How do we increase our numbers?

Published 18th April 2016 by Messy Church

Messy Churches come in all different shapes and sizes, much like people! There is no magic formula for increasing the amount of people that roll through the doors. However, the Messy Church team have put together a ‘Maximising the Mess’ guide to help you increase your numbers and the relationship that you have with the community surrounding your church, in the hope you will be able to make the most of your Messy Church.


  • Ask your church to pray for the families in your community.
  • Reflect together about the advantages of having relatively low numbers. (Jesus was happy with just twelve.) Why do you want more families to come?
  • Consider why you’re holding a Messy Church at all. What are your two main aims?
  • Have you asked the families around your area when is the best time for a Messy Church, or is the time when you hold it set for the team’s convenience only?
  • Is there anything about your Messy Church place or time which is in any way complicated for families? Can you make it easier for them to remember the venue or the day by simplifying where and when it takes place?
  • Who do you want to come? Where from? Knowing this will help with advertising.
  • Have you aimed the publicity completely at children? Does it appeal to adults too? Do you refer to those who come as ‘children’ or ‘families’ or ‘people’? Which is most helpful?


  • Review your leaflets/posters. Ask an outsider to comment honestly. What do they communicate about your Messy Church? Who does it appear to be for? Is the basic information clear? Is any of the language negative?
  • Imagine that your own family attends your Messy Church (they may do anyway). How do they talk to their friends about it? Can you borrow their vocabulary for your publicity? Try a graffiti wall at a session, or write comments on paper tablecloths.
  • Collect contact details and get in touch with the families each month to advertise the next Messy Church.
  • Plan ahead. Plan the dates of your Messy Church for the year. Send out the list regularly via flyers, texts, Facebook and/or email. Put the list on the reverse of flyers or create a craft activity at a Messy Church session to make it into a fridge magnet or book mark.
  • Start a Facebook page (seek permission before you use photos) for your Messy Church. Encourage families to use it by keeping it updated with photos and short video clips of relevant Bible themes and news.
  • If you leaflet roads or schools each month, consider doing so for at least twelve months. It takes longer than you think to get the message out.

Next steps

  • Invite whole families to be on your Messy team. They will bring a renewed energy and freshness to the proceedings.
  • Involve families also by inviting them to contribute items you need, for example, a cake.
  • Shadow one family around a Messy Church session, collecting comments from adults and children. Thank them with a small gift such as chocolates, and share their comments with your core team.
  • Be in it for the long haul. Every Messy Church has fluctuating >numbers. Praise God for those who come, whether that number is large or small.


We’re interested to know whether you have any thoughts on increasing numbers. 

  • Have you used some of the tips and have they worked?
  • Is there any advice that we haven’t included?

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