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Posted by Lucy Moore on 02 Dec 2009

The Poole Messy Church leaders had arranged a meeting over morning coffee to chat and find out how to support each other, and very kindly invited me along. Leaders from Parkstone URC / St Peter's, Longfleet Baptist and Parkstone Baptist told their stories and shared their joys and sorrows, and I listened and filled in a little about how we at BRF can support them in all the brilliant stuff they're doing.

Here are some interesting points that came up: one of these Messy Churches took a good year to get going but now has good numbers - 64 last time. They have an issue with sustainability - none of the original volunteers expected it to go on as long as it has and they are getting weary. This leaves the core leaders isolated, especially as the Sunday congregation thinks along the lines of 'We'll allow you to get on with your Messy Church... it goes on over there.' They also have some once-a-month Sunday families who now come to Messy Church instead of the family service on a Sunday. They have had two baptisms directly as a result of God's work in Messy Church over the last year - one adult and one child.

Another has been running only two months and has about nine families coming. They hear appreciation and enthusiastic chatter in the playground as people tell each other about it and people from Sunday church ask how it went each time. They play the PowerPoint from Messy Church in Sunday church to keep communication going.

The third group represented have 'families who are making it their own'. They use a great system called 'super families' for their celebrations - dividing the family groups into four and having some time all together and some time just in those 'super families' for story, prayer and discussion. An excellent idea, which I'm going to steal wholesale for our Messy Church. They say it came about because of challenging behaviour in the celebration, and now the families are responsible for their own members, rather than the leaders being expected to sort it all out. They can use the building more, having zones and lots of physical and creative learning and worship. The leaders began out of their comfort zones, but are now more confident, through mentoring by peers and the Holy Spirit and prayer. They also have a hand puppet crow called Messy who plays a part in keeping order...

To encourage and re-inspire the jaded leaders, we decided to run a Messy Jamboree in Poole on 10 July - a fun day out together for all the Messy Church teams in the area, their families, their teenagers, whoever wants to come.

It was great to meet with these inspirational people and hear the stories of all God's doing through their dedication and hard work.