There’s a big difference between the tingle and terror that zaps around the team just before your first ever Messy Church and the less urgent feeling just before your 45th month of Mess. It’s only human – human beings thrive on novelty and innovation, so when things settle into a routine, it can be hard to keep on believing in it in your heart as well as in your head. It can be hard to muster up the energy, to feel thankful to God, to feel inspired to make the most of every minute of the Mess.
Yes, I have been onlineally silent for a week or so, but in real life haven't stopped talking for the last week as it was our long-awaited International Forum at the BRF office in Abingdon. It was of course great fun and a huge privilege to spend time with four dynamic people from Canada and Australia and to discover those little things that add colour to a previously email-only relationship, an Aussie addiction to CocoPops being but one.
The Poole Messy Church leaders had arranged a meeting over morning coffee to chat and find out how to support each other, and very kindly invited me along. Leaders from Parkstone URC / St Peter's, Longfleet Baptist and Parkstone Baptist told their stories and shared their joys and sorrows, and I listened and filled in a little about how we at BRF can support them in all the brilliant stuff they're doing.
A thatched pub in the New Forest in the sunshine: there are worse places to meet, and it was excellent to find out about the Sophia Network from one of its founders, Sharon Prior. You can read all about Sophia here. It's an organisation that exists to connect women in youth work and ministry to access training, develop skills and share wisdom. It's open to men as well and is a very positive, helpful, well-resourced organisation: well worth joining up (especially as it's free).