Messy Church 3
15 Sessions for Exploring the Christian Life with Families
by Lucy Moore
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Welcome to ‘Messy Church 3’ – the family-friendly resource kit! Lead these 15 sessions in your group, focused around teaching children and adults how to live a Christian life.
The Messy Church Team have been listening to leaders on the front line all over the country and have crafted all new sessions that incorporate the valuable feedback. Some sessions have even been birthed to directly address common issues and questions that Messy Church goers have – making ‘Messy Church 3’ the most relevant resource kit yet.
The sessions follow the Christian year as a guideline: Christmas, Pentecost and Harvest (with Rogation Tide and All Saints Day included too). By following these festivals the sessions can cover a wide-spread of themes, such as:
- God’s continuing care for the world
- Christ’s birth, death and resurrection
- Coming of the Holy Spirit
- The Bible
Also included in the resource are ‘Take-Home’ idea’s (designed to help families continue to reflect on the session), ‘Sunday Treats’ (designed to help families pray together on Sunday’s), 10 simple theme-based crafts for each session and a family-friendly service outline. Connect with families in your community with the tried, tested and multi-denominational resource that’s forever changed how we do church.
Messy Church 3 by Lucy Moore was published by MESSY CHURCH in November 2012 and is our 603rd best seller. The ISBN for Messy Church 3 is 9780857461209.
A new resource for Messy Churches, providing a further 15 sessions focused around key 'Christian basics' themes such as prayer and reading the Bible. There is also an introduction exploring and addressing situations that have arisen in different Messy Churches.
Each two-hour session includes:
• Bible reference and background
• easy-to-prepare recipes for the meal
• ten simple theme-related craft activities
• 'take-away' ideas
• and a family-friendly service outline
Session 1: A new start
Session 2: Love rules
Session 3: Mothers and others
Session 4: Easter
Session 5: The Holy Spirit
Session 6: The Lord’s Prayer
Session 7: Our community
Session 8: Journeys
Session 9: Harvest
Session 10: Light up the darkness
Session 11: Remember me
Session 12: Christmas
Session 13: Money matters
Session 14: Pets and peace
Session 15: Healthy body, healthy soul
Index of activities
“Messy Church 3 has arrived with 15 all-new sessions to inspire children and adults everywhere with craft activities and themed teaching.”
“Inside the 3rd book are 15 theme-based 2 hour sessions that will guide your group through the Christian year stopping off at Christmas, Pentecost and Harvest covering important practices such as forgiveness, prayer and the Bible. As always you can rest assured everything inside the book is manageable, highly creative and crammed full of practical wisdom the average family will learn from.”
“This fresh new Messy Church resource comes with some extra surprises. Sunday Treats will encourage you to post a facebook comment or send a group message on Sundays which focus families on the Sabbath, while Take-Home Ideas are ways to continue the faith-filled fun at home.”
“The Messy Church legacy is continuing to go from strength to strength, and with this helpful resource your group can continue to grow alongside Messy Church in numbers, ideas and spiritual maturity.”
"Messy Church is a great vehicle for connecting with families who'd never go through the front door of a church." - Clynt French, Church Army, Sheffield
"The more I do Messy Church, the more I'm excited." - Karen Markusson, Lutheran Church, Denmark
"... a wealth of well-judged, practical and supremely usable material." - The Methodist Recorder, review for 'Messy Church 2'
"...crammed with good things... delights on every page... full of good fun, deep wisdom and practical know-how." - Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield
The Messy Church Team has been working hard since 2004 to encourage churches everywhere to open their doors to young families in the community. The core values are: to involve all-ages, to be Christ-centred and to encourage hospitality, creativity and celebration.
So with these core values in mind, here is how I’d plan for the first session in Messy Church 3 called ‘A New Start’.
First contact is a big deal! People’s first impressions often make up for over half of their lasting memory. So hospitality is everything.
Ensure every aspect of the session is planned, prepped and ready to go 30 minutes before anyone steps through the front door (except all the volunteers of course). This allows for wiggle-room, in case someone forgot something or you’ve run out of paint. Plus this extra-time is valuable prayer/pre-brief time. Your volunteers will appreciate you sharing every detail, delegating tasks and praying for each other and the session.
10 minutes before the beginning make sure drinks are being made and two of your cheeriest volunteers are the door ready to meet and greet.
The 1st sessions theme is forgiveness and encouraging fresh starts. With 10 different craft activities to chose from it’s important to not feel overwhelmed. Choose as many or as little as you and your volunteers can cope with. If your team is you and your best friend (plus your kids), just choose the best of the bunch. If you’ve got more volunteers than kids, do as many as you think you can manage, all 10 if you’re completely nuts.
