More sabbatical musings. Another aspect of Messy Church is ‘the ordinary’.
So much of what I’ve read has been about God primarily working through the ordinary and everyday rather than miracles and uplifting spiritual events. Messy Church is profoundly ordinary and grounded in inviting ordinary people to come just as we are, recognising God at work in ordinary everyday ways: the ‘family’ stage of life is often a drudgery and a plod –parents have given up so much for the sake of their children and have lost the thrills and spills of single or child-free life. Churchwise there isn’t the freedom to serve God hands-free or even to have quiet times. There are more boring ongoing daily responsibilities – children don’t grow up and achieve overnight – it’s a long haul for them and for parents. Messy Church puts this drudgery into a bigger metanarrative and says not ’You can be holy once you’ve got the kids off your hands and can be single-mindedly God’s once again’, but ‘God is in this phase of your life with you; his church is with you. This is a growing time in community – an amazing opportunity to serve God in a different way.’ Again some of the more structured discipleship approaches seem to assume singleness , availability of time and lack of family responsibilities. Messy Church puts family at the centre. Also in our own Messy work as a team, we can expect it to be quite a plod – the ordinariness of growth is an organic Godly outcome, like a field of wheat growing in the night time. Ours isn’t a ministry of fireworks! On a walk you need to look up to see the bigger picture but you also need to get your head down and watch your feet and plod painfully upwards.