Spotlight on … Vic
I’ve been a street pastor since 2008.
Why did you choose to volunteer for this role?
I felt compelled to share the treasure that I have.
I came to faith when I was a local window cleaner and the love of God that I came to know was something I couldn’t help but share with others. It would overflow at times in conversation with people and sometimes I would pray with them.
Getting involved with Street Pastors, however, took a little while as despite hearing Les Isaac speak and being around when my local team started, it took three people telling me in one day that I needed to do the training and God striking my knee before I finally signed up. The coordinator even drove me to the first training session!
Street Pastors is the absolute perfect way to share the love of God. If you can go out there in love, if it’s love that drives and compels, then that is such a powerful force. Street Pastors allows us to share that love.
Which parts of your role do you enjoy most and why?
Being out on the street, because that is where God works in the unexpected. It is far from being pre-planned. It’s where you meet someone and you know that God is in it, perhaps giving insight into their need. The best part is when God takes over. Often they’re the most difficult occasions, but they’re the best occasions.
What do you do when you are not street pastoring?
My family is very important to me and it is a priority to keep in close relationship with my three children and seven grandchildren. I also go swimming to help to keep me moving as I have arthritis so I also have to make sure I do my physio exercises.
What has most surprised you about being a street pastor?
The way God works. It’s just incredible. You don’t always know it but when you get the feedback from the people you’ve spoken to it’s just amazing, awesome, incredible.
I remember specifically one night when it was pouring down with rain and a few of us weren’t feeling well. We got to the town centre and a guy came up to us and put his arms round me … practically lifted me off my feet. “I just want to thank you,” he said. He’d been homeless, we’d put him in touch with street rescue and he wanted to thank us because his life had been turned around. Another guy came out from a dark doorway and gave me a big hug and thanked me. “Did you know,” he said, “when you come up this alley, you are mixing with murderers and criminals?” He told us how he used to sell guns, etc. We just felt love coming up the alley.
What would you most like to see change in your town or city?
Revival. Less godlessness and more of our God.
The Church involved in everyday life on the streets.
A greater sense of community which is so vital and important. Churches should be good at that.
What do you do if you are finding an incident or an individual difficult?
We were talking to someone who had been drinking heavily and he was always very angry with God. On one occasion, he was with a few others on a bench. He gave us a tirade of anger and abuse. Everyone else left, but we stood firm. It would have been easier to walk away, and often we would have done. However, on this occasion, we stood our ground and I was prompted to ask him about his family. He told us about how his mother and sister had died in a head-on car crash and it transpired this was the underlying reason for his drinking and his anger.
On other occasions, all you can do is walk away.
Tell us one thing about you not related to street pastoring.
I hated every day of school. It just wasn’t for me. That was one of the reasons why street pastors was so daunting because I thought doing the training would be like going back to school.
How has being a street pastor changed you?
It makes you aware of how totally blessed we are because of our God and having that treasure. It gives you an inner confidence knowing that we are not on our own. God is with us and will bring us to a place where we trust him more and more. He works through us to reach others. Security, trust and hope! We’re not on our own.
I now expect God to work. God is with us and all things are possible. Hope, expectation and anticipation. There’s no better place to be. Knowing that awesome power of God which is just so amazing. When God is there in whatever circumstance, it is like being in His hand. It’s a mighty and powerful place to be and I just wish I could be there all the time. So special to be used by Him. Awesome, incredible … beyond your wildest dreams.