Messy Church Does Science - Writer's day!
For one day at the beginning of October a meeting room in our BRF offices in Abingdon became a messy laboratory!
An invited group of dedicated scientists from different disciplines, who are all also involved in a local Messy Church, gathered to share their ideas for the 10 chapters that will make up ‘Messy Church Does Science’.
So what do you get if you put a mathematician, a chemist, a medic, an engineer, a physicist and a computer expert in the same room together? Answer: a lot of scientific energy and passion that exploded into a non-stop flow of exciting experiments that would work in Messy Church!
Each of these scientists is also a Christian, who want messy families to enjoy the excitement of discovery and the fun of exploring the wonders of God’s universe. Sadly in popular culture there is a perceived conflict between science and faith and as result some Christians try not to think about the subject or even fear its study. But the truth is scientific understanding can enhance faith. Faith isn’t a matter of ‘no questions asked’ nor of ‘all answers given' but like science is a journey into the wonder and mystery of God’s love.
BRF’s Messy Church has been embraced wholeheartedly by many local churches and through it we have the opportunity, as well as the creative imagination and energy, to bring science into the way we ‘do church’. We can help the subject become an accepted and expected part of worship and learning; and a means by which we can meet God and learn to love the natural world.
The family focus in Messy Church also means we can inspire scientists of the future. We can teach them some basic scientific skills and influence attitudes and expectations towards science and faith. We can help a generation see that there is no dichotomy between science and faith but rather how the two can fruitfully exist side by side.
The scientists in the room that day are all committed to this challenge and as we considered each of the chapters in the book they sparked each other off producing ideas for risky but doable messy experiments that will help Messy Churches explore Bible stories in a scientific way that will complement the other creative activities in a session.
The BRF Messy Church team that day just listened in amazement as the ideas came thick and fast and even those of us who had dropped science subjects way back in secondary school where excited by the prospect of creating continuous motion with a battery, magnet and a screw; of projecting rainbows on the ceilings of churches; of building a simple pump that imitated the amazing work of the heart; of doing brain surgery in jelly; and of creating clouds in a bottle. The ideas in this book are going to be amazing and each one will help us grow in our faith in God who not only made the world but sustains it; a loving God who is intimately involved in all that goes on in his creation.
Following this hothouse laboratory day of ideas, the scientists involved and some others who couldn’t make that day will now be writing the chapters of the book as well trying out and photographing these experiments in their own Messy Churches.
We are often challenged in Messy Church that the creative activities don’t really stretch either the adults or the older children. Including science experiments is one answer to this, helping messy leaders to think out of the box when it comes to exploring the Bible story. This book and the resources that will be made available to support it are certainly going to take us into new dimensions and to help us 'boldly go where no Messy Church has gone before'!