Activity one

We can reach out to other people if we just think about simple and effective ideas about how to do it. It must be non- offensive and give people what they need, not what we think they need.

People on the street need money for food, drink and a place to stay for the night. They need to collect that money in the day or they will be outside, vulnerable and not in a proper and dignified bed for the night. They have no access to washing facilities, and therefore no dignity.

We can give money…

Get some small plastic bags, put a Lifewords booklet inside with £1 £2 £5 £10 coins or notes, depending on what you judge should be. If I see a young woman on the street I would give her more to ensure she gets off the street for the night.
People will accept this because it is what they need and also get the loving message in the little booklet…

Patrol July 2022

I am hoping to take a patrol out into the streets of Croydon in July 2022.

This will be the first patrol of Street Guardians. We will be there to help people on the street and make sure they get home safely. We will be keen to share the good news about Jesus- His love for us even as He died on a cruel cross and our deep need of Him.

There will be literature and badges to give out to people.

We will also carry:

  • first aid kits
  • flip flops
  • space blankets
  • wipes
  • tissues
  • sweets

Please contact Shirley if you would like to join the group. We will meet in Croydon and patrol for 2/3 hours, depending on the need on the streets. We will strike out at 10pm and patrol until 1pm. At 10pm there will be refreshments for all who wish to come along…

This is where Jesus and His disciples would be and this was where they lived. To spend just a few hours on one night in the year ministering to others is a great privilege.

Please join us….

The heart of Croydon

I am seeking to take a patrol out in July 2022. We will patrol during the Friday night from 10pm until 1pm.

There are many people on the streets around the summer season. It is easy for vulnerable people to become prey to those who practice harm, and to have some protection on the street would be a good thing. there are others who are enjoying themselves in the pubs, and they also could benefit from our presence.

There is no uniform, but friendship and practical support as we reach out to others in compassion and love- just as our Master would do.

We will have First Aid support from a qualified First Aid practitioner.

first aid kit

Help with advice about transport, and providing food and drink, where necessary.

There will be John’s gospels to be given for free, and other Christian material that presents the gospel clearly and in a way that anyone can understand.

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Conversation and discussions as they occur with people around the street.

There will be at least one time of team refreshment and encouragement from the Scriptures.

We minister to the heart of Croydon, the love of God through Christ, living in us…

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Why am I out here?

 

To serve God on the streets, is a precious and special sacrifice to make. If Jesus was here on earth, this is where He would be. He would be frustrated to sit in some of our “churches” at the lack of urgency and pressing concern for people who are lost and without Him. In our present 21st Century culture, especially in our cities, people do not want to go into churches. They are foreign territory to most people, and they instinctively know there is little help there. People choose the world and what it offers, because they are lost from God, and do not desire Him. They feel affinity for the wide pathway and are more comfortable there.

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May they see us as we serve on the streets, and show the love of God unconditionally to people who are in trouble. Many don’t see the trouble they are in, or the vulnerability of their situation. It is important that there are carers on the streets, as well as predators!!!

WHY DO I DO IT?

  • Jesus loves me and came after me, and for me and brought me to Himself. I need to foster this attitude in myself towards other people.
  • There is no other reason.! Why would I stay out of bed and walk the streets in the dark and cold.?

https://youtu.be/n5IOD_Mp3VU

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WHERE DO I DO THIS?

  • the local community is the place to be where you can be seen and known and have a witness for Christ.

LANGUAGE?

  • Always maintain integrity. Even handed with young an old.
  • Understand how different people speak. Listen to different types of conversation. Learning on the job!
  • Watch out for Christian slang words. We use words that have loaded meaning, but an unchurched person would not understand. Learning to share the gospel in modern, common language. Avoid doctrinal words for things!!!

DON”T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS….

https://youtu.be/Fzn_AKN67oI

 

TIREDNESS

You can move past the threshold …! You are out there for the people on the streets.

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU….!!!

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People become Christians on the streets!

There are homeless people on the streets, who love the Lord and depend on His goodness, way beyond your level!!

On the streets we can make NO ASSUMPTIONS…

you cannot judge by APPEARANCES!!

Every response is one of love…. If I don’t share Christ it is not because of lack of opportunity…. you may need some self-examination.

Trying to be politically correct and not to be embarrassed, will stop you from sharing Christ.

Everyone needs to practice talking about Jesus in their lives. We are far too quiet and ashamed of HIM…!

Mark 8:34-38 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

This is a searching scripture….let us seek God and pray our way into loving Him….

The character of a Street Guardian

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Out on the street, the time you have with people is limited. You may never see them again, so how you come across is important. You stand in for Christ, which is a great responsibility. You may not say much to the person, but maybe they will seek the Lord because of the encounter with you.