I’d choose ‘Soap Making’ – which is something many people have never tried and holds a wonderful message of Jesus’ forgiveness washing away the dirt in our lives. ‘Shredding’ – which invites people to shred the wrong things they’ve done in God’s big shredder, very practical and powerful. And ‘Cross of Forgiveness’ – which will create lasting artwork for your church that will remind children and adults about forgiveness (throwing water bombs filled with paint at a cross).
‘A New Start’ encourages you to tell the story of the Paralyzed Man in Luke 5:17-26.
The story has been re-formatted to tell interactively, encouraging your group to become the story. Everyone has a role to play! You can either read it words for word, or tweak the script if you’re feeling creative (for example, instead of using a mat for the paralyzed man, I’d ask if anyone in the room is called Matt and have them give the paralyzed man a piggy back, referring to him as the mat throughout the story).
Ensure everything you’ve done connects to the session’s theme. It may seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many groups I’ve seen go on wild goose chases through the Bible that no one could possible follow, let alone apply to their lives. The easiest way to do this is to sign off the story with a short message – Messy Church 3 includes one, but you can always personalise them to your needs and group.
This prayer activity is fantastic. Pass out pens to everyone and ask them to write a little ‘f’ on each hand. Then ask everyone to lift up their left hand and say “forgive us our sins”. Then lift up their other hand and say “as we forgive those who sin against us”.
This hands-on method of prayer sticks in your head. You can get your group to do it again and again or simply left it there.
These short paragraphs have been written for a great purpose.
Messy Church encourages groups to set up a Facebook page as a means to communicate with everyone – practically and spiritually. You can remind people when the next session is, to bring a friend or neighbour, plus post these encouraging messages and prayers for the families to read together.
Although this takes a little extra effort, your groups impact will double.
You’ll have to prepare a tick sheet that families can take on a walk. Each family member has to look around for any new starts they can see and tick them off on the sheet. You can also include a short message or prayer to keep them focused. These brilliant ideas connect the dots in between sessions. Without them some families could go a whole month without any contact with God.
Many church groups see the end of session as home time, but you’re seriously missing out on community! This is time when as a group of church members you can discuss the session, prepare for the next, pray for each other and laugh together.
In my opinion, this is almost more important than the sessions themselves. If you’re not being community together then you’re not showing your community what church is really about – people coming together to share Christ.
Messy Church has invaded our church notices. Groups have emerged in all-sorts of churches all over the country and are proving to be much more than a one-hit-wonder.
So if you’re curious as to why it’s become so popular – here’s some reasons why.
IT’S BOTH CREATIVE & MANAGABLE:
Messy Church resources are highly creative but manage to stay down to earth. They capture the imagination of the crafter, while not taking an entire week to prepare. The ideas aren’t wishy-washy drivel that holds little wisdom or biblical content. Neither are they completely bonkers, requiring a dedicated team of experts to prepare and implement.
If you’re looking for an easy ride, then Messy Church probably isn’t for you. It does take time and energy, but nothing that’s worth doing comes easy. It is because these ideas are wild and outrageous that they have incredible, lasting impact.
The Messy Church resources should all come with a certified stamp of approval saying – not for the faint hearted and 100% life-changing.
INVITES PLAY BACK INTO OUR LIFE:
As adults, we’ve forgotten how to play and how to use our imaginations.
Children grow up experiencing new things every single day. Life is one big adventure, a huge play ground to explore and discover. Unfortunately, everyone eventually grows up and gets used to it all. So life follows structure, patterns and endless cycles where play and imagination have been pushed aside.
But here’s a secret, we can all rediscover the joys of play. All we have to do is watch and join in with our kids. Messy Church prides itself on being an all-age activity. Children in fact are the teachers. They help the adults to stop thinking and start playing. Then everyone can explore and discover together the Christian faith anew, through games, activities and interactive stories and prayer.
TRIED AND TESTED:
In 2004 the ideas for Messy Church emerged when a group at St Wilfrid's near Portsmouth were getting annoyed because their church weren’t reaching kids with God’s story. It’s the age old problem, people like Jesus but don’t like what the church offers.
So sprouting out of Jane Leadbetter’s mind grew an idea: to engage the imagination of all ages by enthusing story, craft and community. And the rest is history. Messy Church has taken Britain by storm, and has even spread into 12 other countries. Chances are you’ve heard of Messy Church. And there’s a good reason for it, because when good ideas become wonderful projects people soon want to join with its success (and the fun too).
If you’ve never heard of Messy Church, don’t jump in head first by buying up their back catalogue. Instead we recommend looking for your nearest group and having a sneak peek.
Planning a group from scratch can be a daunting task, take up precious time and sometimes not seem worth it. So experience it first! See the smiles of children and parents, see how natural it feels and see how it engages your imagination. Then you’ll realise why it’s the most successful British children’s resource.
|Page last updated||4th March 2013|
|Author / Artist||Lucy Moore|
|Publisher||MESSY CHURCH (November 2012)|
|Number of Pages||192|