HOPE on the Street brings change
HOPE On The Street - an organisation supported by a network of churches and individuals - reaches out to people in local communities in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard and offers engaging programmes that communicate the Christian faith.
The initiative started a door to door ministry, market stalls, coffee mornings, sport events, hope puppets, as well as a monthly Hope Café. Held in a neutral atmosphere, Hope Cafe offers live music and invites people into a safe environment to ask questions and voice doubts about Christianity.
Colin Johnson, who launched HOPE on the Street four years ago, sees it as his responsibility to reach out to people in his neighbourhood. In the past years, he has focused on door visits and the market stall. As a full-time outreach worker, he started most of Hope’s ministries in the area and is supported and funded by local churches.
Colin’s door to door ministry is mainly concerned about helping people and building relationships with them over time. “Taking action is sometimes a much greater testimony to non-believers”, he says. Over the years, he has interacted with more than 100 people in Dunstable. “Some of them become close friends and often join me for other HOPE-related activities. We organise walking groups and regularly meet in a church’s community hall to play table tennis. Even though most of the people are not churched, they frequently agree to join me for a service.” As a result, many home groups have started in the area and people have accepted the Christian faith.
Having worked in the community for years, Colin has noticed various difficulties. He states that “countless people are lonely or ill and have no one they can relate to. It is the church’s responsibility to meet that need.”
In addition to the door ministry, Colin organises an outreach market stall to give away Christian literature and children’s books once a week.
Over the years, Colin’s vision has become a great network of volunteers who are determined to share their faith with others. He explains that “people need to be challenged to share the truth in a right way and not condemn others. I am always looking for people who are willing to go out and get into the communities. We need to do more, do it together, and do it in word and deed.”