Messy Transitions can lead to Messy Training

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Messy Transitions can lead to Messy Training

A blogpost from Roberta J Egli 

Transitions can be Messy is our September 2019 focus at Messy Church USA. At our home we have had some messy transitions the past few months. We have a seventeen-week-old Springer Spaniel named Jack who became part of our family at nine weeks of age in July. He has grown from eleven pounds to a whopping 23 pounds! Jack is our first puppy and we are loving his boundless joy and enthusiasm…. except for the two evening hours that Lynn, my husband has named “Jack’s bewitching time”. It is like he has so much energy that he is now sure how to contain it any longer.

Throughout the summer, he could run outside during these two hours and get some of his energy out but the rains have come this week that cramps his style. Thankfully, we have a wonderful trainer who is working with us to help Jack be a happy, healthy and trained dog!

Jack’s first rain experience… a bit confused!

Having an experienced person share ideas, simple gestures and encouragement as we practice with Jack has made this puppy transition much happier. It reminds me when we learn new skills, that having support and encouragement is vital. We are so happy that so many people are coming together to learn about Messy Church in our “Getting Started” training.

In the seven trainings scheduled between August and the end of October, Messy Church USA will encourage over 220 people! WOW! We expect more people to sign up in the days to come but I give God thanks for the tremendous response we have already received. Will you join me in saying a prayer of thanks and also a prayer for each of the individuals and team who will be attending training over the next few months.

May your messy transitions be filled with joy!

Roberta

Quotes from Michigan City, IN Training

The Messy Church training not only provides the theory behind this unique and highly effectively form of church, but it also provides concrete ways to put the concepts into practice. Through large-group teaching to table interactions to hands-on experiential learning, participants gained the confidence to create a Messy Church opportunity back home.
Associate Director of Church Development
Indiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference

My team is inspired and encouraged. We are very excited to meet and work out all the details for starting our own Messy Church here in Michigan City, and I can only imagine that others left feeling as excited and inspired as we are. Thank you again for such a wonderful experience!
Trish Johnsen, Michigan City First United Methodist Church

From Feedback Forms
What helped you learn the most?
•Great overview of the concept- really had a great time and learned a lot
• The discussion with my team after the presentation. Walking through the Mini Messy Church
• The mini experience helped me see the movement of the structure
• The community. In our area Messy Church is non-existent and foreign. It was so nice to see other churches following the model and being able to network.
• Great deal of information and suggestions for starting off on a new idea
• Opening- explaining what (Messy Church) is, but the activities part brought it to life

September 21st in Mt Dora, FL
September 21st in Hartford, CT 
September 28th in Newport, NH
October 5th, in Cheney, WA (Near Spokane)
October 12th in Huntington Beach, CA 

Would you like to schedule a training in your area?  We are always looking for host churches! Contact Roberta if you are interested. 

September…Transitions can be Messy!

A blogpost from Roberta J. Egli

My personal Facebook page has been filled with pictures of children and teachers starting another year of school. I love the smiling faces that show both excitement and some nervousness. I chuckled at a friend who shared a picture of his briefcase filled with his plans for a brand-new course he is teaching at his university. How do you experience times of transition? Are you filled with anxiety or delight or perhaps a little of both? Transitions can be a bit messy!

iStock. Used with Permission

This September we are sharing stories of transition. Stories of unexpected surprises as well as stories of preparing for an anticipated change. Lindsey Goodyear blogs about her Rev. George Hooper, who became pastor on July 1st of her church in Huntington Beach, CA. Their previous pastor had been instrumental in building excitement for their Messy Church Start over five years ago. How would their Messy Church transition to a new Pastor?

In news from across the pond, Dave Martin joined the dynamic team of Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter at Messy Church/BRF on September 1st. What kind of creative ideas will come from this transition? I imagine that there will be even more great resources from Messy Church/BRF.

Preparing for something new is what our “Getting Started in Messy Church” training is all about! This month there are three new opportunities for training. Read what others have to say about how this training has helped them get ready to start their own Messy Church. Our mission as an organization is to equip Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect which occurs through conversations and presentations at our trainings!

iStock

We are transitioning into full gear as we plan for the Celebrate the Mess Conference in October 2020. At our first planning meeting for the upcoming Messy Church USA 2020 national conference, the team shared of their involvement with Messy Church over the past six years. A common thread I heard as people introduced themselves to each other was how when they first became involved with Messy Church, they would not have predicted how their lives would change. Messy Church had changed the way people approached their ministry setting and for some on the team, had changed their vocational lives!

