Are you interested in starting your own Messy Church in your community? Here are some tips to get started.
Messy Church started in an Anglican church near Portsmouth, UK, in 2004 and has grown into an international movement operating across a wide range of Christian denominations and traditions. Messy Church began with a simple question asked by a group of leaders in a small community: “How can our small church reach the many families in our community?” And so began a journey of discovery and the birth of Messy Church, shaping worship, learning, and fellowship around the needs of families with children. Today more than 500,000 people worship at a Messy Church experience in over 30 countries.
Messy Church USA has been growing and stretching. Use the map to discover if there is a Messy Church near you. To register your own Messy Church please refer to the Messy Membership details.
Some people may have the false assumption that they need to ‘have their act together’ before they can belong to a church. In using Messy in the title for this church, we acknowledge that we have messy relationships, messy life circumstance and messy families yet we are all invited to encounter the extravagant love of Christ, exactly how we are. We do not need to ‘change’ before we can experience a welcoming community of faith in Messy Church.
Lucy Moore, the founder of Messy Church wrote about the Messy name in a 2015 blog post. “‘Messy’ is saying that God is interested in people and families who are ‘messy’ rather than perfect; that Jesus spent time with outsiders, ‘sinners’ and social misfits more happily than with the orderly (religious people of his day), some of whom seemed to live neatly by the rule book and didn’t appear to need God as urgently as the ‘outsiders’… But Messy Church says ‘We’re all messy, our lives aren’t perfect, our families and children aren’t perfect and we believe the best space for God to deal with us in our messiness and disorder is in church. Come and join us.” (Read more here)
Messy Church is an intergenerational experience for people who are looking for an interactive form of church. People of all ages and sizes are welcome whether you regularly attend church or have never stepped into a church before. At the monthly Messy Church gathering you will explore a biblical theme through hands-on creative activities, a short worship celebration of story, song and prayer and conclude at a table sharing a meal. It does not prioritize either the needs of children or adults but intentionally welcomes and provides for all ages.
The usual Messy Church experience includes relaxed welcome zone where people gather from their busy lives and reconnect with each other. Then activities for all-ages playing and working together begin to explore the theme of the bible story. A short interactive celebration time of story, song and prayer follows the activity time. Finally, the worship experience culminates in a meal together.
Rev. Greg Ross from Australia describes Messy Church in this way: 1) it introduces people to the risen Christ 2) by offering the unconditional hospitality of God 3) in a way that has all ages sharing together in all parts of Messy Church 4) and in ways that strive to engage people with creative opportunities and responses, and 5) it celebrates the gift of the whole of life.