Learning to love in practical ways

What happens when we love people through practical help?

Lu Hardy is our Nightlife Ministries Coordinator. Her role involves training and coordinating Club Angel volunteers, and training and leading the team of chaplains who go into Soho strip clubs. We asked her what she has seen happen when we love people through practical help…

I was recently at a friend’s birthday party when a guy asked me what I did for work. I tried to give him a glimpse into what it was like being a part of the Third Space team: the people we help home at night in Ibiza, to prayer walking in Soho, to outreach in central London nightlife. He listened keenly, then stopped me and said, “I’m an atheist, and you’re the first religious person I’ve met who hasn’t tried to push their views onto me. You’ve used your experiences to share what you believe and why. Keep doing what you’re doing because you’re going to affect and change so many people’s lives.” 

Simply by hearing the stories of how we would choose to freely love someone with no agenda or with no expectation of anything back he was captivated by God’s love. 

And that is what we find:
Night after night it is HIS love moving through us that ministers to people through our actions and being present in that place.  

Jesus moved into the neighbourhood. He was with people in their daily drama and humdrum. And there He showed His love through providing food when people were hungry, healing when they were sick, wisdom when they were in turmoil, and comfort when they were broken.  

The last few nights out with the Club Angels team in a central London nightclub, we have found ourselves propping people up on the ground outside as they vomit, holding their hair and waiting with them as they sober up enough to get a taxi home. In moments such as these, not only are the people we are helping so grateful but it’s a wonderful way of demonstrating Jesus’ love to their friends, the staff and passers by who regularly ask us, “Why would you choose to do this?”

“So often I find myself saying to people, “We are here to show God’s practical love without preaching and that can be by handing out brownies, helping people when they’ve drunk that little bit too much alcohol, listening as they pour out their grief over a relationship breakdown, being with them in the mess.”

A nightclub medic who responds to calls from several nightclubs in the area was so thankful for our extra helping hands, saying he had no idea what he would have done without us.

We have also just completed a total of 60 visits in 9 months to three strip clubs in Soho. Whenever we arrive, we are greeted with such warmth from the management and women who work there as dancers. They know that we are there only to love them. As we have met their practical needs, we have become trusted confidantes; tangible expressions of God’s love for them, right where they are.

Regardless of what people’s views of Christianity, religion or God are, we find that they can’t help but be moved as they encounter love through the practical help and kindness we show.  Our aim is to simply love the person that God puts in front of us each night and to let Him do the rest.