Photo Credit: Leah receiving her Messy Church Young Leaders badge and certificate from Sylvia
As we emerge from covid, churches across Hereford Diocese are seeing a resurgence in the growth of Messy Church congregations and a way for teenagers and pre-teens to engage in leadership opportunities.
Leah has been going to Messy Church since 2015 when she was 6, brought along by her Mum. She is now serving as a young leader.
Leah explains: "I love being a messy church leader because I like helping young children and learning things myself."
Leah's experience is a vitally important bit of learning for the growth of all Churches as we look to the future. Many of the young people who attend Messy Church have never known a time when Messy Church did not exist and they are the future of the Church.
They have stayed engaged with the Church because of the loving, gentle, and approachable adult leaders they first encountered. Being part of the Messy leadership team offers a place to belong in Church and helps them to grow in personal confidence and acquire leadership skills.
Sylvia Taylor, Messy Church leader in Bishop’s Castle explains:
"Leah's family have been attending our small Messy Church congregation for seven years, and her Mum is part of the planning team.
"We started the young leader scheme for Leah just before she moved up to secondary school. Leah was very eager to help at Messy Church. She helped her younger brother with 'Messy Church in a bag' during the lockdowns. Since we have been meeting in person, Leah has taken on more and more responsibility.
"She has become a confident helper to both adults and younger children. We congratulate her on her achievement and wish her a happy 13th Birthday."
The Messy church leadership model is an active outworking of lay ministry. Those who have stepped into the role unconsciously offer gentle evangelism and pastoral care to people of all ages who come each week to messy churches across the diocese.
It provides a space beyond the Church's traditional services' rigidity for teaching, learning, developing leadership skills, growing personal confidence, connectedness, and well-being among young people.