Thoughts on Sunday / Messy Church

Published 24th November 2009 by lucy moore

Graham Miles has been musing from his position as church leader on the relationship of Sunday and Messy Church, and communications, perceptions, finances and differences of style between the two. Graham writes:
‘One of the difficulties of Messy Church is that it normally happens outside the ‘normal’ worship slot which, for Aylsham is 10:00 to 11:00 on a Sunday morning. Whilst we endeavour to share what goes on in Messy Church on the following Sunday, there are still some who do not realise that Messy Church is worship and not simply something for the youngsters. This then leads to what I perceive as a difficulty in ‘ownership’ of Messy Church by the majority who go to church on a Sunday morning.
‘This, I hasten to add, is not only a difficulty with Messy Church but can happen to any worship event that takes place on a regular basis outside for what is for the majority the normal worship time.
‘Coupled with this is that we have noticed in Messy Church that normally what we receive in a free will offering only just covers the cost of putting Messy Church on. Also, according to my stewards, if there is going to be an act of worship that can be perceived as being out of the normal, some will stay away. (This may be because taking an active part in worship in whatever way is going outside the comfort zone for some people.) One of the difficulties of any church that has multi-faceted worship styles at different times of the week and / or day is that there is a danger that they are not seen as being part of the same body of the church. Indeed, some may argue that their style of worship is more valid than another style, rather than asking the question: ‘Is all our worship Christ-centred?’
‘I wonder how all our messy and ‘established’ church congregations relate to each other overall, or is that a ‘piece of string’ question? Wouldn’t it be great to relate to each other purely in terms of seeing each other’s gifts, rejoicing in differences, learning from each other, keeping our distinctiveness but being complementary in our mission and worship?’

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