There will be exciting positive months when everything goes well, crowds are pawing at the door asking searching questions about the place of suffering in the world, and when every craft leads young and old into a deep relationship with God and with each other.
And there will be months where nobody comes except your own family, the cooks waltz off to Corfu without telling you, the heating breaks down, your own children declare they would rather watch The X Factor, the celebration team chooses a song from Favourite Victorian Sickly Selections, the crafts appear futile and you get marbling ink all over your favourite top.
Things that you can put in place before such a month to help you refrain from hiding under the duvet till it all goes away include:
- Know you are part of a network of people who want to support you - find your Regional Coordinator, share your story and get in touch.
- Establish a regular training/reflection time for your team. The Messy Church DVD has lots of material to help you look at the bigger picture.
- Tell God your frustrations and ask a prayer team to commit to praying for you all every month.
- Remember that God isn't limited by mistakes and that his strength is made perfect in our weakness: he can and does redeem dire situations.
- Keep a record of 'God moments'.
- Remind yourself of the bigger picture, of the way you are making disciples, and that this is slow faithful work, not a quick fix, especially among those who have been hurt by church in the past or whose family lives are remarkably messy.
- Think imaginatively about how to grow those disciples you're making: what is the next step for that one person you've noticed is interested?