Church for the Night - update Jun10

Tuesday, 1 June, 2010

Michael French, nightclub chaplain, explains the many strands to his work in one of the UK's most popular clubbing areas in Bournemouth.

Duration: 2:46   | Download Download mp3

Transcript

Introducer: Michael French has a fascinating job: he's a nightclub chaplain in Bournemouth and spends much of his time after hours talking to clubbers who congregate on the streets of this Dorset town. So Karen Carter asked him if what he and his team are doing could really be described as church.

Michael French: Well what we do is we express our life to God in a different way. A lot of us have been part of various different churches, I mean me personally I've been involved in Baptist church, Church of England, community church and all kinds of different forms – and also missional church with 24-7 as well. But I guess what we’re doing here is not the sort of Sunday morning stuff, but actually just a lifetime of kind of just expressions love to God and people. So we eat together regularly, we go to clubs and pray, we hang out with people, we do Street Pastors type work on the streets, we run a big thing called Church for the Night where we have art installations and smoke machines in a massive cathedral-like church in the middle of town and open it until four in the morning, people can just come in and find God on their own terms. So we're involved in projects but also in terms of community just sharing life together.

Interviewer: And tell me a little bit more about Church for the Night, what about… you know you meet the people, they come in, they might want to find out more, what about if they want to become part of community and keep on meeting?

Michael French: Yeah, I think that is an emerging thing, to coin a phrase, and we are at the moment developing ways of discipling people, of getting people to express and explore God and faith. So some of the people we meet don't even believe in God, other people believe in a God. Girls come in in their stilettos and hot pants, kneel down at the front, cry, pray, hug their friends and then walk out without saying anything, but they've had some sort of encounter with God which is just incredible.

Interviewer: Thinking about those who want to journey on, they come across you, they come across the work, they come across God, and they want to develop. Is it the case that they would then go into traditional churches?

Michael French: We don't discourage that, you know, if people want to find God in those places then we'll take them along. Or some of the people in our community group go to congregational church. But we view ourselves as church, just that we're people that love God. And as people meet with us and just even brush shoulders with is, whether it's in a club, whether it's in a home, you know God is in the club, God is in the home, God is in the streets, God is everywhere. And as I think Bono said something about as we are with them, so God is with us.

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