Living into transition is an opportunity to open ourselves to the leading of Spirit of God. Where will God lead you in your Messy Church this coming year? Where is God calling you to say ‘yes’? Where does your team find joy in your Messy Church? What continues to challenge you as a team? We would love to hear from you as you transition into this new school year and church life year at your Messy Church!

May you find grace and peace in all of your transitions,

Roberta

 

Equipping Messy Churches in the USA to Start, Sustain and Connect

Let’s Get Connected

A Blogpost by Roberta J. Egli 

New Every morning is your love, great God of light,
and all day long you are working for good in the world…

The sun was rising over Chicago as my overnight flight from Oregon circled around downtown to land at O’Hare. I thought of this prayer, that I learned at the Academy for Spiritual Formation as I gave God thanks for the dawn of another day. Although I don’t remember her name, I connected with my seatmate when she asked if I could airdrop the picture from my phone that I had taken of the early dawn to her phone. I will never see her again, but we are now connected through a shared picture on our smart phones. That was the first of many connections that were made throughout the weekend.

Dawn breaking over Chicago

I was traveling to Chicago to lead a training in Michigan City for Messy Church. What a gift the weekend was for me! For the first time ever, I connected with four great mid-west Messy Church USA Regional Coordinators in person! Ronda Bower, Robin Cannon, Jill Mayer and Andrew Scanlan-Holmes have participated with me in phone calls, emails and monthly zoom teleconferences but all being together in person was fantastic!

I connected with the generous hospitality of Michigan City First United Methodist Church. Pastor Nancy gave me a wonderful place to catch up on sleep after a night on the plane. Trish Johnsen, Children’s Ministry Director of Michigan City First, spent hours of preparation so that all of us were warmly welcomed to a day of training.

Finally, I connected with 85 people who came from six different denominations and 18 different local churches. Some teams traveled several hours to get to the training. We spent time learning some best practices to get started with Messy Church. We learned from each other through conversations and Messy Activities.

I am grateful for the many ways we connect through the Messy Church USA network. Getting to know one another through phone calls, webinars and zoom calls are all great ways we connect, yet it is an extra gift when we can meet in person. Over the next several months, there are several training events from the state of Washington to New Hampshire! I invite you to check out the website and connect with others involved with Messy Church. One consistent positive statement that we receive on our feedback forms is that being with and learning from other local churches who are starting or have already started Messy Church in their local context is very valuable as they move forward. Make plans to connect!


Be sure to check out the two-part blog post from Crystal Goetz coming soon. Crystal writes that connecting with others from all over the world was a major highlight for her at the Messy Church International Conference 2019. She continues to stay connected with new friends from Sweden, Denmark, South Africa and many other places. 

Let’s get and stay connected!
Messy Blessings,

Roberta

Messy Church is All-Age Together…Why?

A blog post by Dr. Johannah Myers

Johannah is the Regional Coordinator for Messy Church USA in South and North Carolina. She has been leading Messy Church at Aldersgate UMC in Greenville in SC for over five years.  She will be facilitating the upcoming Getting Started in Messy Church in Mt Dora, FL on September 21.

Messy Church is all ages together. This is one of the core values of Messy Church, something we all ascribe to practice. But why? Why is having all ages together for play and worship so important?

Less than two weeks after the second International Messy Church Conference in England, another group of church leaders from across the US, Australia, and New Zealand gathered in Nashville, TN, for the Intergenerate Conference. The conference centered around the assumption that Church (whether Messy or traditional or anything in between) must take seriously the need for meaningful interactions across the generations.

Roberta and I had the chance to represent Messy Church USA at Intergenerate as an example of what this all-age approach to church looks like in practice. We got to share our Messy story during an afternoon workshop and even got to do a Messy Church “taste and see” for participants experience on a small scale what Messy Church looks like. (On a side note, try packing supplies for Messy Church in a carry-on bag! The TSA agents were quite confused when they searched my bag and found feathers, pony beads, yarn, hole punches, and rather large paper ears!!)  

It was a whirlwind few days! Here are a few take-aways from Nashville.

