Missionaries have always found themselves in harms way. Paul refers to his own missionary endeavours in terms of danger in 2 Corinthians 11:26. He speaks of his life being “in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;”
Cities can be dangerous places for missionaries to serve. One old MCM missionary writing in 1927 speaks of being “assailed with stones and bricks and dangerous weapons” another refers to attempts to knock him on the head with a sweeping brush, or strike him with a poker. He goes on to say that “more than once have I been stoned; several attempted to set my clothes on fire…” Scary stuff!
City missionaries are still from time to time exposed to danger. A small number of our homeless guests can be unstable and occasionally fights break out or people need to be removed from the premises. Other times the Windsor Christian centre itself has be under attack from gangs of youngsters throwing stones and threatening staff members. In one particularly unpleasant episode, one young miscreant waved a lighter at a female team member and threatened to “singe” her – meaning – set her clothes on fire! History has a way of repeating itself.
Again our “lone workers” find themselves in potentially risky situations. Paul Winter, visits homeless people on the streets of Central Manchester and also visits Travellers Sites as part of the 4 Site programme. Lisa Dickinson, MCM’s recently appointed Resettlement worker will be visiting ex Narrowgate and Quarterway guests in their new homes. We don’t anticipate many problems but we must manage the risk.
None of this is without a financial cost. We have just agreed to add yet another expensive CCTV camera to our security array and I have just this morning signed an agreement to pay £90 per quarter for “personal security devices” for our lone workers. Money very well spent, but spent nevertheless.
Technology can only take us so far though. David referred to God this way: “my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.”
Please pray that the MCM team will be kept safe as they serve the Lord.
– by Terry Durose, Director, MCM
Permanent – Salary £15,769pa pro rata
Two exciting, part-time evangelistic opportunities have arisen within a dynamic pioneering project for the homeless with the long established Manchester City Mission.
The roles primarily involve weekends with alternate Saturday/Sunday mornings and afternoons.
The minimum average is 15 hours per week, with a strong probability of more hours as and when the opportunity arises (including possible overnight cover in our night shelter).
All relevant training is given so no previous experience of working with homeless people is necessary, though would be welcomed.
These posts require a living evangelical Christian faith as an Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR).
As this work will include close contact with vulnerable people a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required.
When you have completed the application, please email to barry [at] manchestercitymission.org.uk or return it to FAO Barry Matley, Manchester City Mission, Windsor Christian Centre, Churchill Way, Salford M6 5BU
As a young person I grew up in household fascinated by boxing. In his youth, my Grandfather had been a professional boxer, and I used to enjoy watching him twitch and nod involuntarily as he identified with a luckless contestant getting pummelled, live on TV.
Cassius Clay / Muhammed Ali was of course a household name. Not only was he a fantastic boxer, but he was also a natural entertainer, wooing the media with his poems and bold proclamations. Perhaps he was most famous for his claim to be “The Greatest”, which at the time seemed to be the ultimate statement of boastful pride, especially to us self effacing Brits.
Although, as Christians we might not make such brash statements, we are all still prone to ask the question first posed by Jesus’ disciples. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The desire for status, power and position often lies hidden beneath the surface of tensions and disagreements in church and even in Christian service.
At the time of writing, our nation is in the grip of a leadership race for the position of Prime Minister. I may be proved wrong, but on the whole I expect it to be a fairly civilised affair, at least on the surface. We British don’t like public slanging matches and are thoroughly embarrassed by displays of naked ambition.
Yet the lure of leadership positions can drive some of the most respectable believers into a quiet frenzy of plotting and manipulation. We all want to know “who is who in the zoo?” We all want to know our place in the pecking order – and we all hope it is close to the top of the pile. As one man put it “Ninety nine percent of all trouble in church in caused by one question – who is in charge here?” Put another way – “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Leadership can become very addictive. The simple joy of seeing others influenced by our words and ideas, can quickly eat its way into our ego and weave its way into our sense of identity and worth. Like all addictions, leadership addiction is dangerous and deceptive fostering a mindset that is a million miles aways from Jesus’ model of servant leadership and childlike greatness.
Article by Terry Durose,
Director, Manchester City Mission
In these days of apparent church decline, growth is the thing that gets everyone’s attention. We all love to see churches and ministries expand grow, develop and become established.
Although we know that God works in seasons, we have plenty of reason to believe that God wants it too! In Deuteronomy 7:13 the Israelites were told that God ” . . .will love you, bless you, and multiply you . . .”
Likewise in Ezekiel we read this promise: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock, and in Isaiah that the least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation.
In the New Testament, growth again seems to be high on the agenda. Who doesn’t get excited by Luke’s progress reports, scattered though Acts, about how the church grew as the Gospel prospered, and the Lord added?
Growth, however brings its own challenges. In recent days, the small church that I help lead has seen measure of growth, particularly in terms of young families with children and babies. Wonderful – truly wonderful! But… where do we find all the Sunday School teachers to serve or indeed the various rooms that might be needed?
In a similar way, MCM is undergoing significant expansion as we ramp up to offer daytime services to our homeless guests through the Quarterway project and “halfway house” services though the Windsor Bungalow. Where do we find all the extra volunteers? How do we apply our standards of behaviour to those who are effectively living in their own home? Challenge, stress and opportunity for conflict at every turn!
Of course it was no different for the early church. In Acts 6 we read that when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
Growth brought a problem. It seems that while the church was dealing with rapid increase, the Greek speaking widows in the church were being neglected. As we read on, we find that the Apostles dealt decisively with the problem and this disturbing episode is brought to a close by another one of Luke’s progress reports – And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem…
Growth is close to God’s heart as it is to ours, though it often brings new challenges and fresh obstacles to overcome. By the grace and wisdom of God these challenges can be met and the obstacles overcome.
May the word of God increase and the number of disciples multiply greatly!