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Messy Church Course

What is Messy Church?

Messy Church was started up because families/children were only coming to the holiday clubs.

Messy Church is directed at all ages – so that children can be nurtured in a church environment more regularly.

Parents can spend time with children – KEY to Messy Church

Any child that is on their own shouldn't really be on their own otherwise parents may leave their children there (if there is a 10 year old who wants to come – ask them to get the a parent or if they can see an adult they know that will be responsible for them)

Questions to consider when setting up Messy Church

Should we be bringing families into Sunday services or should we just accept Messy Church is Church?

Answer - Messy Church is Church. If families were interested in coming on a sunday then they would already be coming. Most families use sunday to spend time as a family, or its sometimes when children have football etc on. Messy Church is another congregation of the Church. We should be a Church for them.

At what point do you charge for coming to Messy Church?

Answer - Sunday congregation should pay  as part of its outreach mission. Messy Church is a community. You can do raising money activities with Messy Church (Lucy Moore's Messy Church is “twining one of her church toilets with one in India” etc). Show that God loves to give things for free.

Should there be a final goal? What should it be?

Answer - To experience a Christian community, to help them come to Christ and to help “plant seeds”.

How do we get Children in upper primary school age and children that are into sporty activities rather than crafts active?

Answer - Try to get activities to fit all ages.

Do we provide a Meal?

Answer – Yes it shows the people who are from outside the church our faith as well as our church is a community.

What Messy Church is not

It's not a club for kids but for all ages.

It's not a Church for church families but for the unchurched.

It's not a bridge into normal church but it's a church in its own right.

It's not just a fun social activity but a way to help people discover Jesus.

Messy Church should be based on the following values

Christ Centered – learning through play


Hospitality – allowing adults to come even if they haven't brought children – its a chance for people eg elderly who are lonely to socialise.


All ages

One Messy Church in Derby changed its name to Messy Play then more families started coming as a result.

Setting Up Messy Church

Creating a Team (Lucy Moore's suggestion)

Core Team (3-4 people)


Blokes/teens/edgy – if we want dads and teens coming more then we need dads and teens as helpers.

Craft helpers


Celebration leaders

Chatters – if people running the day are busy then they can't go around talking to everyone therefore people can be God's ears and eyes.

Pray-ers (sometimes don't have always to pray before starting)

Child protection

*One church got the young people to lead celebration section as all children and young people have a ministry

Set up plan (Lucy Moore's suggestions)



Name Badage




Intro to the theme

Crafts (Lucy Moore's suggestions)


Different types – different learners and ages

Include activities that doesn't involve being taken home eg science activities

Helpers at each station

Linked to theme


For adults too

Celebration (Lucy Moore's suggestions)

Different room?



Involves everyone

Keep to one theme

Clear language

Bible based

Meal (Lucy Moore's suggestions)



Imaginative link to theme

Make sure each family is eating together

Mix team and families to ensure everyone is together

Age appropriote

Cost effective

Goodbye (Lucy Moore's suggestions)


Further events

Reminder of next date

Take home handouts

Gifts (one Messy Church leader asked companys for gifts to promote their products for the 200 people that attend their Messy Church)

Messy Church Discipleship (Lucy Moore's suggestions)


Unique to every place

Ongoing (but need for milestones)


Modelled (caught not taught)


For team

For congregation as individuals and families

Making the most of opportunities within Messy Church itself.

People feel belonged within Messy Church – even athiests are coming and inviting friends. (Research from a Messy Church in Surrey) It also found that both leaders and parents were nervous about asking religious questions as they didn't have built up relationships.

Next Steps

Faith at home – porous grace – Messy Church is best not more than once a month.

Family as a model – Just go to church or pray together etc. We should provide and equip families to provide Christianity in homes. Faithinhomes.org.uk

Tread lightly – Don't ask people to get their children baptised etc

Craft websites that were suggested 

Infinite Crafts – they provide anything you need (if you want 12 disciples then they will provide them)

Bakeross (both of these are 10% off if you say your Messy Church)



Report by Becki Cole


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