There are dozens of experimental New Faith Communities being planted around the world these days… and almost that many in our own Conference! People are imagining all kinds of ways of connecting with new people! It is clear, we are in an exciting time of risk taking, when people feel freed up to allow their creativity to run wild! Many of these strategies take into consideration the diverse learning styles of people in our culture, for whom traditional worship may seem a bit dull! The common thread is always sharing the good news of God’s love and grace, and inviting new people to follow Jesus with us! But the strategies are all over the map!
One such strategy that has been in existence for many years in Europe is currently gaining popularity in our own country. it is called “Messy Church.” Sound intriguing?
Each instance of Messy Church is unique. But, there are a few key ingredients that mark them all: It is typically intergenerational (often with elders alongside and engaged with children). It is always experiential with lots of opportunity for people to engage the faith with their minds, hands and bodies. There is always food involved (a simple meal is served, where community is formed around tables). There is brief, engaging worship. And, each Messy Church event is shaped around a theme, or a Bible story, so that all the experiences teach a biblical concept in a memorable, transformative way.
Messy Church is often held in Fellowship Halls or public spaces (parks or school halls). And, it is typically held at some other time than Sunday morning. Many are on a weekday evening, or a Sunday afternoon/evening. Messy Church often is NOT held every week, but once or twice a month.
For a really good picture of what Messy Church might look like, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN7cD64Dh50
And, for LOTS more information, check out the Messy Church website: http://www.messychurch.org.uk
There are at least two churches currently planting new faith communities in our Conference using strategies that feel a lot like Messy Church. They are 1st Oneonta UMC with their NFC called “The Gathering” which is held on Sunday nights… guided by Rev. Teressa Sivers. And, Salem UMC, under the leadership of Rev. Debbie Earthrowl who is doing a new thing on Thursday nights. Both are bringing new persons into relationship with Christ thru a more experiential approach. Contact them to learn what they are learning!
Is it possible God is calling you to find new ways of making disciples in your neighborhood thru holding your own Messy Church like events?