There are a growing number of church leaders who are beginning to recognize that separating age groups out into age silos – children over here, young adults here, older adults over there, youth in their own building next door – isn’t necessarily translating into transformational disciple-making. We need our peer groups, certainly, but we need meaningful interactions with other generations in order for discipleship to grow.

While there’s a growing number of people who are realizing this intergenerational approach to church is needed, we’re still trying to figure out how to articulate the why and the how. The first Intergenerate Conference was held two years ago with around 100 people (I believe?!). This year it was maxed out, standing-room-only at 200+ participants. Word is spreading, the conversations are growing, the research is developing. It’s exciting! The under-current throughout the conference was of high energy, high passion. We KNOW that bringing generations together is critical, even if we’re still trying to articulate why.

While researchers are still figuring out the “why,” Messy Church has something important to offer as we figure out the “how” of intergenerational ministry. We have a model for how to be church together that is working, and based on the growing research, working well. Are we the only model of intergenerational church out there? Of course not! But our adaptability, our focus on hospitality, and our emphasis on hands-on exploration mean that Messy Church can be a solid foundation for churches wanting to tear down those age silos and bring communities together across the ages.

Dr. Johannah Myers building Intergenerational relationships at her Messy Church at Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, SC

What’s next? I think we’re going to see Messy Churches continue to pop up across the US and so new opportunities for training events will be critical. Has your Messy Church team attended a training? Do you know of churches in your area who’d like to learn more about Messy Church? There are several one-day Messy Church training events already on the calendar. If you’d like to host a training event, contact your Regional Coordinator or Roberta today and let’s start the conversation!

Upcoming Training Events for Messy Church USA:

July 2019 Messy News

The Playfully Serious research confirmed what we have suspected at Messy Church USA…that the teams that prayerfully discern, attend training opportunities, and start their Messy Church with support of others are more vital and sustainable than those teams that begin without training. This led us to set a goal of offering a minimum of twelve training events in a variety of  USA regions in 2019. 

The Getting Started in Messy Church will benefit those getting ready to start their Messy Church as well as those that have been offering Messy Church for months or years. Connecting with other churches is important!  Below is the list of our upcoming training. Click on the link to register. There are several that have the dates open and registration will open soon. 

Would you like to schedule a training in your area?  We are always looking for host churches! Contact Roberta if you are interested. 

Looking for a Messy Church Introduction?  Our July  What is Messy Church free webinar is coming up on Thursday, July 25th at 8:30 am Pacific time. You will learn about how the Messy Church global movement began and why it works in many different ‘flavors’ of the Christian church. In addition you will discover how the five foundational values of Messy Church weave in and out of the Messy Church worship experience. You will also be given some resources as you consider beginning your own Messy Church.

What is Messy Church? Webinar Registration

iStock- used with permission

We give God thanks for those churches who become new members of renewed their membership in Messy Church USA in May and June 2019.   Spent a moment giving God thanks and praying for the leadership teams for the following churches.

New Members for May/June 2019

  • Northside Presbyterian, Chattanooga, TN
  • St John United Church of Christ, Trenton, IL
  • Cornerstone United Methodist Church, Elyria, OH
  • Lyall memorial Federated Church- Millbrook, NY
  • Diocese of Southern Virginia- Newport News, VA
  • First United Methodist, Bowie, TX
  • Lexington United Methodist, Lexington, MI
  • Hillsides Residential Youth and Children, Pasadena, CA

Renewal Members for May/ June 2019

  • Auburn United Methodist, Auburn, WA
  • Christ United Methodist- Albuquerque, NM
  • St Peter’s Episcopal, Bettendorf, IA
  • Oak Grove United Methodist, Oak Grove, OR
  • Freysville Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Red Lion, PA
Mark your calendars and SAVE THIS DATE!

Did you know that we have a Facebook Group for Messy Church Team Leaders.  It is a great place to ask questions and get ideas for activities, food and how to do publicity!  Check it out and while you are at it— be sure to like our Facebook Page.

Resources from Around the World

Chris Barnett from Australia posts a monthly newsletter. Here are a few of my favorite ones for the month of July.

Links from Jane Leadbetter of  Messy Church/BRF 

If you missed the recent International Messy Church Conference and would like to hear the key speakers, download the special resources, or watch the highlights,  you can see it all on the Messy Church website. Also check out the Messy Church International Conference Pinterest Board.

