At our most recent team meeting, we were humbled and amazed to hear how so many of you have responded to the £100 Messy Church Challenge that we put out at the end of last year. We are so grateful for those who set aside a generous donation to enable BRF’s Messy Church team to continue its work of cheering on Messy Churches throughout the world. We already knew what a great Messy community you are out there, but this was the icing on the cake!
So, if you were one of those churches who gave us money to support this ministry, we want to say a huge thank you, especially as we know that most Messy Churches often struggle to cover the costs of their own activities, let alone pass on something to others.
This money is helping to keep the team on the road, enabling Lucy to represent Messy Church in a variety of national networks and of course introduce Messy Church for the first time to so many denominations and organisations, not only in this country but around the world. She is off to the United States very soon, where there is a growing interest in Messy Church, and her inspirational speaking and thinking has helped so many Messy Churches to get started, as some of you will know first-hand.
This money will help Jane to continue her amazing work of building an international network of Messy Church Regional Coordinators, who keep in touch with Messy Churches in their local area and do their best to resource, encourage and inspire local churches involved in Messy Church mission. This network is now almost 100 strong and full of the most amazing Messy champions and advocates.
This money will help support Martyn as he continues his research and reflections on how Messy Church is working out in practice in many contexts and communities around the UK. He has now visited over 150 Messy Churches and met up with leaders from many more, as he has travelled and listened to inspirational stories as well as talked through some of the challenges and insights that are coming from across the network.
This money will help resource the vital administrative support given by BRF to the Messy Church movement through its publications, publicity and national advocacy. Without the commitment of BRF surrounding and encouraging the growth of Messy Church, the team would not be able to function! Many at BRF, for example, are busy at this moment helping to plan and run our first international Messy Church conference this May.
Messy Church growth shows no sign of slowing down! On the contrary, the number of churches registering on the directory is hitting all-time highs each month and the feedback and stories on the Facebook page make it clear that God is at work through this Messy movement of God’s Spirit.
Messy Church is enabling the local church to engage in its mission, sharing God’s love with the people on its doorstep. It is community evangelism at its best – not a Sunday guest service, nor a grand rally, nor street preaching, but faith sharing in a Messy safe space. Messy Church offers a recipe for a healthy, growing church: outsiders and insiders in the mix, established and new Christians on the team, and old and young doing faith together. And what’s more, the presence of children in a Messy Church, rather than hindering, actually makes adult discipleship possible – it’s what Jesus recommends in Matthew 18:3!
We recently received this encouraging email:
‘We have just had our most recent Messy Church and it was a “wow” for many people. The power of God was there and the feedback about our care, love and welcome was so generous. We even had visitors praying with us for strength to continue! We are now in our fifth year, and we are realising more and more how we have been blessed as so many elderly folk in our church have taken on roles to help. We have made a plan for the next two years to do parables from St Luke (each family had a St Luke’s Gospel to take home this last time) and we are seeing families returning regularly. We hope and pray they may soon also come to other events at our church which are being developed, as they feel comfortable with us. Interestingly, several toddler families are now coming too, which is new. Thanks from all our team for the inspiration and support you have continually given us.’
So at the risk of repeating ourselves, thank you again for your tremendous support in prayer and giving and through the encouraging stories you share!The future of the church is Messy!