As a student in Dundee I haven’t long been a member of Street chaplains, and saying that not terribly old in my Christian life either. But since joining in 2011 there has been nothing but spiritual growth in my life. Having only really committed to Christ about two years prior I was thrown immediately into the deep end when a couple of my closest friends dragged me along one evening to take part. Seeing the streets from the perspective of the one “out” for a good time and seeing the streets as the one “looking out” for others having a good time are two very different situations. As a street chaplain I had to learn to observe the folk coming and going about the clubs. Keeping an eye on those who were drunk, those who were vulnerable, those who were injured and ministering Gods word to any and all you would listen. We go out onto the streets with resources like water, flip flops, rape alarms, ponchos, bandages, hot drinks, leaflets and lollies etc, all so we could show the love of God in a practical and visible way to those at night.
However it didn’t take me long out on the streets to realise when we talked with people how hopeless I was at answering peoples questions with a Biblical answer. Quite often I’d normally keep my mouth shut and let the other team members lead the discussion while praying that the person did not turn to me and ask for my opinion (which they normally did). Faced with the contentious issues that many people tend to have with the Bible and God, to continue taking part in this mission that I truly loved to do, I had no other choice than to expand my knowledge on topics and areas of scripture that I may not have fully thought about before.
Three years on and I no longer hide behind the coats of the other members of the team but rather seeks to be the first to engage with someone when the topic of God and Christ arises. And not even because I feel like I have to, but by having filled myself with more of God’s word I have come to realise just how joyful and powerful it really is and the more you understand that the more you “want” to share. After three years I have helped countless people on the streets of Dundee and shared the Gospel with many many more. A minister once described street chaplains as being the sowers of the vineyard, scattering seed over all kinds of ground. I often ponder what God has done in the lives of the people I have talked to on the street. Being a front line ministry it is very rare to see the fruits of our labour, but we continue to plant God’s word wherever we can in the hope that he will use it for his glory.
David Church. Student Street Chaplain leader.