We’ve been alternating between laughter and banging our heads against a wall recently as we’ve had two emails, which show what an impossible job we’re trying to do. One says the activities in Get Messy! are too advanced for the young children coming to their Messy Church, and one says they are too toddler-oriented for the older children at their Messy Church!
We sympathise very much with both writers, and always love getting emails from anyone engaged in this Messy mission. We especially value thoughtful feedback on the magazine. And we completely understand what a difficult job Messy Church leaders are doing as all of us try to welcome and provide for people of all ages. I think we (as in ‘everyone in the network’) underestimate how amazing Messy leaders and teams are being: it is REALLY HARD and you do a BRILLIANT JOB. So don’t give up! Together we will do this thing, and do it well.
Remember that the only reason BRF produces Get Messy! at all is because we were implored to, once people had got to the end of the activities in the books. ‘We have no time to think of ideas!’ was the cry. ‘We don’t have the imagination!’ Some people have the gift of looking at a toilet roll tube and instantly seeing how it can be exploited to explore the idea of salvation by grace; others just don’t have that gift. The magazine is there to provide a jumping-off point – a cornucopia of inspiration, if you will. It certainly isn’t a curriculum to follow slavishly. The writers’ teams each year work very hard with me and with the editor to provide a range of thoughtful and thought-provoking activities, but the ten ideas are always only suggestions. Part of the fun and growth of your own imagination and theological development is saying, ‘This is great, but I have an even better idea!’
So bear with us as we do our best. Keep feeding back what works and what doesn’t in your honest and robust (but kind) way. And let every frustration become an opportunity to break new ground.