Introduction to East Goshen Friends
Samantha Hoffman, primary contact for East Goshen Friends Messy Church wrote to us after renewing their membership with Messy Church USA in late December. She shared exciting news! They had a drive-through style Messy Church in December where Messy folk received some Christmas joy and a bag full of everything they need to have Messy Church at home. The Messy Bag included star shaped cards, ornaments and paint, items for edible nativity and even some sugar cookies and frosting to decorate. As each car stopped at the entry porch, they were asked if they had bibles at home for their children. If they did not, they were offered a children’s story bible for toddles and Action Bibles for elementary and older family members. there were 23 cars that participated and they gave away 11 children’s bible and 6 teen bibles. Great news indeed! Congratulations Samantha and your great team for shining a bright light in your community.
Who is East Goshen Friends Messy Church?
East Goshen Friends Church is a small, multigenerational church in Beloit, Ohio. Our church values the family of faith, from young to old. We have been emphasizing the importance of focusing on the family as a whole, from the small family unit to all that makeup the family. Christ teaches us that the family of God is inclusive of all, focusing on love through the ups and downs. Messy Church is the perfect avenue for multi generations to interact and we are so glad that our church body has now fully embraced it. In one Messy Church, we had a 1 month old interacting with a 95 year old! What better way to see the love of God than to see joy between the children of God.
Messy Folk answers to “What I like best about Messy Church”
- “I like the relaxed atmosphere that allows time to talk and get to know each other.” – Samantha, age 43
- “The Messy Stuff” – Wyatt, age 7
- “I like the hands-on activities” – Mitchell, age 14
- “I like that we get to emphasize fun for the whole family, but yet the entire worship experience points to who Jesus is.” -Josh, age 28
- “The intergenerational interaction between the young and old” – Beth, age 44
Favorite Messy Activities
In our first Messy Church, Sinking Fears, we created a giant vat of non Newtonian liquid (cornstarch and water). The kids lingered at this activity and loved “walking on the water”
Cups o’ love
Our messy folk really dove into a community service in which we created our Cups o’ love. We filled mugs with hot chocolate mix, tea bags and an encouraging note. These mugs were sent home in the weekend meal bags that our church sends to students in need at our local church.
At Home Paul and Silas in Jail
In October 2020 our Messy Church at home bags included an edible story activity. Families were given graham crackers & pretzel sticks (representing the jail pieces) and gummy bears ( representing Paul and Silas). They were given instructions to retell the story of Paul and Silas in Jail from Acts 16: 16-34. One of Messy Families with young children loved being able to act out the story of Paul and Silas with the graham crackers, pretzels and gummy bears. They were especially excited to praise Jesus after and then finish the story by eating it the props!
What worked well for you in getting support to start your Messy Church?
Our Church had been seeking a means to engage, develop and grow relationships with new families for some time. So, when we presented the concept of Messy Church to our church oversight board, they were intrigued, but uncertain of exactly how it would work. We followed-up with a visit to a Messy Church in our region and attended the “What Is Messy Church?” workshop. Feeling inspired and confident that Messy Church was God’s leading to the beginning of relationship building at East Goshen, we set-out to plan our first Messy Church. Our congregation readily embraced the idea, donated all of the supplies, volunteered and engaged in our Messy Church.
What challenges have you encountered with your Messy Church and how did you find solutions?
Over the past year, our Messy Church has been a beautiful intergenerational worship experience well-received within our existing church families. We have enjoyed each other’s fellowship, but long for more families to join in our Messy Church. Covid-19 has led us to push Messy Church invitations through means we had previously overlooked. We reached-out to our local school districts and asked if they would distribute Messy church flyers to their students. One district declined, but the other enthusiastically agreed and we got to meet 3 new families. We also pushed Messy Church promotional invites via Facebook and met 5 new families.
How has your Messy Church adapted during the COVID Pandemic?
In March, we went remote and posted Messy Church at home on our Church website with little response. We took the summer off to reset and refocus.
In September, we held a drive-through Messy Church in a Box (pizza box) with a gift certificate for a free pizza and all of the activities for the David and Goliath theme (including a toy slingshot). In the back of our parking lot we had 2 giant Goliath cut-outs. As they drove by, families were encouraged to post a fear on the first Goliath and pray for God’s strength. Then, as they left, they got to throw water balloons at the second Goliath. Attendance was slim, but we did have 1 new family attend.
In October, we held a Fall Festival Messy Church using the Paul and Silas story. We had planned for stations to be set-up outside with good social distancing, but… the weather didn’t cooperate. So, we moved Messy Church inside and snaked the activity trail all throughout our church. We were pleased to see the previous family return, as well as 3 new families in attendance.
In early December, we held a drive-through style Messy Church. Folks pulled-up to our church entry porch. We cheerfully greeted them with Christmas joy and handed over a bag full of everything they needed to have Messy Church at home. The bag included: star shaped cards to decorate and give; ornaments and paints for some messy creating; playdough, markers, and crayons for a family game; items for an edible nativity; the Christmas story and song suggestions; prayer cards; and a half dozen sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles to decorate together. As families pulled-up, we asked the ages of the children in their families and added an age-appropriate Christian trade book for each child to add into his/her bag. We also asked if they had Bibles for the children at home. If they did not, we offered children’s story Bibles for toddlers and Action Bibles for the older elementary. We had 23 families in attendance, reaching over 48 kiddos. We distributed 11 children’s bibles and 6 teen bibles to families who did not have them. There were also 7 families in the surrounding area that we dropped-off Messy Church kits to, thus making contact with 11 more local kiddos.
Thank you for sharing your story
Thank you to all the people from Messy Church at East Goshen Friends church. Well done! Be sure to check out their Website, Facebook and Instagram information.
Pastor Josh White: firstname.lastname@example.org
Church Life Elder: Melissa White
Messy Church Primary Contact: Samantha Hoffmman,email@example.com
East Goshen Friends Church
16800 S. Range Rd., Beloit