You are like a mentor- a personal tutor to point the way to Jesus.

Here are some CHARACTER TRAITS:

  • gentle and sensitive to a persons needs. INSIGHT and WISDOM required
  • Respect for the person and engendering respect for yourself.
  • wise… clear understanding and discernment as to the persons position or frame of mind.
  • Ability to listen to people- a non-judgmental attitude.
  • Ability to question in a caring way.
  • Caring , patient and kind.
  • Courageous, firm, decisive and able to be supportive
  • Honest with others and yourself. A straight-forward person
  • Able to understand and talk about life experiences that you have learned from.
  • A humble attitude… the focus on others.
  • Able to give practical help when you can
  • Being informed about the local area, so that you can direct people. Knowing about services and places that can help people in need.

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BEING A CHRISTIAN….

This should make a difference to how you are..!!!

You should know the scriptures well, so that you can give an answer to everyone who asks you.

The Holy Spirit lives in your life and person, and you can know God’s ways and be able to respond to the promptings of the Spirit in our life and as you help others.

Mind illness

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This aspect of our human selves, is vastly misunderstood. It is quite shocking what some people and even Christians believe about this kind of illness. This issue is the last great taboo in the Western world, and I personally believe we will never get to a place of understanding because of the nature of the issue.

The human person has body (physical) mind (Psyche) and soul (God relationship: spiritual life)

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BODY

The human body is understood the best, as much human research and development has gone into deciphering the various systems and organs that make up the physical body. Even so, there is still so much we do not know.

SOUL

The soul part of us that relates to God, and is dead without the experience of new life through Jesus Christ. We live lives with no sensibility of this aspect of our beings, until God opens our inner eyes to see the truth of His Word, in the Scriptures. The resurrection of the soul, is the work of God and He uses human means to spend the good news, that we can be forgiven and be made alive in Christ. In ourselves we do not seek this, since we are dead, so prayer for others in this state is a central part of the life of the Christian. We must also tell others the message, that they might hear and even believe.

PSYCHE

Our minds are given so that we can function as bodies, and also to rationalise about the world and manage thoughts, ideas, feelings and express the higher abilities that God as given to us. When the mind goes wrong, or gets ill, it can be a very difficult experience for the sufferer. There is so much ignorance and stigma around this illness, that the suffers often finds themselves managing what other people think, as well as the illness. It is a lonely and very painful time, and for some, it is a life time of wrestling and fighting to keep well.

The biggest stigma is around the issue of demon possession. It is hard to write about this as the ignorance is so deep. It is hurtful and prejudicial that sufferers are so labelled and denigrated by so called Christian groups. This might sound obvious, but mind illness is illness and NOT demon possession. The cruelty in this label for the Christians who suffer in this way is particularly virulent. We should be very, very careful about our labels and our judgment in this regard. It is often more helpful to speak with non-Christian professionals, than “Christian” counsellors.

INSIGHT

We all need discernment and insight into this illness, and most do not have it. It is better to say nothing than to cause agony in the life of another person. Mind illness affects many people. there are two types.

  • Depressions, phobias, obsessions, these illnesses can occur in the life of anyone, and can pass over and never come again.
  • Serious mind illnesses: Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar affective disorder. These illnesses are life long and will affect the sufferer throughout their lives. These sufferers really carry a heavy load and suffer much stigmatisation.

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THINGS THAT AFFECT THE MIND;
  • DRUGS. there are strong links between taking drugs and the onset of mind illness. There are many who suffer after long term use of marijuana and the effects can be seen in behaviour and speech.
  • LIFE EVENTS. some life events precipitate an episode of one kind or another. there is often an underlying genetic disposition, and especially the serious illnesses have family connections. Death of a family member, abuse, giving birth, moving culture, serious illness (physical) Any experience that deeply affects a person can have a large effect on the psychological life.
  • ALCOHOL. this often used drug has a serious effect on the mind, and can have long term effects on someone who drinks regularly and heavily. This drug causes many problems for people, though it appears to help. It is socially acceptable and this can dampen our sense of caution about it.

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THINGS YOU COULD NOTICE;
  • People who are to suffering can use alcohol and cigarettes to self-medicate their symptoms.
  • People can use shopping and other life decisions to help them find and feel significance.
  • Erratic behaviour can be a sign that someone is struggling with mood swings and not able to identify causes.
  • People who’s mood is affected can find making a good choice or decision, more difficult.
  • Women who have had a baby are very vulnerable and will need emotional and practical support as the body gets back to normal.
  • People who have suffered a major life event. Friends are important especially if no family is around.

