At a recent Growing Messy Church Leaders training day, I encouraged the sharing of stories and we heard some of the challenges Messy teams are currently facing. It is Messy! With Martyn retiring and the Messy Church BRF team suddenly looking a lot smaller, we’re also challenged. Please pray for us as we consider how to resource the work going forward.
We’ve been looking at the reasons why some Messy Churches have decided to stop this year. Some just need a break to review or plan ecumenically in the community. But some stop because the team is tired. We feel your pain. So we’ve come up with some ideas for ways to make 2018 a little bit less stressful for everyone.
Six ways to take the strain out of Messy Church leadership
Give the team members time-out. If you feel your team members are getting weary, why not pop an invitation into their Christmas card to take time out? ‘Gasp! Shock! Horror!’ I hear! ‘We need them!’ But trust me: they’ll appreciate the pastoral care and sensitivity, and they will come back.
Look at your Messy congregation and invite one or two families to contribute to the team in some way. Take them out for a coffee and chat about the skills they may have. At my L19 Messy Church, we asked the Messy congregation what they had to share with us. It was fascinating. There are so many hidden talents… We discovered a lady who plays the bagpipes and other musical instruments!
Look into your community and find the Scouts or Guide unit. Could they each pop to Messy Church once next year to share some skills that could go towards their badge work?
Think about local businesses. Check out the themes you may have planned ahead (the Get Messy! magazine has lots of ideas). Do you need the expertise of a builder, a florist, a beautician who uses frankincense oils? They will be in your community somewhere. Just ask for a one-off visit and see what happens. They may be glad of the exposure.
Be open-minded. Try not to always gravitate towards people who are like you. Be bold and approach someone you wouldn’t normally ask to be on the team. It will keep your team alive and kicking and fresh.
Ring the changes! Try to plan each session using a variety of Bible translations. Discuss the verses as if you were in the actual story, hearing, smelling and seeing. Then decide what activities you will share with your Messy congregation. Does this make a difference to your planning together?
If you have other suggestions for taking care of the team, or for making life a bit easier, post them on our Facebook page or tweet us – we’d love to hear from you.
Lucy and I will certainly be sending Martyn time-out invitations this Christmas: a time to refresh, re-energise and listen to God about the future. He may start to learn how to play the bagpipes or try a brick-layers course! Martyn has shared so many gifts and talents with us in meetings, training and in his fabulous blogs, not counting his books and visual storytellings! I will miss his daily encouragement via email, Skype and WhatsApp. I know, though, that he will praying for us all, as we will be praying for him.
So, take this Advent time to consider your team and be bold in invitation. Be open to change and be excited about what God has in store. Jesus certainly kept breaking new ground with his disciples, so we can do the same.
We pray that your desire to be bold will be a gift to your community!