Messy Church

Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community

Discipleship

Beryl Tillin has been thinking about home discipleship. She sent some useful insights in an email. I wonder what you think about the proposition that family traditions are more valuable than daily Bible notes?

I came to the Messy Fiesta in Oxford last weekend, which was really helpful and inspiring. I just wanted to let you know of a couple of things that our family do, following on from the discussion on discipleship at home. I identify totally with you on the 'what makes us a Christian family at home' question.

After several large Messy Fiestas, it was good to have a cosy intimate gathering at St Andrew's in Paddock Wood near Tonbridge on Saturday. I thought the smaller numbers would mean that we galloped through all the material and would be left twiddling our thumbs at the end of the day - but no, interestingly, the relaxed nature of the day meant that we dwelt more on each part of the programme, not less, and that there was much more opportunity to listen to each other as a whole group, not just in segregated smaller groups.

Happy days... just back from a course at Lee Abbey focusing on Messy Church with about 20 wonderful people, ranging from those who were already running their own Messy Church to those who were really there for a nice time by the sea, and why not? It was a lovely group of enthusiastic generous people and we had some very interesting discussions.

We got a very warm welcome and felt most honoured to be taken seriously. It's very reassuring that the C of E is employing this team to be thinkers and reflectors - very useful for people like us in our situation.

Perhaps the most poignant moment for me was when I expressed something along the lines of, 'We're not sure whether it would just be a bit of a pity if Messy Church closed down, or whether it's more important than that.' And George replied after some thought, 'I think it would be as if your child was knocked over and killed by a car on the way home from school.'

At the end of next week, Paul (my combined husband and vicar) and I are heading up to meet the Fresh Expressions thinktank team in Sheffield, at the Church Army HQ.

Claire Dalpra, George Lings, Andrew Wooding and Colin Brown will be there and it's our chance to chew over these big questions and to try to find a fruitful way forward for Messy Churches.

What questions to chew over, though? Here are some of my initial thoughts:

If discipleship is about learning to ask the right questions, then in teaching and discipleship terms, this means putting solid foundation stones in place right from the start, not fake blocks of polystyrene that wobble when you try to stand on them in a storm.

Planning meeting last week: lots of time saved, I hope, by having had time over the summer to plan a programme longer than just one term. We now have themes in place until Christmas 2008. Huzzah!

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