Last night I did my last shift as a duty manager for Bradford Street Angels. It was quite a sacrifice, as I realised a few weeks ago that I would miss the England game against Sweden! But Street Angels is all about sacrifice - it is about giving up the comforts of being at home on a Friday and Saturday night, and choosing to serve your community instead.
The project has taught me a lot over the years, from the sheer dedication to the city shown by hundreds of ordinary folk, to having to deal with sometimes quite violent and shocking scenes.
I cannot say I've loved every moment. I'll never forget the night we helped pick up the pieces from a fatal road traffic accident, or the occasional vomiting over your shoes when your holding up a young man who is too drunk to be left alone on the streets
My overwhelming memories though, are of the times when we have perhaps saved lives by intervening just at the right moment. Getting young kids home who have had a bottle of Vodka for the first time. Pulling a woman out of the road before she is run over. Giving out a fresh sleeping bag to the homeless guy who's bedding is drenched from another downpour.
And the beauty of camaraderie between colleagues - I have walked the streets of Bradford with some of the best people I have ever had to work alongside.
I remember putting the team together exactly 5 years ago, bringing together those with a passion for the city, people who desired to show God's love in a practical way. There are costs and sacrifice in all ministry, and missing an England game is nothing to compared to the beauty of watching the kingdom of God grow before your very eyes.