IT’S hard to find God on the night-time streets of Bournemouth but you can find people doing his work.

They might talk to people outside lap dancing clubs but they don’t tell them to love Jesus instead of Chantelle.

These Christians help those rendered helpless by drink and drugs – or provide a friendly face to confide in.

The Nightclub chaplain and his volunteers are out every Saturday until 3am.

“We are not here to convert or convince, we are just here to be loving,” said chaplain Michael French, 36.

“If they want to explore faith we will explore that with them.

“We don’t want to get into any debates.

“If someone starts arguing about religion we just back off.”

The want to build bridges so people know they are there in a time of need.

So Father Canon John Hyde, 56, chats to the dancing girls outside For Your Eyes Only – and gets two hugs himself.

The Daily Echo found their biggest assets are patience and humour in the face of some unpleasant sights.

When the Echo arrived to meet them at 11pm at St Peter’s a drunken man was urinating in the church grounds while still smoking.

Michael French looks like a surfer and is a regular clubber himself – he was up until 5am.

He wraps up the prayer meeting with a nod and a “Cool” and the party of five leave the calm of the church for the thumping music outside.

When we walked the streets it was impressive to see the warm greetings and praise they got from doormen, club promotions workers and police.

The volunteers won’t step into a fight but can help with the aftermath – the injured, the upset and the abandoned.

They help drunk or ill people get home.

And they carry water, plasters, prayer cards and clean wipes – especially useful for people who’ve been sick on themselves.

That night was payday and the streets around Horseshoe Common were teeming with people.

Suddenly two drunks scuffled by Lava Ignite and four police arrived to separate them.

One snarled at the back of one officer: “Are you blind? Are you blind?”

The policeman displayed the patience of a saint.

He kept his back turned so he could watch over a female colleague until the drunk was pulled away by a friend.

The volunteers were mostly relaxed amid the swearing and staggering.

Michael does admit the chaos can distract him from the inner calm that is an important part of his faith.

By 1am, a persistent rain was falling and everyone took a break in Bravo café.

Earlier, one of the flyer men had warned the town was full of off-duty soldiers who could cause trouble.

Between bites of a burger, Father John, from St Jude and St Luke’s in Parkstone, shook his head and told me: “We get a lot of respect from military people.

“A few weeks ago we had one going to Afghanistan.

“He spent a lot of time with me. He really didn’t want to go. He said he was frightened of leaving his family.

“I just said I would pray for him and I hope it all goes well.”

This is the first night out for husband and wife volunteers John Brook, 62, and Sue, 54, from Corfe Mullen.

John said: “Instead of talking to each other we have got to get the love of Jesus out on the streets.”

They can get some abuse from the drunks, but none that I saw.

However Michael’s predecessor had his nose broken by a clubber two weeks before he left.

Volunteer Ellie Wilson, a 25-year-old piano-playing theology student from Charminster, said: “I have never felt threatened, not really.”

She added: “If you look at the Bible, people were always telling Jesus off for hanging around with people they said were not respectable, like prostitutes and tax collectors.

“This is exactly the sort of thing he would be doing today – going out talking to everyday people.”

The group enjoyed the work and hope their caring attitude will rub off.

But they also seem to feel a strong sense of responsibility Father John has started openly wearing his dog collar. “If you are given that authority, you shouldn’t shy away from it,” he said.