top of page

Featured News Article

CNY Christian News article:

Striking a Chord: Bringing Unity to Communities Through One Body in Christ

Article and Commentary by Natasha Elaine, Matthew Murdock: Feb. 1, 2024

Beautiful Mess Ministries’ Executive Director Mike Ehrhart writes and publishes a book

In a society that often prioritizes individualism and self-sufficiency, harnessing the power found in unity under Jesus, can seem like an uphill battle. However, local author Mike Ehrhart offers a refreshing perspective in his recently published book, Summer Garden Economy, on the importance of loving your neighbor, spiritual wholeness, and the art of caring within the Christian faith. Ehrhart is executive director of the local Christian organization – Beautiful Mess Ministries.

The key message articulated by Ehrhart is that God desires believers to be unified and to care for one another. By sharing our abundant blessings, we can actively participate in building a stronger, more unified community.

Drawing from personal experiences and a deep understanding of biblical principles, Ehrhart sheds light on the power and impact of community building. The book not only presents practical advice and strategies for strengthening one's sense of community but also invites readers to change their mindsets, shifting from a culture of consumption to one that cultivates harmony and union.

Ehrhart’s hopes for the impact the book has on readers? Mike says: “I hope readers agree that living in unity under Christ and caring for each other are paramount to our Christian faith. The book shares an abundance of scripture to declare this. I hope they see that once the mindset moves from consumption to sharing, obedience to God’s word that instructs us to walk in the Spirit is actually quite easy.”

Mike states that it is essential to identify our individual gifts or callings - those things we love to do and can do tirelessly. Once these talents are recognized, the next step is to find individuals or groups who would benefit from the application of these gifts. He goes on to emphasize the importance of sharing these gifts without hesitation or reservation. The key lies not in the action itself but rather in our willingness to make sharing a priority in our lives.

By embracing the principles outlined in the book, readers can experience the ease and fulfillment of living in obedience to God's instructions. By continuing to promote this shift and encouraging individuals to prioritize caring and sharing over personal gain, Mike remains hopeful that communities worldwide can embody the transformative power of unity under Jesus.


Beautiful Mess Ministries

For more than ten years now – Mike Ehrhart, executive director of Beautiful Mess Ministries - has been using music and missional experiences to unify and mobilize people here locally in the Syracuse area. The ministry hosts refuge night on the first Friday of every month, and then organizes outreach markets the following day on Saturday. These activities have become a driving force for his model of “walking in the Spirit.”

Steve Brown, a worship leader local to Syracuse and a regular partner for the Friday worship experiences, said “Beautiful Mess has impacted me personally and musically in many ways. I think the fellowship of worship leaders has been instrumental to my growth as a worship leader and leader in a church. I can only speak for myself, but every worship leader we work with has a different style that is brought to the table, and I have been able to glean certain skills and leadership qualities that they have and implement it into how I lead worship in my church and at any worship event in general.” 

Steve went on to say that “having a network of likeminded friends who are passionate about leading people in worship has become an amazing part of this experience with Beautiful Mess and is something that goes far beyond the rehearsals and onstage time together.” The result of these shared experiences is that the friends are only a call or text away from each other.

An example of the bond of unity shared is when the ministry’s worship leaders gather at Tully’s (the favorite after-worship hangout spot).

Steve is living into that Summer Garden Economy mindset, using his gifts to bring about the resounding love found in God and reminding us all, through song, that we have a voice in the Kingdom here on earth. While refuge night seems to be the perfect experience for harnessing the power of praise, Steve reminds: “No one setlist is ever as perfect as it could possibly be, but there is always another month, and ultimately we will be singing praises all the time in the new earth one day.”

Mike Ehrhart said that a love for music is something that has been in him from the time that he was a child. He explained: “It started with great modeling when I was a kid. Music was always playing in our house. In our home music was more than entertainment. The songs had meaning. Also, my mom was a middle school teacher. She loved her students and our home was a safe place for kids that didn't fit in. So early on, a love of music and others was modeled for me.”

Someone who has been coming monthly since 2018, singing praise songs, and serving the mission of Beautiful Mess Ministries, is Annie Streeter. Working with Mike and sharing in the Beautiful Mess experience has lifted not only her spirit, but the spirit of so many men and women at the Rescue Mission Downtown, where she serves with her pastor, Mike McMahon, of Lakeshore Baptist Church.

Streeter said, “I had a life changing thing happen, with the death of my son. It was in this time that I had to either grow closer to Jesus or lose my faith. I chose Jesus. I had made the decision to put Him first in all I said, thought, and did. I then felt called to serve. And I was so grateful that Beautiful Mess Ministries gave me the opportunity to do this.”

Streeter’s pastor - Mike McMahon - a key member of Beautiful Mess Ministries and Pastor of Lakeshore Baptist Church - is actively involved in the ministry and will often speak at ministry events. At the ministry’s worship event in January at Brown Memorial UMC in Syracuse, he said: “The thing that drew me and our church to Beautiful Mess - probably going on seven years now - is the personification of Paul’s call to the Ephesians about unity. I look at the first six verses of chapter 4 (in Ephesians) – and it really speaks so strongly to the necessity – not the suggestion – but the necessity of unity.”

Ephesians 4: 1-6, NIV: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Mike Ehrhart’s book and mission gives us a way to live according to these shared scripture verses. By prioritizing the needs of others and fostering a sense of equality, the transformative impact of a community can be realized, empowering individuals to walk in the Spirit and embody Christ's love in their daily lives.

And, as it is written in 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, all of you, be like minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”

And what does the future hold for Beautiful Mess Ministries? Per Ehrhart: “The short form of our vision is a ‘Changed culture through changed people.’ Said another way, our vision is for ALL people to unite under Jesus, thereby manifesting The Body of Christ on earth. By doing so, our culture is transformed to one that is Christ-like. This vision is anointed. God is going before us to present new church and ministry partnerships that subscribe to the unity vison. We enjoy active, thriving partnerships with no less than ten churches and ministries in the Syracuse area. We will be launching four new partnerships in 2024. These partnerships reach into either our worship or outreach programs, or both.”

Image by John Price
bottom of page