Below is an excellent blog written by one of our Lurgan street chaplains.
Lurgan ROCK Street Chaplains started up in 2016 and is lead by David Seifert.
Contact us for more info about Lurgan Street Chaplains.
You may ask why we have decided to get involved in Street Chaplains Outreach. Why does anyone want to stay out until 2 or 3am on a Friday and Saturday night when they would usually be tucked up in bed? We will come back to that question later. First, let me tell you about how Street Outreach has evolved.
Modelled on Dundee
Street Chaplains started in Scotland eighteen years ago. As many of you reading this article may already know, Andy Burns has consistently led the team across the Irish Sea. They reach out to the people of Dundee three nights a week on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The overall aim is to spread the good news of Jesus. Furthermore, the Scottish team have become acquainted with the practice of sharing the good news, not only on the streets, but in the nightclubs too! Over the course of the past four years, Street Chaplains have also ventured into the arena of Festival Outreach, attending festivals and concerts where hundreds and thousands of opportunities are rife.
How Lurgan started
What brought the Street Chaplains to Lurgan town? Well, the answer is quite simple. Our team leader saw the need to reach souls for Christ in our local town. Another group of Christians had previously set up on William Street and had therefore created a good rapport with many of the locals. This was no longer in operation so it made sense that we would continue the good work that had begun there. The hope was that our team in Lurgan would be modelled on the Dundee Street Chaplains’ style of outreach, which has proven very successful to date. Andy and his team have seen numerous people come through for Christ on the streets of Scotland’s fourth largest city.
Lurgan Street Chaplains began their journey in December 2016 and since then we have met once a month on a Friday and Saturday night. We provide simple things like bottles of water, tea, coffee, biscuits and flip-flops for the ladies who may have painful feet after an evening spent wearing heels. This, along with the offer of a lollipop, often opens up a doorway to speaking to those who would not otherwise entertain the idea.
Why do outreach
Some of our team have explained their reasons for joining Lurgan Street Chaplains. Ultimately, as disciples of Christ, we are called to express and expand our faith. Matthew 28:19-20 instructs us: ‘Go, you therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.’ We can view serving the Lord not only as a commendable thing to do but as an ‘act of obedience’ to Him. Each member of our team collectively has talked about the cold, hard truth: there are countless souls on the streets of Lurgan each week who have never heard the truth of the Gospel. It has been and will continue to be our mission to shine our light into the darkness.
Of course, this does not come without a cost and we each have faced challenges. We would appreciate prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit as well as help to remember verses from God’s Word when we are conversing. Tiredness is also another factor to consider, especially when our team is out for two consecutive nights until 2 or 3am. Being able to give good, Biblical reasons for our beliefs and dealing with difficult questions can also be testing. The devil can also attempt to intervene by sending us those who will make us temporarily question our ability to minister on the streets in this way. Perhaps one of the toughest challenges is hearing people reject and mock our Saviour. However, we know this was the case when Jesus, Himself, was on the cross, as well as throughout history; therefore, the precedent has been set and continues today. Jesus informed us that, ‘In the world you will face tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’(John 16:33)
Strengthened by God
Yes, the team have endured challenges, but on a more positive note, this has not deterred us. We know that, ‘We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’(Ephesians 6:12) This is why we are told to put on the full armour of God. One thing that we, as Christians, must constantly remind ourselves of is, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). If the Creator of all that we see and experience in this life is there to support us and send His Holy Spirit, what else do we need? He is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. How great is our God that he spoke our world into existence and so intricately designed everything and created each one with his or her own purpose? In addition to this, God saw that man had chosen to turn his back on God and serve himself rather than worship his maker. Still, God demonstrated that He so desperately loved us when He sent His own son to die in our place as he took on all of our sins of the past, present and future. Each member of our team understands that God has extended mercy and grace to us and we just want to show a glimmer of the hope of Jesus in this dark world.
What have our highlights been?
Each team member will have their own story to tell, but some high points have included being able to simply be there for those who struggle to talk to their family and friends about issues of faith or challenges they are facing in their everyday lives. Being able to demonstrate Jesus’ love in action and in a practical way by offering a simple tea or coffee as well as a listening ear has led to repeat encounters on the streets and thus the development of friendships and trust. It is also very rewarding to be able to say something to a person that causes them to seriously consider Christ. Another highlight is the camaraderie within the team. Everyone works well together and perhaps this is because we feel joy at serving Christ and having that common goal.
Personally, one of the things that I have enjoyed most is seeing someone of a similar age, who perhaps has no hope in life and immense questions about the meaning of life and their purpose, suddenly beginning to turn their eyes towards Jesus. We are told to persevere and we must remember that Jesus’ promises are true. Some of His last, recorded words before He returned to Heaven were, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’. These words ring true and should encourage us to do all we can to spread the Gospel in the short time we have left before Christ returns.
Alison Walker and the Lurgan Street Chaplains Outreach team.