It strikes me that most of my stories have been about some of the more challenging people that our church ministers to. But Poplar Salvation Army is made up of a dedicated team that God replenishes and adds to when He sees fit here is one story.....
......It had been a interesting week. Our church building had been broken into 4 or 5 times. 27 different police personnel had visited our church. There had been an arrest in our car park. It was especially vulnerable in that we had scaffolding outside which made it easier for people to break in. That night I’d been blue-lighted at break-neck speed around the district trying to catch the gang that was terrorising us. The last break in had happened two hours earlier. I actually saw the culprit coming out of the building. I had followed him until the police had arrived then left it to them - he got away!
Our Sunday morning service was in full swing. I was outside waiting for the police to arrive again. It was cold. My breathe hung in the air like smoke as I looked up at the damage. Could do with a bit of encouragement I thought. The last month was fast becoming the most difficult stage of our ministry at Poplar.
"Is this The Salvation Army?", hardly looking I answered thinking that I would soon be fixing a food or clothing parcel. "Um.. can I worship here?"... "Yes of course you can" wondering if I was to be buttered up before being asked to sponsor the re-charging of his electricity key. In he goes and I accompany him and sit with him during the remainder of the service. Tim came to bible study and house group during the week and again the following Sunday. A solid dependable Christian felt drawn to engage with us in our expression of mission.
That was two years ago now. Tim is still with us. A gifted teacher who has helped established the 'Essentials' discipleship course we run. The beauty is that everyone leads it no-one an expert. It was no accident that Tim’s path was directed to cross ours - he remains a great source of encouragement. An essential part of our small church's outworking of God’s love in our community.