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LANGUAGE:

It is probably best to avoid all euphemisms for mind illness. They are quite insulting to the sufferer, as any use of slang words for groups of people would be. Being NUTS, CRAZY, MAD, OFF YOUR ROCKER, SOFT IN THE HEAD, BONKERS, etc. there are so many, as this area of life is so misunderstood. People seem to think it is funny, but not if you are struggling long-term with serious illness. Most of the words have no meaning, so it is best to be careful what we say.

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ANY POSITIVES?

Mind illness can be a real blessing. It teaches the sufferer to analyse and watch out for signs and symptoms in themselves. This can also be useful in dealing with other people. The sufferer gets to see things in a different light and they can be a blessing to the people around them. The gift of INSIGHT is especially good, sometimes called WISDOM and allows a person to understand situations and people more deeply.

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Psychology is a wonderful study and the way we as human beings act and interact, is interesting and insightful. To understand these aspects of our human selves, is so good for us and others, and help us to be strong and resourceful to help other people.

A suffering Christian has different ways of dealing with this huge difficulty, and their insight can be valuable to other areas of life. Unfortunately the lack of insight in others precludes including sufferers in crucial roles. This leads to much isolation.

In whatever state a person may be in, or whatever you observe in their behaviour, we must always remember they are precious humans and dear to God. We have no right to judge and we would probably be wrong anyway. Do not assume anything. Talk to people and embrace people as you find them. A word of kindness goes much further than an ignorant diagnosis.!!

The message of Good News

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This message is the message of the whole Bible. It is the communication of a loving God to creatures who do not love Him, and who nailed Him to a cross in hatred and rejection of His love. This message is undeserved and reaches out to us in love and salvation. It is not understood by the natural heart of people, which is hard toward the Spirit of God and desires sin and a sinful life. The human heart is dead in its sins and cannot save itself.

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The person in their natural state, stands condemned before God. In our deadness we do not feel it or see our need to get into a right relationship with God. We walk the earth physically alive, but spiritually dead. We do not know God, or love Him or His ways, and so we imagine we are ok and have wrong and fatal views of ourselves and God.

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We avoid Him. We spend our lives running from Him and yet blaming all our ills on Him and hating His ways of holiness and praise. We get involved in sinful practices and hurtful pursuits and think it is ok and we will find satisfaction in the things of this life. We feel and know only the joys of this life, which will finally and disappointingly fail.

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A dead person cannot choose. A dead person cannot feel or have any sensibility towards anything to do with God, or spiritual life. We are spiritually dead in our human existence, and full of corruption. We seek folly and walk in it. We will never choose the Lord. In our own foolishness we appreciate only the delights of this life.

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In mercy, God has purposed to save people for Himself. People who will live and thrive in His spiritual life, have His Holy Spirit dwelling in them, purifying them and setting them apart for a life of such privilege and glory in His eternal kingdom. He is not willing that anyone should perish, but that everyone would come to Him and find this amazing life. He shows us Himself even in the things of this life, but supremely in the glory of the Holy Scriptures. Without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit we cannot understand them, so God enlightens the minds of people to take in the message of the Scriptures.

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There are those who will be eternally lost. Those who will not listen to his voice of love and endearment, spoken into our lives by the Spirit of God. There is a heaven to be gained and a hell to be avoided. This is why we speak. This is why we tell people about a living and loving Saviour who will rescue them from their wrong desires and sinful practices and give them new life.

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JESUS is our Saviour. He is able to save because of the most surprising and sacrificial act that there has ever been… He gave His life on a cruel cross to pay the price of sin for a race of scoundrels. He gave Himself for those who rejected His message and hated His deeds. Because of what Jesus did He can save those who trust in Him. He suffered dreadful pains and agony, and the final ignominy of hearing those he died for, curse His precious name. As His arms stretched wide on that cross, so they call out to every human heart and mind. “Come- all things are ready” there is nothing else to do.. salvation is the gift given to anyone who bows their knees and puts their trust in HIM.

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The Lord Jesus gives life and light to all who come and follow. We must give up our hearts to His love and walk with Him, like small children, holding His hand, and trusting every step of the road that leads to heaven and home. We must come like children to a loving Father, and give up our sinfulness completely and forever. As we walk along the pathway, we reach heaven and enter into the joy that was bought for us at such a great price.

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As we read the Word of God and obey, so we progress towards that wonderful place. We walk closer and closer to Him. We adore Him and keep ourselves in the love of God.

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As Christians, this is what we live, speak and share with lost people who walk this earth without a loving Saviour and friend. We should be practicing speaking about Him and thinking about what written words we could give to people so that they can look and see for themselves. Think of opportunities you could use to share this message. Think of how you could change your life practices to mirror theses great truths.

