Yesterday (Friday 29.06.12) I hopped on train from London Paddington to Taunton for the National Street Pastors Training Conference. I headed straight for the evening meal at Taunton Rugby Club that was more like a banquet!! I immediately got chatting to Coordinators from Tiverton and another couple coordinating the work in Bishops Stortford. It was clear that everybody was at a different stage in their street pastoring ministry. In Plymouth I found out they had 80 plus Street Pastors, with 20 teams patrolling 5 times a week, where as some were still beginning with just one team. What was impressive about the whole thing was the amount of volunteers engaged in the work. Time and time again as I chatted to other Coordinators in coffee breaks and over food, one clear pattern seemed to emerge. This is a grass roots ministry where the success of it has depended on the initiative being taken by volunteers. This isn’t a ministry with a Charismatic head defining and dictating the way people should go. It is a movement people, from all denominational backgrounds and walks of life being led by God’s Spirit. Powerful!
This morning (Saturday) I was feeling a little tired, with an eye infection that was making it hard for me to keep my right eye open for long! In spite of this I was encouraged by an exhortation from the front by a Street Pastor. He shared 3 things for coordinators to get hold of:
1. Always maintain your vision. Don’t allow discouragement to creep in and remember why you came into this ministry and what attracted us to it.
2. Learn to play to your strengths. Don’t waste time trying to improve your weaknesses, rather focus on your strengths. Invest in other people with different gifts to fill in the holes that you will undoubtedly leave.
3. Don’t be afraid to reorganise.
If the ministry is to grow then you have to be prepared to make changes.
These points could apply to anyone involved in the Street Pastor ministry. It was a focused 2 days but well worth the time for meeting and chatting with others with similar hopes and challenges. It was also encouraging to see that we, as a Wandsworth Team, are part of something that God is doing on a larger scale in our country at this time. The Street Pastor Ministry is a modern day missionary movement, reaching out to society and bringing the church together. It’s exciting to be part of it! Check out a few pics from the conference in the photo gallery.