Have you ever had the internal dilemma about whether or not to go to an event or maybe Messy Church? If you’ve ever wondered what difference your presence makes or had that suspicion that no one would notice if you didn’t show up, then read on…
At the Messy Church Conference 2022, Dr Paula Gooder challenged and inspired us with her thoughtful insights around our theme of ‘making a difference’ to our communities and the world. However, her first port of call was to remind us that building the kingdom of God is not down to us! Surprised? So often we rush onwards with our earnest plans and forget that God is the key player. God’s already at work changing the world and God just wants us to show up and join in.
How can we do this? Paula brilliantly explained three aspects of vocation found in the Bible. I’m just going to talk about her first point, which was if we have a name and the very fact that we’re alive, then we have a vocation, which is to follow and praise God (Psalm 71:6). We are human beings before human doings – isn’t that awesome! We make a difference just by showing up and being who we are.
Not only that, but Psalm 139:13 reminds us that God’s known us since before we were born and thinks we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ in all the different shapes, sizes, colours and personalities that we bear. So often we fall into the trap of thinking that we only add value in this life by the things we do and achieve. However, the Bible makes it clear that it’s not just about what we do, but it’s our very being that can make a difference in God’s economy.
To illustrate my point, let me tell you about a child called Levi. He’s only five, and his very presence at our very new My Messy Church Goes Wild makes all the difference. He’s so full of joy and wonder, he just makes everyone smile. I’ve watched him run and greet a school friend with the biggest hug ever, such an enormous welcome for a first-time visitor. He enthusiastically shoots his hand in the air, gasping to answer questions during the celebration and unreservedly throws himself into any of the activities, drawing others to look, see and wonder with him. He positively effervesces with infectious joy.
As I spend time at Messy Church with Levi, I am learning something about being the person God has called me to be, which looks different to my five-year-old friend. Can you think of someone in your Messy Church or family who makes a difference just by being who they are? Next time we start to question our identity and purpose, let’s remember that we can be the difference, when we choose to be in God’s presence and join in with God’s amazing adventure, we call life.
BRF Messy Church ministry lead