Written by Roberta J. Egli
Workshops, conversations at the table, bookstore and Bonfires are the focus of this final “Getting Messy in the USA” conference wrap up. In our full schedule, there was an opportunity to sign up for two workshops and according to the post-conference survey; more time in workshops would have been appreciated. Participants wrote: “Wish there had been time to attend more of the workshops”, “Longer so I could have done three workshops instead of two”, and “More time”. Perhaps at a future conference, we will need to extend our time to two full days instead of an evening plus one day.
The full list of Workshops included: Messy Hospitality, Messy Togetherness, Messy Music, Messy Meals, Messy Celebration, Messy Creativity, Growing a Messy Team, Taking Messy Church Home, Best Practices to start a Messy Church. Notice a messy Theme?
Many people valued the break times in the courtyard to gather and start or continue messy conversations with new friends. Sitting around a table in the sun, munching on fruit and various trail mixes was a great opportunity to hear how God is alive and moving through Messy Church. In addition to the courtyard, the bookstore was busy during the break times. We quickly sold out of the books that had been purchased through BRF and the CD’s from Fischy Music. Having the resources available though was an important aspect of the conference for many participants.
A big thanks to Marty Drake and Leyla Wagner for arranging for all volunteers who helped to serve such great food. The taco grill on Friday night was especially yummy and gave us all an idea of what life is like in southern California!
Speaking about life in southern California– many people from the conference stayed for a bonfire on beach on Saturday evening. When we arrived a bit late laughter, music, and conversation could be heard around the large bonfire. Making a s’more was so easy since it was all organized into packets with two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate. Martyn Payne had his first s’more and pronounced it good!
So what is next? The Messy Church USA board is in discussion regarding when and where to hold a ‘second’ Messy Church USA conference. Possibilities include a USA conference every two years with regional events in the years between. The International Messy Church conference will be in England in May of 2019.
Here are ideas from the survey of future topics for workshops/ conference. What do you think?
- How to bring Messy churchgoers into regular church. How to encourage more donations/volunteering.
- How to advertise and promote.
- Large vs Small church formats, workshops for long-term MC vs beginning.
- Running a Bi-lingual Messy Church
- Maybe a panel Q & A with people who have done it a year or more
- Maybe common pitfalls, or learning from our mistakes
- Ideas for seasonal Messy Churches — Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc. Also, it would have been great to attend 3 workshops, if that would work with the schedule.
- How to help other churches start there MC