When running a Messy Church becomes testing
'Oh no, Dave’s not available this month for Messy Church and possibly for the next two months because of the operation; Doreen’s taking a break because of pressure of work; and it looks like Karen’s cold is turning into flu, so she might not be there either. We’re going to be really pushed to have enough people to staff the activity tables and prepare the Messy meal this month. Good job we can always rely on Peter to tell the Bible story. But what if….'
Does this sound familiar? By their very nature, Messy Churches are vulnerable. It’s both a strength that this is most definitely ‘team church’, but also our Achilles heel. It doesn’t take much for Messy Churches to be on the edge of not happening some months and even, sadly, to come to a halt.
It saddens us as a team to hear stories of some Messy Churches who decide they have to finish because of this in-built fragility. But what’s even sadder is that sometimes Sunday church just lets this happen and doesn’t seem to care! There would be a huge outcry if Sunday morning couldn’t run because of illness, operations or pressure of work!
Messy Church at its best is at the cutting edge of what all our churches should be about, namely evangelism and mission into the community. This is why we exist and it's God’s purpose for us as his ambassadors for the kingdom in our messy world. Messy Church isn’t an optional extra that can be ditched when the pressure gets too much, but is core to who we are as a Christian community. And so surely this requires others to step up to the mark when things are tough?
Ensuring that Messy Churches are resilient in the face of such pressures is a challenge and needs the wholehearted support of the whole congregation and the minister. But, at the same time, we also need to look ahead and be on the lookout for those people God is sending, of whatever age, to be part of our present and future team. I am wondering what ideas you have from your experience of Messy Church to help us build this sort of resilience for the sake of the Gospel? Do be in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notwithstanding, there is always one great comfort and encouragement for us in all this, namely the promise we have that even when we are weak, God is strong! Thankfully, Messy Church teams prove that to be true again and again and again!