Roberta J. Egli
“I know you” shouted an excited fifth grader at recess as she ran to the fence of her elementary school to greet Tamara and Mark Manning, the leaders of a Messy Church in Jefferson Oregon. She continued, “you go to MY church, MY Messy Church– I LOVE IT– when is the next one?” Tami shared this story with me recently which brought a smile to my face as I have also experienced that ‘I know you’ moment in unexpected places, like the potato chip aisle of a neighborhood grocery store.
Finding a place to belong, for young and old, is a basic human need, especially in a world where there is polarization, conflict and division. To find a place where we can know others and can be known and loved unconditionally is life giving. What Messy Church stories of belonging do you have?
“Belonging is at the heart of what we’re trying to do in Messy Church.“
Lucy Moore, Founder of Messy Church
Lucy Moore reflected in a blog post way back in 2016 that “belonging is at the heart of what we’re trying to do in Messy Church. We want people to be able to say with integrity and excitement, ‘this is our church. This is our God. This is our Story. This is our Family. This is where we feel at home, accepted, known by name and free to take risks because we know that here we are most deeply loved.” Check out Lucy’s belonging barometer by clicking above.
Messy Church at Jefferson UMC meets every other month. At one of their more recent Messy Churches they had 32 people in attendance- a few more people than attended that week’s Sunday morning worship. Messy Church at Jefferson UMC is a great example of a small but mighty Messy Church. They are connecting with people in their town that do not belong at any other church.
I remember being discouraged when our ‘numbers’ for our Messy Church decreased in its second year and our team gathered to discuss what we were doing ‘wrong’ since our numbers had dropped. One wise team member shared that in her opinion, smaller numbers gave us a great opportunity to meet our goal to strengthen relationships within our Messy Church community. With a smaller group we were able to spend more time with each other and get to know one another more deeply. What I originally viewed as a problem became a great opportunity!
Messy Churches come in all shapes and sizes, just like the Messy families that gather together! In fact, in the 2016 Messy Church survey, 43% of churches across the globe have 21-40 people attend regularly, what many of us may describe as small. My friends, small is not something to use as a disclaimer when we describe our Messy Churches but it is something to celebrate! Claim your gifts as a small Messy Church! You are building relationships, you are creating space for people to belong and you are sharing the good news that we are all known and loved by God. May your Messy Church be Small but Mighty! Messy Blessings, Roberta
Go to our FB page to share your “Hey, I know you” stories!
Sign up for Messy Church International Conference May 3-5 2019
Sign up for Messy Church USA Scholarship to attend MCIC 2019
Lucy’s Most Recent Blog post on Brokenness
Click here to learn about Messy Church USA Fall Training Events in Washington, California, Texas and South Carolina