Messy Nativity Paperback

How to Run Your Very Own Messy Nativity Advent Project

by Jane Leadbetter

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Flexible, adaptable outreach resource to help you connect your church and your Christmas message to your local community. Everything you need to run a creative Christmas project is in this book.

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Messy Nativity

Full Product Description

  • In charge of planning an all-age service?
  • Messy Nativity gives you the words and ideal to make the Christmas message memorable
  • Perfect to reach those families who come every Christmas

Messy Nativity gives you a whole fresh approach to an interactive, hands-on way to reach out into your local and church community this Christmas. In her full and practical 'how-to' guide, Jane Leadbetter shows you the easy way to run your very own Messy Nativity shoppers trail leading to the heart of what Christmas is all about. In characteristic inventive style, Jane creates for you an excellent resource, tried and tested from the Christmas outreach she lead in Liverpool in 2010.

'Messy Nativity' isn't a plan for your regular in-church nativity play or carol service - but it will boost interest in what your church is doing, and may well dramatically increase attendance over previous years. What it will do is help your church reach out to your community - to where the people are; in the shops, centres and cafes, with irresistible fun, inspired originality and a compelling gospel message of hope and joy to the world.

Within the book you will find everything you need:

  • Planning Templates,
  • Knitting Patterns for (loveable Messy sheep)
  • Step-by-step Guide to the Nativity Sheep Trail and…
  • Original Messy Nativity Script
The Liverpool 2010 Messy Outreach

'Messy Nativity' achieved national the media attention in 2010 when in gathered extensive press coverage and involvement from leading high street stores including John Lewis and Debenhams. Jane Leadbetter and her Messy team invaded the city centre with a flock of hand knitted Messy sheep, forming a Nativity trail across and through the shopping heart of Liverpool.

"The Messy sheep trail worked very well,” said Andrew Campbell, Waterstone's Liverpool ONE Branch Manager, “it created fun for the children to try and find the sheep, 'Sheila'. It is always good for business to try new things and create as much theatre as possible within the store, we would be more than happy to be a part of this next year".

Learning from Jane and her easy to follow guides, you can create your own 'Messy Nativity' and delight down-trodden Christmas shoppers and light up your community with an original, captivating take on the Nativity story this Christmas.

Jane Leadbetter manages over 40 Messy Church Regional co-ordinator and is a former primary school teacher. Jane spent twelve years working as Children's Work Advisor for the Diocese of Liverpool, now she manages and runs her own Messy Church once a month.

Messy Nativity by Jane Leadbetter was published by MESSY CHURCH in November 2012 and is our 13515th best seller. The ISBN for Messy Nativity is 9780857460554.

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Publisher's Description

Jesus said to his disciples, 'Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to the whole human race.' So why, even at Christmas, is this becoming so hard to do, when the story of Jesus' birth is gradually being squeezed out of our towns and cities, amongst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, during the season of Advent? When the Real meaning of Christmas is being replaced with Santa's Magical Kingdom and Winter Fests? How can we bring Jesus back into our communities during Advent?

'Messy Nativity' includes all the resources that you need for your church to embark on their own Messy Nativity outreach trail - out there in the community. It also includes templates, timelines, photos and the script of the Messy Nativity Story. This book describes the two features of the Messy Nativity Advent Project as carried out in Liverpool in 2010.

Find out how to run a new project uniting your local communities around the Nativity story at Christmas time. Featuring in all three parts of the project are loveable sheep!!

- The Messy Nativity Sheep Trail - spot the knitted sheep in shops
- The Messy Nativity Set Journey - the Posada idea with added knitted sheep
- The Messy Street Nativity - tell the Nativity story with a street drama script

This book also describes how Messy Nativity started in Liverpool in 2010, and gives a step-by-step guide to how other churches can embark on their own local Messy Nativity Advent project. Laying a trail through your town centre leading shoppers to the real heart of Christmas.
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Chapter 1: The Messy Nativity Project
Chapter 2: The Messy Nativity Sheep Trail
Large sheep knitting pattern
Small sheep knitting pattern suggestions
Messy Nativity Sheep Trail leaflet
Chapter 3: The Messy Nativity Set Journey
Nativity Set suggestions
Messy Nativity Journey Rota master sheet
Messy Nativity Set prayer sheet
Messy Nativity Set instruction sheet
Chapter 4: The Messy Street Nativity
Messy Street Nativity script ideas
Further resources from BRF


"The messy sheep trail worked very well in Waterstones. It created fun for the children to try and find our sheep, "Sheila". It is always good for business to try new things and create as much theatre as possible within the store. We would be more than happy to be a part of this next year." - Waterstones Liverpool ONE Branch Manager Andrew Campbell

“Mayhem, madness and magnificence... Messy Nativity!” - Rev Jean Flood, Mission in the Economy, Liverpool

“This book details three really exciting possibilities for Advent or Christmas community outreach projects. Although obviously these projects were done under the Messy Church umbrella, the title is somewhat misleading. This is not a book that will help you to do your normal Messy Church sessions at Christmas!”

“If you are looking for an exciting Christmas project to help you engage with your local community then this book might help! The most detail is given for the sheep trail including knitting instructions for the sheep.”

“Well worth buying if you would like to explore either of the first two ideas. The sheep trail has obviously been very successful in South Liverpool and reading all about how they did it is quite inspiring.”

"Messy Nativity left a new trail of fresh footprints for those who have never thought of going his way before. May it continue to point the way for others to follow. "- Revd Jean Flood, Mission in the Economy

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How Messy Knit-i-vity! Brought Christmas to Liverpool city centre

Together with Liverpool Mothers' Union and the pioneer ministry ‘River in the City’, Jane Leadbetter came up with the idea of a Nativity trail for shoppers. Searching out the cuddly ‘lost sheep’ hidden in department stores throughout Liverpool ONE - the city's major retail and leisure centre, shoppers were lead through the Nativity story to heart of the real meaning of Christmas.

Jane took the idea to the centre’s management team, and they loved it, quickly recognising the trail's potential to increase the numbers visiting the complex of stores and facilities and creating a sense of theatre for shoppers.

Twelve large, knitted sheep were placed in twelve stores, including GAP, Debenhams, Waterstones and John Lewis, along with trail leaflets inviting families to help Liverpool ONE's shepherd to find his sheep so he could go and see the baby Jesus and tell the real story of Christmas.

'I never imagined how all ages could get so excited about knitted sheep!’ Jane Leadbetter. ‘Store staff had competitions to choose a name for their sheep. Some sheep "travelled" around their stores daily. Many store staff bonded with their sheep and were very sad when the trail was over.’

The trail culminated in a prize draw for everyone who completed the trail. Success in Liverpool demonstrates that city and town centres are interested in new and fun ways to attract customers and offer them an experience they will not find online. The leaflets necessary to navigate the trail narrated the full traditional story of Christmas for shopper to read and take home.

All you need to get started on your own Shoppers’ Nativity Trail is a copy of Jane's essential guide to all things woolly. Messy Nativity gives you all the information, essential sheep knitting patterns and a guide to getting your local shopping centre involved. Also there are additional ideas on engaging the community around your local church – such as the traditional passing from home to home of a Nativity set, and how to arrange a street Nativity play. – Les Ellison

Other products in the Messy Church Series

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Samples of this Book


Details for Messy Nativity

Author / Artist
Book FormatPaperback
PublisherMESSY CHURCH (November 2012)
Number of Pages64
Thickness5 mm
Height198 mm
Width130 mm
Product Code3976322
Page last updated 16th February 2019
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