Monday, July 1, 2013

A time to dream

I’m having lots of conversations about new ways to “be the church” in secular New Zealand today.  More and more churches are acknowledging that what and how we do Sunday worship does not work for many Kiwis.  And it’s encouraging that many are willing to try new things and find fresh ways to share Christ’s love and good news with their community. 

Waimana Presbyterian invited me to share the concept of Messy Church with their leaders earlier this year and within 6 weeks of our meeting had launched the world’s first Messy Church on a marae.  I sent their story to Lucy Church of Messy Church UK for posting on their facebook page.  She was intrigued by Waimana’s adaptation of the name:   Te hahi a whakawhanaungatanga hakinakina which means 'the church of coming together as a family to do activities'.“I’m not sure the name will catch on internationally” said Lucy, “but I love it!” 
Mike Uttley of Welcome Bay heard about Messy Church and phoned to find out more and borrow the DVD’s and books from the Kids Friendly library.  Within a month he had launched Messy Church in his community and attracted over a 100 people.  “It works for our community” he said, “as they love anything that involves food and a bit of all age action!”

This week I met with Mo Morgan and Kath Barrett who are trying new things in Whanganui with the support and encouragement of St James Presbyterian.  “The church has given us freedom to try new things” said Mo.  These enthusiastic and gifted women are offering a range of meaningful events to connect with children and their families.   Sticky Fingers is an arts and crafts event for children and their parents that promotes recycling and caring for creation.  Once a month they run “Q” an opportunity for adults to hear an inspiring speaker and ask questions over coffee and dessert.  And on the second Sunday of the month they have begun to run an all age family worship with the people of St James and Rev Gene Lawrence to build Christian community.

Trying new things take courage, but as Mo said: “We felt called to start something for people like us, young parents who are open to Christianity but struggling to find something that fits.  We don’t know where it will lead to, but we are open and listening to our community so we can mould something new together.”

“Without vision, the people perish” said Solomon.  “Prophetic imagination must come before implementation” says Walter Bruggeman.  If you’d like to try new things with the children and families of your community, we’d love to join you in dreaming new ways of being church and resourcing you on your journey.

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