Trusting the Flow of Spirit
by Roberta Egli
I am enjoying looking out of the window in my home office since the leaves have fully opened in the backyard birch trees. There is a busy four lane highway on the back of our property so the trees hide the busy cars passing by that I see during the winter months. I am annoyed however by the antics of a crazy large robin barges into the office window multiple times a day. I am not sure if she is attempting to find a way in or eat bugs on the window but she is determined! She is not dissuaded by the glass barrier and hits the window at full flight at least three times ( I think she is a Triune Robin because it is always three times!) before she flies away only to come back later several more times per day.
Last week, I spent a week on retreat bathed in the monastic rhythm of prayer and silence at the Academy for Spiritual Formation in the Greater Northwest. Since I have returned, the robin reminds me that I too, in my daily life, attempt to find a way in or around a clear boundary that has been placed in my path. Spending time in community and silence, reminded me that in my determination to more forward, I have neglected taking time every day to listen to the Spirit in prayer and scripture. Can I release my busy robin need to control and spend time listening and trusting the flow of the Spirit?
I know that we have full and busy lives and that at times we may miss the deeper call of the Spirit as we gather as teams to make detailed plans for our Messy Church experiences. I also know that sometimes the best plans fall apart and we have to adapt in the moment and trust each other and the Spirit. What can we learn about ourselves and the leading of the Spirit when our Messy Church gets extremely messy and does not follow our prescribed plan?
This path month, I had planned to write four different blog posts exploring the Christ Centered value of Messy Church. However, I was blessed to receive several blog posts written by others which changed those plans into something better. By trusting in the flow of the Spirit and highlight during April we were able to learn of the great Messy happenings in South Dakota and Texas.
I am excited to announce that the Spirit has brought several talented writers who have agreed to join the blog writing Messy Church USA team to share their experience of Messy Church! Next week, (May 15th) look for a great story, Be the Light, written by Lindsey Goodyear from Community UMC Messy Church in California. Then on May 22nd, read Johannah Myers’ spring cleaning blog post on organizing your Messy Church supplies. For a craft/activity inspiration, Robin Cannon from Deep Creek UMC Messy Church in Virginia will share (May 29th) their stained window group activity and how they have included the gifts and inspiration of teenagers in their Messy Church.
I invite YOU to share your own story of how God is at work in your Messy Church. Perhaps there was a specific activity that connected or perhaps there was an epic fail that taught you about relying on the Spirit. You don’t have to start from scratch, if you wrote an article for your church newsletter or conference newsletter, get permission and send it on to share with the greater Messy Church USA Network! Send your submissions to email@example.com.
Messy Blessings, Roberta
Messy Church International Conference May 2019
Have you always wanted to travel to England? Registration is now open for the Messy Church International Conference May 3-5, 2019. The first conference in 2016 was AWESOME! It was great fun to meet Messy Church people from all over the world! There are three great speakers signed up to share about Discipleship in Messy Church; Lucy Moore, Founder of Messy Church, Claire Dalpra, a church researcher who has been focused on studying discipleship in Messy Churches in the UK and Andrew Roberts, author of Holy Habits. In addition, there will be ample time to spend time with others from all over the world learning and sharing about best practices. This is an unmissable opportunity. Register Here.
Do not delay in signing up on the BRF website. It is expected to sell out. Messy Church USA will be offering some partial scholarships to the event. If you are interested in a Messy Church USA scholarship click here.
In the most recent Get Messy! magazine, Lucy Moore writes about #discipleship by introducing the Messy Church Discipleship Pilot (MCDP).
The more we explore what “Messy discipleship” means, the more our small team at BRF becomes convinced that there aren’t any easy answers. If only we could suggest to you that to make disciples in Messy Church- to ‘move people on’ – you could simply pop them on a course…
Real life, of course, tends to be messier than the nice, neat theories of what should work…how do we do discipleship in a Messy context, where one of the most precious aspects of church life is that everybody is important, whether young or old, with our without special needs, able or unable to read?
How are you focusing on discipleship in your Messy Church? In the MCDP there are four different paths identified as opportunities to grow in discipleship; 1) Growing discipleship through faith at home opportunities,2) focusing more intently on discipleship at your monthly Messy Church gathering, 3)doing a messy ‘extra’ of some sort during the month such as a Messy Game night and 4) something ‘other’ by using your own creativity and context. You can learn more about the Messy Church Disicpleship Pilot in these blogs by Lucy.
Getting Started in Messy Church Training
Would you like to host a ‘Getting Started in Messy Church’ training in your area? We have discovered that gathering teams from 5-10 churches interested in starting a Messy Church for a one-day training event is a great way to get started and stay connected during the early phases of Messy Church. Perhaps your Messy Church would like to host a training event. We are now scheduling for fall 2019. Lean more by contacting Roberta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Facebook Group for Messy Church Team Leaders
At our most recent Regional Coordinators Zoom teleconference we recognized that it would be great to have a place to share ideas and ask questions regarding Messy Church. So we started a new Group Facebook page called Messy Church USA Team Leaders. The mission of this FB group is to support one another, learn from each other, share difficulties and brainstorm in our local Messy Churches. Rather than the public Messy Church USA FB page, this is a closed group but we want you to join by going here.
We also discussed the possible need for Messy Church families to also connect with one another. Our website, and resource materials are mainly for the leaders of Messy Churches but we are wondering if there is another group that also needs to connect and network with one another- those who have found a place to belong at Messy Church. How do you connect with your families of all ages who belong to your Messy Church? What are your ideas of reaching out to families of Messy Church throughout the United States?