Tuesday, 16 June 2009

talking with Father about street church, street ministry....

June 14, 2009

Got up 3:10 am, and set bread dough. Went back to sleep till about 4:30 am, then made about 100 fried bread! Finished just after 6:30. Took most of it, along with cookies and muffins from the freezer, to church-in-the-park. Breakfast there was hot dogs - which lasted until the propane ran out! So it was a good thing I took so much food (Thank You, Father, for inspiring me to take the muffins and cookies). I also learned to make coffee in the big percolator, so that will be my little job from now on. There were a lot of people there - but only one other woman; she stayed almost the whole time - thank You, Lord! Apparently there were 3 "almost fights" but except for one, I didn't really notice. I had good chats with several people, and gave Colin the printouts of our "testimony" as well as a list of my websites.

The "lesson" was about "the way." It was a real confirmation to me about "love walking" and about reaching out to the poor and the anguished.

There are getting to be a lot of out-of-towners; unlike the year-round people, some of them don't respect Pastor Peter's efforts, and don't appreciate the efforts of the city's soup kitchen (which is run by volunteers in a facility built by a local church). The soup kitchen is having a lot of problems, with more people coming than they are set up for (this community is known as a summer resort area, and has a huge influx of people who come here to spend the summer relaxing in the sun...), people fighting, butting in line, taking more than their share of the food. There is potential for it to close down if things get worse.

Pastor P. wants to start moving out to help get street ministries going in other cities. I think it is maybe time for him to empower the people (disciples!) he has been mentoring, to take more responsibility for the work here, so that he can do that.

He also wants to encourage churches to commit to pay people to do full-time street ministry. I wonder? As he says, people need to be able to support their families. But if the money support comes from established traditional churches, will the street ministry people have freedom to do the work as God leads them, out on the streets where the people are, rather than trying to bring them into the "church building" programs and places... Well, God is all-powerful, so it really is up to Him - and we need to follow His Spirit's lead, right?

He was talking about this church in a city area in Ontario where he was last week. There are a few hundred thousand people in the urban area there. At this church, there are ten pastors - including a "street ministry pastor." He was pretty excited about that, so he asked this pastor how it was going. The pastor said, "Well, we had Jack, but he recently moved to Toronto." Pastor P. was pretty surprised at that. He and his wife decided to go for a walk down the street outside the church, and within a couple blocks met 10 street people who hang out right around there. (It seems to me that it is sometimes hard for established/traditional churches to really reach out. Their idea of outreach seems to be to have some kind of program in the church building and hope it will attract the "lost" to come in and be "ministered to." .... Oh, did I say that already? Yep...)

Makes me wonder if God is maybe moving individuals OUT into the streets, into the world where the harvest is ready for reaping??? (I read John 4 this afternoon: "just happened" to be today's reading....)

Father, Pastor P is really hoping that the folks at the church that hosts the Tuesday and Thursday morning coffee times will really take ownership, and turn up regularly, and supply the needs for coffee, snacks, etc... and especially build friendships, relationships with the street people who come by for coffee and breakfast snacks. Father, please don't let any "religious spirit" overcome this outreach - and move Your peoples' hearts to follow Your lead in this area. Please strengthen and guide and encourage the pastor there who really has a desire to reach out into the downtown community where the building is locate! And please use me in any way You wish in these regards. Thank You.

Father, I have to say (which of course You already know - and understand far more completely than I do myself) that I sure don't know what You want from me/us. Campbell River or Penticton (or elsewhere)? The job hubby has or another? What about me - a job, or home-based business, or not? What about our son - job, education, what?

And Father, I sometimes feel so, I don't know, out of place! Well, I don't feel right in the "traditional church"... but I also wonder if I really am making any difference on the street? I don't seem to be doing any real "proclamation of the gospel"... but some at least seem to appreciate me being around, and pretty near everyone loves the baking...

So many times I have been told I have the "gift of teaching" ... but it seems like in this situation and time I am mostly watching and listening. There sure aren't any traditional "Bible study" opportunities (which is no doubt a good thing... seems I am going through a de-Bible-study-leadership time too!)... and even in Pastor P's "lesson" times it seems I have almost nothing to add. But I think that it is true that one often needs to show - walk! - love! first, before being trusted enough by people to be able to proclaim the gospel message in words.

I am not sure how biblical that is. John did "prepare the way" for Jesus... but he did it by preaching repentance and baptizing for repentance of sins. The apostles.... well, they prayed and fasted and the Holy Spirit was given (like the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus)... and yes, both Jesus and the apostles did signs and wonders under the leading and power and authority of the Holy Spirit, which certainly did attract listeners (though even then, of course, some of the seed fell on the roadshide, or was choked out by thorns or whatever... but some grew and a great harvest was reaped, as Jesus said in the parable!)

I tried to bring up to ___ about prayer together among people involved in the street ministry and also any believers on the street who would like to join, or to be prayed for... but I don't think he really heard me. He is truly wanting to know what You want him to do (and I can understand that... I've been there myself almost constantly... but more and more I can't help but think that You want Your people to pray together, fast together, go out together! Jesus sent the disciples out two by two (without money or food or extra clothes or anything!) and the apostles went out by twos or in larger teams.

I kind of think of Priscilla sometimes as the kind of believer I'd like to be... but she was a team with her husband Aquila, and sometimes with Paul working with them as well. Father, I'm really concerned about myself in relation to submission to and under the authority, covering, headship of my husband... Father???

I have so many questions and wonderings right now, dear Papa! Please teach me, guide me, show me Your way... use me THE WAY, YOUR WAY!

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