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Messy Fields

Posted by Lucy Moore on 16 Feb 2009

Chatting with Ben Mizen, our Diocesan Children and Youth Advisor, we were both struck by the importance of the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30) in the context of Messy Church. It picked up on what was said at the Regional Coordinators' Day -someone commented there that we often want to 'harvest' too quickly (that is, reap the benefits of our church systems, evangelistic efforts and discipleship courses). Actually in the natural world, the sowing and the growing take a long time.

Jesus' parable is all about the messiness of waiting, of watching in frustration as good and bad things happen alongside each other and wanting desperately to make things better, to purify the field, to have everything neat and tidy and fruitful, but having to sit back and wait until the right time, in case the good is damaged as the bad is destroyed. It's worth thinking about that as we worry about 'what do we do next?' about whether or not the people who belong in our Messy Churches are 'going deeper' in their discipleship, about whether numbers are growing fast enough or at all.

We see the weeds of difficult situations, conflicts and mistakes happening alongside the good stuff that is happening in our Messy Churches.

On the bigger scale, we all know there are lots of Messy Churches who aren't completely 'in step' with the values of Messy Church as we see it -especially perhaps when it comes to the question of trying to be an all-age church, not just a church for children. But we don't want to stomp in with toxic weedkillers - we'll let what we perceive at the moment as weeds grow alongside the wheat; who knows - by the time we get to harvest, we might discover they're not weeds after all.

This parable tells us to chill out and not try to blunder in and damage the delicate growth that's finding its way towards the sun, but to trust in the wisdom and timing of the farmer who's done it all before. So let's relax and enjoy all the good growth that we see in our teams and in the people for whom we run Messy Church, and trust that as God's planted all the good stuff in the first place, he'll see it safely through to harvest time.