New Mexico is the home for our Messy Church(es) of the Month
Congratulations to Christ United Methodist Church (UMC) and Cornerstone UMC in Albuquerque, New Mexico our Messy Churches of the Month for November! The incredible Barb Tegtmeier led the Messy Church team at Christ UMC for several years and now is working with a group at Cornerstone UMC, where she has been sent as a lay pastor, to bring Messy Church to their community.
After attending a Messy Church training sponsored by the New Mexico United Methodist Annual Conference, the team at Christ UMC “ran with it” and began their Messy Church. Barb shares that there were 15 churches that attended the training but Christ is the only church that went forward with offering Messy Church to their community.
Christ UMC began planning their Messy Church in May 2017 and launched the following September 2017.
Cornerstone UMC launched this past June using the local park. They have only met outdoors at this point.
Barb is a great Messy Church USA ambassador and trainer. She attended the national conference in Huntington Beach in the fall of 2017 and shares frequently how Messy Church has made a difference for all those involved at Christ UMC. She traveled all the way to Chicago in October to co-lead the [RE]START MESSY training. Thank you Barb and team for sharing with us your experience of an established as well as a brand new Messy Church!
Messy Folk share what they like about Messy Church
- “Messy Church helps me not miss my own grandchildren as much as each month I am a table host for our activities spending time with kids who do not have grandparents near.” – A Grandmother
- “I love everything, especially getting to give the prayer before the meal and lighting the candles!” -A Six-year old who has attended Messy Church for 3 years
- “Messy Church combines fun things with a short, casual worship service, helping to make everyone feel comfortable in church.” – A Messy Church Leader and Sunday School teacher
- “Watching eager young children and youth sitting beside adults for craft activities, worship, and a shared meal is so heartwarming and very encouraging.” – A long time Church member who leads the Welcome Table at Messy Church
Some Favorite Messy Church Activities
Activites from Get MESSY magzine
There are so many great activities suggested in the Get Messy magazine it is difficult to pick favorites. At each of our Messy Church worship, we choose 2-3 activities from the magazine that illustrate the theme for the night.
We have added a ‘fitness area’ to each of our Messy Church experiences where everyone can go to do some physical activity such as jump roping in addition to the other activities.
To provide space for those who may become overstimulated or overwhelmed by activities, we have added a puzzle, coloring table and a quiet reflection center that is accessed through a small open door.
What worked well for you in getting the support of your ‘Sunday church’ when you started Messy Church?
Communication, communication, and over communication. When we had rough patches with confusion over the core values of Messy Church versus Sunday Church I had sessions with a coach who reminded me that those who have been closest to me at church needed little communication because we had all done things the same for so long. Starting Messy Church the coach said, “You need to communicate with those closest to you the Most, which is a hard habit to establish.” Based on this advice we had more planning sessions and role playing for how to be welcoming to so many new people who came for Messy Church. Sunday church had not had newcomers for a long time.
What challenges have your faced with Messy Church and what strategies did you use to meet the challenge?
The biggest challenge especially at the beginning of the original Messy Church at Christ four years ago was to incorporate Messy Church new attendees into the Messy Church worship experience. Our Sunday worship team leaders were definitely good hosts, showing hospitality, but were doing so by doing everything for our “guests” instead of the new people becoming a congregation. We had many discussions about how to become church with new people. We invited some to come early to help set up, invited others to lead a table activity, one new member started a puppet ministry which was incorporated into Celebration time, we bought big red tubs so everyone can put stuff away, and we purchased outside food only so everyone attended Celebration together and then set tables, put food and drinks out together, and cleaned up and put away tables and chairs together before leaving.
How have you adapted your Messy Church during the COVID pandemic?
The long running Messy Church tried to drop off activity bags at people’s houses but that didn’t work well when people were not home. So we went to a 30 minutes Zoom Messy Church each month. We shared the theme through Scripture, music, story telling, and a Puppet ministry that came out of Messy Church. It was consistently attended, but by just a few people.
When I started Messy Church at my new church across town we met in a lovely park that is just a block from the church. We did not have any neighbors attend, but people did ask about Messy Church from seeing our banner and yard signs in the park. Due to Covid we did not have opportunity to do some out reach events prior to Messy Church, which is what we did at Christ. So at Cornerstone we knew that consistency in day and location in the park was important for neighbors to get to see us.
Thank you Barb for sharing the story of Messy Church at Christ and Cornerstone United Methodist Church. Thanks too for all your time and energy in supporting Messy Church USA.
Barb is also a chaplain with the Albuquerque Police and takes regular shifts. She seems to have energy to spare!!!
Christ United Methodist Church, 6200 Gibson Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM
Christ UMC Phone: (505) 255-1669
Christ UMC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChurchABQ/
Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 3905 Las Vegas Dr, SW Albuquerque, NM
Cornerstone UMC Phone: 505-877-0632
Cornerstone UMC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cornerstone.umc.10