messy church is a relaxed style of church suitable for all ages.
Values are about being Christ-centred, based on: being inter-generational, creativity, hospitality and celebration.
What messy church is and isn’t . . . .
messy church is . . . .
- a style of church for children and adults that involves creativity, celebration and hospitality
- in the words of Claire Dalpra of The Sheffield Centre, UK: ‘messy church is an all-age fresh expression of church that offers counter-cultural transformation of family life through families coming together to be, to make, to eat and to celebrate God.’
- it is primarily for people who don’t already belong to a church.
- its aim is to introduce Jesus and to grow closer to him.
- it meets at a time (and sometimes in a place) that suits people who don’t already belong to church.
- most messy churches meet once a month, a few meet more frequently and some meet once a term.
- it includes a welcome, a creative time to explore the biblical theme through getting messy, a celebration time involving story, prayer, song and a shared meal.
- all elements are for, and should include, people of all ages, adults and children.
- messy church is resourced, supported and enabled by BRF, The Bible Reading Fellowship UK
messy church isn’t . . . .
- only for children – It’s much easier to aim a messy church at one particular age group, messy church needs to be creative in its thinking about how to involve very different people: young and old, families and single people, male and female, academic and practical, poor and rich.
- a club – The whole of messy church is about worshipping God, having fellowship, exploring faith. It welcomes everyone, involves everyone, values everyone, is always there for the outsider. It is church.
- a way of getting people to come to church on Sunday – There are examples of people starting in messy church and deciding to join Sunday church as well, but these are the exception rather than the rule. messy church is interdependent with established church, but operates as a separate congregation.
- only for church families – anyone already belonging to church should be thinking about serving on the leadership team of messy church, however old or young they are, and helping others come to know Jesus.
- a quick fix for church growth
- an easy option – it takes money, time, prayer, commitment and energy from the church and leadership team.
- a drain on church resources – Yes, it will take money and time, effort and gifted people to run it, but it will give back in return a group of people who are fired up for mission, empowered by using their God-given gifts. It will spark off ideas and inspiration about what church is all about and will renew vision. It will grow goodwill in the neighbourhood towards the church and, most importantly, provide the opportunity to do effective mission in your own community.
- set in stone – We’re learning all the time. As the network of messy churches grows and develops, so the best ways of delivering messy church will develop and grow. BRF has deliberately chosen to have a ‘non-controlling’, ‘hands-off’ approach in the way it promotes messy church in the hope that this will give God space to grow his church as he wants to, and that it will give everyone encouragement to experiment and innovate.
adapted from: www.messychurch.org.uk, (used by permission)