Sunday afternoons just got a whole lot more exciting!
Once a month, we have Messy Church to worship God creatively and have lots of fun!
Lasting for around two hours (including dinner) we have a different theme each time.
We begin with a choice of amazing activities which help us to explore the theme. These include crafts, games and challenges, and we usually have one activity to help us pray. There is always a crèche space with toys for our youngest members to enjoy.
Then we come together for a short talk and a couple of songs, and we round up the afternoon by having a meal.
Messy Church is great fun, and an excellent chance to to chat with new friends over a delicious dinner.
Everyone is welcome at Messy Church, and adults can enjoy the activities just as much as the children. Messy Church enables people of all ages to belong to Christ together through their local church. It is a way of being church which is particularly suited to families, but welcoming to all. It meets at a time and on a day that suits local families and is particularly aimed at people who have never belonged to a church before.Messy Church is part of The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), a Registered Charity. brf.org.uk
The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) is the home of Messy Church; it supports, resources and enables its work. BRF is passionate about making a difference through the Christian faith. For more information on the work of BRF, visit brf.org.uk.
If you would like to help us continue to reach families through Messy Church, please support us through giving and prayer. We have a growing family of people praying for Messy Church; you can join them. It is offered free of charge to churches, and we are dependent on gifts to enable this work of God to keep going.
What’s the Point of Messy Church?
Not an unreasonable question! Two reasons:
To present the Gospel to those who are unlikely ever to come through the doors on a Sunday morning.
To grow relationships between and within families; for parents and children to explore God’s love together, in a place of gentle encouragement.
Messy Church might be unfamiliar to many, but I’m sure it can be valuable, worshipful and fun for lots of people.
What happens at Messy Church?
Messy Church has three consecutive elements.
This is part that will stick in the memory once people leave. We have nearly an hour activities around the church buildings. There is no set order, and families can choose to do as many stations as they like. We try always to have a variety of activities – at least one station devoted to cooking, craft, science, etc.
Doing things with your hands is fun, but we are a church and not just a craft club. All the activities are tied to theme of MC for that month. In our stations, we want families to be engaging with the spiritual context – the theme running through MC – as much as the practical activity.
Station leaders are critically important and have the best opportunities to explain and prompt engagement with our faith. Stations need to be places of conversation – we often have our best conversations whilst doing things – and it is here that we can engage to think about God.
At around 5pm, we come together to worship collectively. We sing (always ‘Be Still’ as our opening), hear the story or theme for today, and pray together. This is short – around 15 minutes – and is where we draw together the many different stations.
During the Celebration time, the hall is prepared for dinner, and we all eat together. Messy Church is not something we ‘do to other people’ – we share in a meal together. This is also an opportunity to continue those conversations from before.
Who Runs Messy Church?
There is a co-ordinating group which meets each month to brainstorm station ideas, but the most important part of Messy Church is what you do.
MC relies on a very large team – up to 15 people each month. Some people work in the kitchen, some at the front door, some leading the Celebration – but most help is needed in running stations.
Station leaders do the following things:
Read the booklet and choose several stations they’d be happy to lead.
Plan how you are going to lead the station – how you might want to adapt the ideas in the booklet.
Buy or source the materials needed for your station. You don’t have to do this – please tell Veronica if you need resources and it’s no problem to provide them for you. But the assumption is that you will source the materials so that the station can run as you intend it. If you need reimbursing, please speak to Veronica.
Arrive at around 3.15pm to set-up their station and join the group prayer at 3.30pm.
Lead the activity at their station (4-5pm) and talk about the story to the families.
“Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Like any act of worship, we want our faith to shine through all aspects of our time together. Worship is obvious during the Celebration of singing and praying, but we want our faith to be central throughout
the afternoon. During the tea/coffee opening and mealtime ending, we want our welcome to be warm and sincere. It’s surprising how important it can be simply to know and remember others' names. But Jesus in the stations is perhaps the hardest aspect to expose. The link between the activity and Christianity often needs teasing out, but it’s easy to feel very self-conscious when so doing. I take confidence, however, in knowing that we are in a church, and don’t need to be shy. But more than that, Jesus is not a boring topic that destroys the fun of an activity: rather, kindling a living faith is the greatest gift we can offer, and we can look forward to any opportunity to share it.