Query about teams

Published 11th June 2010 by lucy moore

An enquiry came through a little while ago that I don’t feel competent to answer: anyone got any thoughts for John? 
John wrote:
We are considering starting Messy Church at St Mary’s, Greenham, but one key problem is that there isn’t a lay leader with a vision for it, though I am sure there will be folk to join a team. I am the vicar (bit on the old side, but have done children’s work in the past), and would be willing to coordinate a team, with the help of a young, single gap year volunteer. My hope is that a dedicated leader will emerge in a year or so. Do you have any experience of churches in a similar position or advice?
John Clarke

(This is my inadequate reply)
Dear JohnThanks for your enquiry. Hmmm, interesting one. Is it OK if I put it on the blog in case anyone has more experience of this than I do? My feeling is that if you have a core team of three to four people, you can move mountains as everyone else will just join in without responsibility at first, but will see how easy it is and take on more responsibility later. But it would be good to hear what other people say. Another possibility is to join up with another local church and run an ecumenical MC, which goes down very well in several places like Petersfield and Billingshurst.All the best with your plansLucy

Monday 14 June And your answers have come cavorting in! Many thanks!
First from Revd Tim Waghorn:
Hi John, you will be quite surprised if you yourself start the Messy Church. I know it is a major draw on time and energy, however, the rewards for building God’s Kingdom make it worth the while.
I’m not exactly young myself, but running Messy Church myself has proven to be a worthwhile commitment. The community know me as the ‘God person’ for the region, which has given this service additional impact. It makes for a full day (as we are running Messy Church every Sunday, following on from two morning services). What has happened is that by starting the service, lay helpers have begun to see how it all works, and have come on board. Sometimes, having a competent clergy taking initiative will empower them to get onboard.
– Reverend Tim Waghorn, St Augustines. Mont Albert North, Victoria Australiawww.staugustines.org.au
And then from our old friend Sue Avery:
When I first encountered Messy Church at a neighbouring town, I was absolutely thrilled and knew that this was exactly what my community required. I am not a lay leader. In fact, up until eight years ago I would have described myself as an atheist. Oh how things have changed now. But the point is, I had the vision for Messy Church in my village. I went along to my vicar and PCC and told them I wanted to do this. Very kindly they agreed. Now I consider myself the key organiser, with the vicar and curate helping out when they can. I do not feel that the “leader” needs to be a lay person or anything else as long as they have the support from their congregation and their leaders. I have not had the experience of gap year students, but what I would do, would be to try and encourage those persons, who you feel may embrace the Messy Church phenomena, to visit a local Messy Church, see just how well it works and hopefully come back enthused and ready to fire up the spirit and enthusiasm of others. That’s what I did about 2 years ago and our Messy Church is now in its 17th month!
Hope that’s of some help
Sue Avery
And from Paulette:
Hi John, anyone with enthusiasm and willingness can do Messy Church! Ours has grown from just a small team of 4 to a planning team of 8. We only run MC 3/4 times a year so it is manageable ( although we run a weekly Teatime Church. Like Sue I wonder about young adults, perhaps sixth formers at the local school could help but I think you’ll be amazed how many of your congregation will help out on the day. We have about 30 out of 60 sign up. We can now plan a Messy Church in one meeting and there’s loads on the website to help. Prayers are with you. Paulette Thompson
And from Becky Sedgewick
You do need a leader to oversee everything you do at your Messy Church, but our experience has been that by sharing out the responsibilities it has not been that onerous. At our Messy Church we have divided the responsibilities up into discrete areas. I oversee it all, but only actively get involved with the craft side of things. So we have a craft team, a catering team, a worship team and – most importantly – a cleaning up team! Each team has a leader who is responsible for their area on the day as well as for making sure they have a team for the day and that everything is prepared. I just check in with them a couple of weeks beforehand to make sure everything is OK, and do the general admin.
Before we started Messy Church, we spent a couple of weeks in church explaining what Messy Church was and our vision for it in our community. We also identified the people who were happy to head up each team. We then asked people to sign up for a particular team and found that we got more volunteers that way, because they knew exactly what they were signing up to and didn’t have to worry about being asked to do things outside their experience or comfort zone. And actually, the result is about 30 volunteers who are thrilled with Messy Church and virtually all of them are about to sign up for their second year as a Messy Church volunteer!

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