Thank you to Lindsey at Community United Methodist Church Messy Church, Huntington Beach, California, USA for allowing us to publish her story. Get along to the Messy Church Conference USA on 20–21 October 2017 in Los Angeles to hear even more discipleship stories for encouragement.
Where I’ve seen God at Messy Church
If I’m speaking honestly, we do not habitually attend church. Despite our both being raised with a Christian background, and regularly speaking openly and honestly with our children about God, my husband and I do not actively partake in the activity that nearly 40% of Americans say they do every Sunday. So when I was approached by Marty Drake about Messy Church, while doing preschool drop-off one morning, I was a bit taken aback. It made me uncomfortable. My husband was not raised in the Methodist Church, as I had been, and, since I hadn’t been in so many years, I had absolutely no idea how they ran things these days. Would we be judged for not going to church? Were they going to try and push their religion on us? Even worse, our kids? What if they taught things differently than we did at home and it was confusing?
After nearly an entire school year of approaches and excuses, I gave in. The first thing I noticed was how gently the subject of God was being approached. They were in no way abrasive about or even mentioned the fact that we didn’t attend a church. Their focus was solely and completely bringing the word of God to our children and their families. My kids completely blossomed at Messy Church. They were independently crafting, playing and not only learning about Bible stories, but retaining what they had learned as well. Messy Church has raised questions in our home about subjects we had not been discussing, one of the greatest being baptism.
It has become something my family and I look forward to the second Saturday of every month. So much so that I’ve actually joined the planning board for Messy Church and absolutely love it! So, when I think of how I’ve seen God at Messy Church, the answer should be simple: we learn about him while we are there, so that must be where we see him. But, that’s not where I’ve seen him. God brought me to Messy Church. He stayed with Marty to keep approaching me. He opened not only my heart but my husband’s as well, just the tiniest bit to get us to go in the first place. He showed up big time for my children, who have beautiful blind faith, to keep them learning and thriving in his word. And, he brought the Messy Church family into our lives to create new and meaningful dialogue that was completely outside of our box.
To me, God isn’t just a subject of Messy Church; God is the heart of Messy Church.