A post from Dr. Johannah Myers, Associate Director of Messy Church USA
A wild connection
For our September Messy Church, we tried something different – we went on a field trip (a Messy Adventure) to our local zoo. We were inspired by the “Wild Safari” session (#9) that’s included in the Messy Adventures published by Messy Church-BRF (you can find them here: https://www.messychurch.org.uk/messyadventures)
It took some work, this trying something new! Some of my team came with me to the zoo back in the summer. We walked around and wondered together what a Messy Church session might look like there. When some of our ideas couldn’t work because of logistics, we wondered together some more. After one more trip to the zoo, we had a plan. We kept things simple, portable, and easy. Logistics meant our usual meal together was replaced with snacks – Zebra cakes and animal crackers obviously. Activities were a bit different, but we still managed a time of celebration together.
Connect via Facebook
On the morning of our Adventure, I had a Facebook message through our local Messy Church page wondering if we still had tickets available. Thankfully we did, thanks to a huge outpouring of support from our congregation sponsoring tickets. And what an unexpected joy this turned in to! This family was brand-new to town; this was their first outing together. I asked how they’d found us and they’d simply searched “things to do in Greenville today.” I have no idea how our zoo adventure came up! (I spent actual money boosting our posts about our August Messy Church with absolutely no luck and did nothing really to promote this September event. Who even knows?!) Because of Messy Church, we were able to meet a wonderful new family and be their “welcoming committee.” If our adventure did nothing else but welcome this one family, it was a great day all around.
Connect with Community
Messy Church helps us connect with our communities. Sometimes this happens in surprising ways but most often, this connection comes with intentional cultivation. But how do we cultivate this connection? What are “best practices” for building a connection with those outside of our church?
One of the things I’m most excited about with our Celebrate the Mess conference in April is the way we’re going to talk about these exact questions! And the folks who’ll be leading us? They are the best! On Friday, April 19, Dr. Doug Powe and Rev. Luke Edwards will lead a general session for us entitled, “Cultivating Community Relations with Your Messy Church.” Doug and Luke both serve on our Messy Church USA board. Doug currently is the Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and holds the James C. Logan Chair in Evangelism at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Luke is the associate director for church development for the Western NC Annual Conference and an author and trainer for Fresh Expressions. This session will focus on best practices for engaging with the broader community.
Connect at Celebrate the Mess
And this is just one session! Stay tuned for more information about workshops, including some that will inspire us to make deeper connections with our communities.
I look forward to connecting with you in April 2024 at Celebrate the Mess!
Peace, Johannah, [email protected]