Messy Church is the nationwide, creative, flexible and family friendly innitiative born out of one church's determination to be an all-inclusive spiritual home for families.
Many children, adults and families would love to meet Jesus and belong to their local church but can't cope with traditional Sunday services.
Messy Church provides a once-a-month time of creativity, worship and eating together designed to make whole families feel welcome, comfortable, involved and ready for an encounter with Jesus.
Finding your Messy Church vision
Messy Church promotes and provides a vision of church which adults and children enjoy together. Primarily, it’s the resources to create church-time for people who don't belong to any form of church.
Designed around an all-age approach to faith, fun and friendship, the Messy Church vision to grow families - as nuclear family, extended, global community and local church. Messy Church creates an opportunity to encounter and grow closer to Jesus through hospitality, creativity and celebration.
Most Messy Churches meet once a month at any time during the week most convenient for people locally. It usually includes some creative (messy) time to explore a Bible story or theme, a celebration time of story, prayer, song or games and a meal together.
How one church got messy
St Wilfrid's in Cowplain near Portsmouth had lovely buildings and facilities. But the real church – the lovely creative church people, were frustrated because they were hardly reaching any children with God's story.
The church had lots of support in the community, but didn’t seem to be offering anything that really gripped the imagination of local families. So in 2004 they decided do something that directly helped families grow together as families in a faith filled environment.
Out of this innitiative grew the first Messy Church, now a core ministry of The Bible Reading Fellowship, providing the staff, expertise, resources and infrastructure repeat the Messy Church story not just throughout the UK but in at least 12 other countries as well.
What Messy church can do for you
Messy Church builds a Christ-centred community exploring the Bible with through creativity and involvement. Creativity is a messy business, but effective Messy Church ministry is well planned, well resourced and well led.
Messy Church resources provide everything a team needs to plan and lead a monthly gathering of parents and children who might or might not already come to any other church services. It's a first point of contact between your community and your church.
Each month, Messy Church is made up of three sections:
- Craft: A creative activity focused on the session’s Bible story or theme.
- Celebration: A time of stories, songs and prayers.
- Sharing: A sit down meal for everyone.
This means everyone who comes to Messy Church knows what to expect, and leaders have a framework to plan each month's activities.
Starting and leading your Messy Church
For churches new to the concept, the book Starting your Messy Church is a guide to beginning and sustaining a Messy Church team.
If you think Messy Church might be for you but you’re not sure, get hold of the Messy Church DVD. Messy Church DVD tells the Messy Church story and explores the idea through conversations with leaders, adults and children from churches around the UK.
Messy Church DVD gives you:
- An introduction to the concept of Messy Church.
- Help for new teams to understand what’s involved in starting a Messy Church.
- Help for existing teams to think through the issues they’ll face as the Messy work goes on.
Messy ideas and activities for your church
In addition, there are Messy Church books with resources for Messy Readings, Messy Crafts, Messy Cooks and Messy Sports Fun. Even if you don't do the full Messy thing, these books are packed with ideas and activities for your Sunday school, outreach or holiday camp.
Quick Guide to Starting your Messy Church
What is it?
- An all-inclusive spiritual home for families who might not have any church connection.
- Leadership resources for monthly creativity, worship and food for children, adults and families.
- The complete outreach and involvement package supported by the Bible Reading Fellowship.
What will it do for me?
- Help you to reach the 34% of over 16s who have never had any church connection.
- Liberate the spirit of community and creativity in your church and beyond.
- Grow family values in the nuclear, extended, church and local community family.
Over to You
At Eden.co.uk you can find a truly interactive Christian community helping you find all you need to live, learn and grow your faith.
- Have you an experience of using Messy Church resources in your church, school or at home?
- What difference did it make in your church and local community?
- What’s the single biggest tip you’d pass on to anyone thinking of starting a Messy Church?
Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips - bizarre and brilliant at Eden.co.uk.
February 20th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison