Thursday, 5 May 2011

Messy Church

Pill Corps is among the 400+ churches in the UK who now run Messy Church. I don't want to go into the dynamics of what Messy Church is other than to say that it involves craft, worship, the Bible, prayer and food. We run Messy Church once a month on a Sunday afternoon and in the three months we have been going we have seen at least 8 new families sharing worship with us. One of the best things has been the way it has developed a friendship with a Mum, who has moved to our village from India and is a Muslim. How great is it that we made an Easter garden together, which included a cross and an empty tomb and I had the joy of explaining to her what it all meant?

But I think our corps is messy anyway, regardless of whether we are joining in this latest outreach opportunity, labled Messy Church. Our youth group is messy, not just because they have a tendency to leave crisp packets and sweet wrappers all over the floor but because these unchurched kids are chaotic. They are loud, stroppy and are forever falling out with one another. Yet at the same time they are so, so vulnerable and insecure. I worry about the danger of one of them ending up as a teenage mum, whether one will be able to resist the lure of spiritualism and the anger issues of another are scary. We attempt to introduce them to Jesus and now and then we know that they sense his presence. We keep praying that the Holy Spirit who hovered over the chaos at creation will envelop them and bring each of them new life in Christ.

Sometimes I get up in the morning and I imagine what it must be like to know what the day ahead will bring. Wouldn't it be nice to have a tick the box kind of life, where a task could be started and finished and moved on from?

But for me, officership and ministry isn't like that. A phone call from someone I did prayer ministry with years ago reveals again the necessity of discerning the difference between spiritual oppression and mental illness. And I find myself telling her the same things over and over again. Why do good ideas for meetings come not in the planned prep time but on Saturday, right in the middle of Dr Who? A promise to pray for someone can turn into me nervously giving that person a challenging prophetic word, hoping that they will accept it graciously. When someone comes to faith, another is filled with the Spirit or a corps becomes excited about prayer, it's not just a result, it's another new unpredictable adventure.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a tick the box kind of life, where a task could be started and finished and moved on from?

As they say in Yorkshire, "Would it heck as like!"

No. Give me messy any day of the week.

God bless


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