From a McDonald’s car park to serving Burnley and beyond
Church on the Street started with coffee and sandwiches for those in need. Just two years on, we’re based in locations around the North West – helping our communities in any way we can.
The golden arches and an opportunity
Since 2013, Pastor Mick’s been pounding the pavements of Manchester and Burnley, bringing church to the streets.
It started outside McDonald’s in Burnley. Pastor Mick opened his suitcase, revealing packets of sandwiches and clothes. Next to him, a flask of coffee ready to share and friends Mary and David Hirst, an ex-Salvation Army couple. Born in Burnley, Mick’s set-up outside McDonald’s was an unexpected one. A few years before, he’d been dealing drugs and collecting debts.
After being sexually assaulted as a child and later losing his older sister, becoming involved in drug dealing was a way out for Mick. He soon became addicted himself and experienced the poverty of Burnley first hand.
Years later, when collecting a debt, Mick received a sign from God. He started to work through a recovery process and went on to study theology at Nazarene Theological College. Ever since, his priority has been to love others, give to the poor and help people through experiences similar to his own. You can read more about Pastor Mick’s journey here.
Suitcase in hand, Mick returned to the McDonald’s again soon after that first day – helping those in poverty however he could. At first, only one or two people came – but word soon spread, and more and more people turned up, both those in need and other churches offering support. As more people came to know Christ and form a community, Mick and his team became known as Church on the Street.
“Ever since, our priority has been to love others, give to the poor and help people through experiences similar to our own. ”
Standing in the gaps of injustice
Now, COTS’ vision is to see the light of Jesus Christ shining in the gaps of injustice and the poor raised out of poverty. We do this by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, providing food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, clothing for the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting those imprisoned (Matthew 25:35-36). There’s no job that’s too big – or too small – for Mick and the team, and during the week, their phones will be ringing with requests: for food or assistance – and COTS is always on hand to help.