Why did Messy Church begin?
Fewer and fewer families are coming to church in this country today, Sunday Schools don’t seem to be as effective as they once were; SO, how do we reach families today?
Many churches use special events such as holiday clubs or seasonal events as a way of reaching families, but they run once or twice a year. If we are serious about the nurture of children we need to work with their whole family, taking whole family with them on their journey of faith.
Messy Church started out of a desire to address this key issue. It began in Hampshire in 2004 and now there are 2021 Messy Churches around the world (and counting!). Messy Church happens usually once a month at a time and date that suits families in the local area. We are trying to base our Messy Church on these well-established values.
What are its values?
¬ Christ-centred – Messy Church is a church congregation, not a craft club, that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
¬ All-age – It is for adults and children to enjoy together - every element should be relevant and accessible to all ages.
¬ Creativity – It uses hands-on activities to explore Bible stories, to reflect a God of creativity and to give people a chance to play.
¬ Hospitality – It reflects a God of unconditional love and is a church for people outside church, providing an oasis of welcome and a safe space in which to thrive. Messy Church is about hospitality, expressed most evidently by eating together.
¬ Celebration – It reflects a God of joy who wants his people to have life in all its fullness.
What myths need busting?
¬ It's NOT ... Just for kids. … BUT for all ages to be together.
¬ It's NOT ... Mainly for church families, … BUT primarily for people outside church life. This affects how you do it and when.
¬ It's NOT ... A bridge into "normal" church ... BUT a church congregation in its own right
¬ It's NOT ... Just a social activity ... BUT a way to learn about Jesus.
¬ It's NOT ... a programme, event, … BUT it is church. Messy church has never intended to be a bridge into “proper” church, although we will explore ways of growing disciples within this community.
Jesus was drawn to those whose lives weren’t neat and tidy and so should we be. We want Messy Church to be accessible to those who perceive church to be for people who are "holier than thou", "tidy", “sorted” and “on their best behaviour”.
What about Allesley Park and Whoberley?
¬Venue – Whoberley has been identified as having particular needs that our church is not currently addressing, and so the school is the most convenient place for people living there. We want to step into the community, not make them feel like visitors to OUR church.
¬Time –Sunday afternoons seem to be the least busy time for whole families, particularly young families, both those who attend and those who organise the events.
SO… How can we make our Messy Church more effective?
¬Invite our friends – This is the most important thing we need. We want to bless our friends! Who cared enough to invite us to church? Take a risk and keep asking!
¬At the events – dig a little deeper, go the extra mile to really get to know those we don’t know, and demonstrate God’s love to them (without scaring people off!)
¬All talents needed! – We need people who can – work technology, be musical, organise food, help set up and tidy away chairs and tables, plan creative ideas, talk to families and welcome them, help on craft tables, offer to help as often as you feel able. Doesn’t matter how old or young you are, whether you have family or not, you can have a part to play!
¬Door knocking – Do you want to reach out enough to personally invite those we have no contacts with? We want to target certain streets with flyers, chocolates and friendly faces.
¬Pray – because we believe prayer makes a difference.