Read Lucy’s Synod speech from this month in York! Do you have a branch of Tesco in your parish/circuit/region? Find Lucy on the Messy Church Facebook page!

Huge thanks to the 259 churches and 55 individuals who gave to the 2018/19 Messy Church £100 Appeal. £36, 000 has been raised so far! Awesome. Lucy and Jane thank you all in a short video on the Messy Church Facebook page.

Sign up today for the upcoming May Events

There is still time to register for the Kingston, New York and Waterloo, Illinois Getting Started in Messy Church Training Events coming up SOON! 
Attending the Getting Started in Messy Church Training as a team increases your effectiveness in starting you own Messy Church. Although the title is about ‘starting’, your team will find this training valuable even if you have been leading a Messy Church. Connecting with others who are starting or continuing their Messy Church is a strong indicator that you will be successful in this exciting way of being church.

Kingston New York on May 11th: This training on May 11th will be led by Julie Hintz and is at Kingston United Methodist Church in Kingston, New York.  Click Here to register.

Waterloo, Illinois on May 18th: Roberta Egli will lead this church at St Paul’s United Church of Christ in Waterloo, Illinois. Waterloo is only 30 minutes from St. Louis. Register Here.

  • Upcoming Training Events
    • Williamsburg, Virginia on June 29th
    • Michigan City, Indiana on August 10th
    • Mt Dora, Florida on September 21
    • Huntington Beach, California on October 12th
    • Your Church……When!
Are you interested in sponsoring a training at your church? Contact
Roberta Egli at roberta@messy Church USA for more information. Learn more about hosting a training here.
The Mission of Messy Church USA is to equip local churches to start, sustain and connect with other Messy Churches in the United States.

Getting Started in Messy Church Fall Trainings

Roberta J. Egli 

If you live close to Washington, California, Texas, or South Carolina be sure to check out the upcoming fall training opportunities. The one day  Getting Started in Messy Church will give your team the vital tools to begin your own Messy Church. You will learn about the history, values, format and best practices to get started.

If you are already doing Messy Church, come to the training to get to know other churches in your area that are interested in starting a Messy Church so that you can all learn from one another to grow and sustain your Messy Church.

If you would like to schedule a training in your area, you can contact your Messy Church USA regional coordinator or Roberta at roberta@messychurchusa.org. 

Washington
When: Saturday, August 25th, 2018 from 9am to 3 pm
Where: Federal Way United Methodist Church, 29645 51st Ave. S, Auburn, WA   98001
Cost: $125.00, per team
To Register: contact Ann Mayer at arsamayer@yahoo.com or call the church at 253-839-9220
Registration Deadline: August 18, 2018

California
When: October 6th, 2018 from 9am to 3 pm
Where: Community UMC of Huntington Beach, 6652 Heil Ave, Huntington Beach CA   92647
Cost: $25, per team ( subsidized by Cal- Pac Annual Conference New Ministries) 
Register Here
Registration Deadline: September 28, 2018

Texas
When: October 13th, 2018 from 8:30am to 3:30pm
Where: Spring Branch Presbyterian, 1215 Campbell Rd, Houston, TX 77055
Cost: Individual – $30.00 (Partially Funded by Grant)
Group Rate – $70 for 2-5 people,
More than 5 per group is an additional $ 30 per person
Register Here

South Carolina
When: October 20th, 2018 from 8:30am to 3:30pm
Where: Aldersgate UMC, 7 Shannon Dr, in Greenville SC
Cost: Individual – $125.00
Group Rate – $150 for 2-5 people,
More than 5 per group is an additional $ 20 per person
Register Here
Registration Deadline: October 1, 2018

Register Soon! This is expected to sell out!

Have you made plans yet to attend this awesome opportunity in May 2019?  Do not delay! Registration is now open and places are expected to fill quickly! The first conference in 2016 was AWESOME! It was great fun to meet Messy Church people from all over the world! This is an unmissable opportunity. Click here to register. 

Messy Church USA Partial Scholarships for the MCIC 2019 conference are still available. Click here for the application.

 “What is Messy Church” Webinar

Do you have people ask you the question, “What is Messy Church”?  Invite your friends to sign up for the next webinar on Thursday, July 26th at 8:30 PDT.  Register Here.