Messy Church

Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community

Discipleship

In March 2011 we're holding a consultation on Messy Discipleship and we need your help.

We'd like to hear what strategies you have put in place to try to grow discipleship among your messy families and what the results have been - stories of failure are even more helpful than success stories.

There are some interesting discussions going on about discipleship all over the world. Andrew Smith from New Zealand recommends a good book and has some good thoughts:

This is Andrew, chaplain to messy NZ !

'I've just completed a quick read of George Lings' 'Encounters on the Edge', no 46 Messy Church: Ideal for all ages? ... A very positive critique, I feel. George draws out the challenge of messy discipleship very fairly and squarely.

A Messy Church leader near Swansea made this imaginative suggestion for those teams looking for ways to connect life and TV outside Messy Church with God-talk within it:

Don't know if you're aware of the programme The Big Silence which is being broadcast on BBC2 in the UK on Fridays at 7pm. Also on BBC2 Wales 7pm. Note also available on iPlayer.

Last week I had a bit of a quiet day to reflect on discipleship in the messy context. This is what I shared with Jane and the rest of the BRF Messy Church team. As ever, work in progress rather than definitive answers:

As you know, we're pondering what Messy discipleship is all about, if indeed there is such an animal. The best thing is getting stories like this one from Jo Birkby in Knaphill to throw into the melting pot. To me it says something about steps towards discipleship - they can mean sensitively and imaginatively responding to a lead from your own messy congregation and to a prod from God. This could be different for every Messy Church. Jo emails:

One team was asked whether they needed a chaplain for their Messy Church. They came up with the following jobs that a chaplain could do for them. It's an interesting list as it seems to demonstrate how far removed Messy Church is from a craft club or social circle:

In response to the questions 'Do we need a chaplain?' 'What would we want this person to do?'

These are some ongoing thoughts springing from our discussions about discipleship in a messy context at the regional coordinators' Round Table.

Discipleship is a huge issue and will carry on being one. We’re all learners and what feels right at the moment may not be in the long run, but we need to be faithful to what we think God is revealing to us in our context at the present time.

Lots of queries at the moment: anyone any thoughts on Cara's question below? Do let us know at messychurch@brf.org.uk.

I can only say unhelpfully that when we offered an Alpha Course in the early days we had zero response and felt rather stupid and pushy for offering it at all. But we weren't very imaginative and hadn't suggested doing it as a family. I know the Youth Alpha material is good, though we haven't tried it in an all-age context. Any wisdom? Cara writes:

Jane Butcher (Regional Coordinator in the Midlands) and Chris Rees (Regional Coordinator South Yorkshire), together with our dear friend Helen Proudfoot (Children's Adviser in Derby Diocese) had a great time on Saturday. Jane writes:

'The beautiful town of Matlock in Derbyshire was the location for the first steps and next steps Messy Fiesta.

We were joined by twelve people which included one man all keen either to learn about starting a Messy Church or how to develop an existing one.

Janet Tredrea, our Cornwall regional coordinator, brought this to my attention and you might also find it interesting: a blog page in which Jonathan Creber from near Truro is trying to work out more about messy discipleship. You can find it here if you scroll down to his entry for 21 December.

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