In a conversation about ‘results’ Colin and Angela Brown mentioned a letter by Thomas Merton to a young activist which makes good sense to all of us trying to ‘do’ in our Messy Churches.
Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything
There is something very challenging about his phrase ‘you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people’. Messy Church is just an idea: what matters is the individuals, old and young, congregation and leaders, who belong to it.