 

Youth culture

This section investigates how the values of 21st Century Britain have influenced our young people and the discrepancy between what they hear in church and hear from other agencies.

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THE ISSUES:

If we reach a family, we reach the young people as well. Young people need a social framework, physical needs, Intellectual stimulation, creative expression, emotional maturity.

No surrounding is neutral: there are influences on all of our lives….. Spiritual forces, peer pressures, Home life, experiences we have, media, environment and social pressure.

MESSAGES FROM THE PREVAILING CULTURE:
  • There is no right or wrong
  • we mustn’t alienate anyone
  • No moral code- do what works for you.
  • Everything is relative
  • live for the moment

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MEDIA

Young people watch approximately 28 hours of Television every week. Adults watch approximately 18 hours per week.

The promotion of ideal body shape, clothes, shoes, lifestyle.

Teenagers and children are specifically targeted and this causes family pressure and personal grief.

Sex is used to sell stuff… only 2% of sex scenes are in the marriage context.

SUB CULTURES

Gang culture provides family cohesion. Crime is linked to the gang culture and lack of self-esteem.

FAMILY

Breakdown in families is common. 1 in 10 children are born into a single parent home. Violence can be part of family. Poverty, lack of opportunity and lack of physical needs ling met, cause trouble of people.

Often young people are more concerned about what other young people say, that their parents. Peer pressure can be huge and causes people to be disillusioned and dissatisfied.

THE CHALLENGE FOR GOD’S PEOPLE

Many people including the young are mistrustful of “church” the authority figures and the structures are not relevant and are seen to exclude people and not really preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. With out this gospel of HOPE and NEW LIFE, there is no hope.

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Is church a social club for the select few, or are there living, open, inclusive relationships that enable the outsider to be a part of them. We try to structure the gospel and impose it, rather than speaking it and living it so everyone can see. Isaiah 61:1-3

“1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendour.”

We tend to think we are serving and following the Lord because we go to meetings, rather than seeking those who are lost from God and bringing them in.

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We need to be approachable and engage with people.

We need to have a clear understanding of Biblical doctrine- specifically the doctrine of salvation. Christians need clear and specific training on how to share the gospel and be flexible to relate to many different types of people. We need to practice this all the time and develop this skill, so we are effective in reaching out. This impacts on our daily lives also.

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Christian people need to be sincere in their outlook and in the way they live their daily lives as Christians. God’s grace is amazing and does not discriminate between types of people. Ephesians 1:7-10 NIV

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

Alcohol awareness

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80% of all domestic violence is alcohol related.

60% of all A&E admissions on a Friday/Saturday night are alcohol related.

70% of all murders are related to alcohol.

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Alcohol is a huge drain of societies resources in many ways we may not think of. It ruins lives and causes untold hurt and suffering. It lies about it’s good effects.

We have some misconceptions about alcohol:

  • We can handle it. Only weak people succumb to this drug.
  • It gives us courage.
  • It makes us feel better.
  • The effects are temporary.
  • It helps us to have a good time.

EFFECTS:

Intoxication, lose of inhibitions, seeming confidence, relaxed muscles, warmth, tranquillising effect, reduces stress, helps us sleep, enables us to have fun, raises pulse rate and blood pressure.

The alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream through the stomach and intestines. The rate of absorption depends on, strength of the alcoholic drink, how quickly it is drunk, fizzy drinks speed up absorption, women who are ovulating causes the alcohol to be absorbed faster.

RISKS:

Increased or uncontrolled aggression, depression, dependancy, memory loss, reduced sense of anger, mood swings, low self-esteem, anxiety.

Reduced ability to resist sexual advances, long-term heart and liver damage, Obesity, Accidents, Addiction, poor sleep.

SIGNS AN SYMPTOMS:

Drunken behaviour, slurred speech, unsteady gait, loss of balance, drowsiness.

Smell of alcohol, blood-shot eyes, lethargy and tiredness, shaking, puffy eyes, drivers nose (red/purple) vomiting/nausea, blackouts, hangover.

It is crucial to keep people safe when they are in this state. If they get separated from friends, it is dangerous, as they may have no sense of danger, or be in a uncontrolled state. They must find safety and a place to sleep off the symptoms.

Taxi drivers will not take people who are inebriated, as their state is so unstable.

They may have no money to get home. Some people will pay for a trip back home, or stay with the person until they sober up and can get home safely.

People who become drunken do not realise the dangers they are in. There is great vulnerability and anything can happen on the street, which is very unsafe if you and unstable.

INDESCRIMINATE MERCY

Help groups and contacts:

http://www.drugs.gov.uk
http://www.talktofrank.com