing you can’t do is nothing”.