Around 12 years ago in a prayer meeting I first heard a lady (Carole McQueen) share in Church about a desire she had to see Glasgow have it’s own Street Pastors at that moment it was like an Alarm clock went off inside of me. Four years later in 2008 I was part of the original Management Team responsible for setting up and launching Glasgow Street Pastors.
Being on the Management Team and a Team Leader has allowed me to enjoy significantly different perspectives on our work. To observe the number of lives positively affected in Churches and on the Streets has been incredible. To see just how much the organisation has grown and evolved from the initial five founder members to the hundred plus volunteers, 50+ Churches, Prayer Pastors, Cycle Pastors, and Glasgow SafeZone has been an amazing experience to be witness to.
But more than this has been the incredible privilege to get to work alongside so many committed, talented people from so many churches has given me the greatest pleasure. Street Pastors is not defined purely by the work done serving and ministering to the vulnerable, but more by the way God uses the work to change me for the better, helping mebecome less judgmental, more humble and grateful for the good things I have in my life. It is a continual wonder to me realising just how powerful and significant simple acts of service can be properly representing and advancing God’s Kingdom. My time in Glasgow Street Pastors has confirmed in me the importance of continually “Earning the Right to be Heard.”
If you are interested in discovering if Street Pastors is for you join one of our teams as an observer you will know within the first five minutes on the Street or Safe Zone if this ministry is for you. The love and affirmation I get back from those we help and, those we serve alongside in the Police, City and Night clubs has consistently shown the extent that God can use ordinary people to do extra-ordinary works.
Being a Street Pastor is a roller coaster of lessons, emotions, physical endurance and trusting.
Lessons on how to work alongside people you've maybe never spoken to before to learning how to use a walkie-talkie. Emotions ranging from fear as you find yourself in the middle of a group of guys that want to hit someone because 'he has a muslim beard' to elation when someone finally gets it. The physical stress of walking at the Street Pastor pace for hours to finding your leg has gone dead while you kneeled to talk to someone. Trusting God will lead you to where you are needed that night to trusting that your quiet night does not mean that you weren't needed.
We meet as a team to dedicate our lives each night to God, to walk out without fear, knowing He watches over us – even if we are challenged. It is nothing short of miraculous how the teams are just right for the needs. If you feel uncomfortable dealing with the homeless, there's someone else on the team who is good at it and if you struggle with the blood and vomit, someone else can step in and cope.
He who is by our side is greater that he who prowls at our back.
I have been a street pastor in Glasgow since 2009. Being from Glasgow I know that people make Glasgow, therefore it's a privilege to listen, care, and help people in Glasgow city centre.
It's a privilege when a person comes up to us and asks 'can I talk to you?' and confides' with us what's happing in their life. We listen and give them a tissue to dry there tears, we share our experience and tell them that God loves them as He loves all his children. The tears often turn to laughter then hugs all round before they walk away a lot lighter.
We sit down with a homeless friend in a doorway and ask her 'how are you doing'? and listen with compassion. We offer a sandwich and some chocolate which she accepts with a 'thank you very much'. We ask if she would like us to help her to the night shelter rather than sleep in the doorway. She declines our offer but thanks us for caring.
Two girls walk by with their six inch high heels in their hands. We ask if they would like some flip flops. 'How much'? We answer 'they're free'. 'No way! Can I have a pair? You are angels'. More hugs.
We get a call on our radio from the CCTV control centre asking if we can assist with a vulnerable female in Merchant Square, so we head there to find the female sitting by herself on the steps. 'Can we help you'? She answers 'I just want to go home'. We offer to help get her home safely and walk her slowly to the taxi rank. As we walk we learn that she hasn't been out in the town for a long time and has drunk too much. More hugs and thanks before she gets in the taxi. Time for our tea break!
I love being a street pastor not just for the hugs, high fives, kind words of appreciation and marriage proposals! At the end of the night I have learned humility that keeps me grounded and I can sleep in good conscience knowing we have done something worthwhile. That's why I continue to serve Gods kids in Glasgow City centre.