Messy Church International Conference (MCIC) Reflections
Part 4 of 4
Roberta J. Egli
Following the first international conference in 2016, the four USA delegates returned and brought others into the conversation as to how we could create a structural ‘trellis’ to help support and encourage the healthy growth of Messy Church in the USA. We have been busy listening to one another as we implemented a vision for a nonprofit whose mission is to equip local churches to start, sustain and connect with other Messy Churches in the United States.
This year, our delegation met on Sunday afternoon with Canon Richard Fisher, chief executive of Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), Jay Elliot, head of finance & operations BRF, and Lucy Moore, founder of Messy Church. We wanted to take advantage of their wisdom and expertise as we move forward as an organization. Richard shared a central core of their philosophy from the very beginnings of the Messy Church movement which was to TRUST the movement of the spirit in the growth of Messy Church. He also shared the importance of focusing on the foundational values of Messy Church.
I resonated with a quote Richard shared that he had heard the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams once share that helped to guide him as a leader of BRF and for the team of Messy Church…“Go where the ground is already tilled”. I pondered that quote for several days. As a leader of Messy Church, I was inspired by the quote that speaks of trusting God to do the work of preparing the way but as a farmer’s daughter I wondered how I was to discern ‘how we as an organization was to know where the ground was already tilled… how are we to find those places where God has prepared a way forward?’
Several days later, at 36,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, I had one of those God moments when I was journaling about this conversation. I remembered that several years ago, Lucy shared the parable of the soils at the first Getting Messy in the USA conference. I realized that our task as Messy Church USA is to scatter the seeds as liberally and recklessly as the sower of the seeds in the parable when the seeds fell on rocky, sandy, weedy and good soil. It is God’s work to till the soil but it is our task to scatter the seeds.
We scatter seeds by sharing the stories of how lives are changed in Messy Church through workshops, social media, and videos. We scatter seeds by engaging in leadership development for Messy Church teams. We scatter seeds by sharing dynamic best practices training for those churches wanting to start their own local Messy Church. Some of the seeds will fall on the good soil which will be the place where we are led!
You will continue to hear stories from the USA delegates to the MCIC 2019 conference. Check here to read an interview with Leyla Wagner that has already been posted. Hearing stories is important for the work of Messy Church. I want to hear your stories! How are you messily scattering seeds of good news at your Messy Church?
Messy Blessings, Roberta