Starting your Messy Church

Published 18th February 2013 by Messy Church

by Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter

A beginner’s guide for churches.

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Everything you need to get your Messy Church going!

The bigger picture… What Messy Church is and isn’t… Why the values?… Commitment needed… Checklist of starting strategies… Why the network?… Questions to ask… What to expect… Organising your team… Sustaining your Messy Church… Review questions

This resource is for churches who want to see what’s involved in starting up a Messy Church, or who are ready to go ahead with one. It includes checklists, milestones, questions to ask a Messy Church you’re visiting, review strategies and a resources section.

Technical details

ISBN 9780857460509
Price £4.99
Published 20 January 2012
Pages 64


From Country Way – June to September 2013

We were having problems with the format of our all-age worship in a small rural church – we weren’t reaching young families so we thought we would try something different.

This book is just what it says in its introduction: “short, punchy ….it gets the basics across quickly.” It’s not a book about setting up yet another children’s programme. God is at the heart of it, with a passion shining through for all generations to meet Jesus in a fun and accessible way.

This is a useful resource with some practical checklists and lots of encouragement. It sets out the principles and values of Messy Church, and is full of practical tips – about praying, funding, venue, child protection etc.. It shares some useful experiences of those already involved with established Messy Churches. It doesn’t pull its punches about the difficulties and challenges likely to be faced but it does stress the encouragements and excitement the team will experience as they too grow as disciples as they get involved in the vision.

Once you have decided to give it a go, you are not on your own. The book lists lots of other resources – more books, the Messy Church website, training and regional networks – you never need to be short of ideas and inspiration.

We have been running Messy Church now for six months. It’s hard work but it’s fun. It’s encouraging our regular church families and it’s involving people who, a year ago, “wouldn’t darken the doors of a church”. It’s an opportunity to share the Gospel with them and to build relationships. Above all – it’s messy!

Reviewed by Gillian Roberts

From Country Way Issue 60 – May 2012

The introduction to this book says it is ‘short, punchy and easily passed round a team… It gets the basics across quickly…’ That is exactly what it does. It gives a straightforward clear and concise overview of what Messy Church is and isn’t. It tells you how to set up and maintain a Messy Church.

That is both its strength and the weakness. St Wilfrid’s, Cowplain, (where it started) were innovative and thought creatively when they set up the first Messy Church. It is that innovation and the ability to think outside the box that other churches need to replicate. But just following a process that worked extremely well for St Wilfrid’s may not work for other churches. Parts of the book recognise this: ‘there are plenty of equally valid different ways of doing Messy Church and God is there in all of them.’ Other parts of the book don’t: ‘stick with the Messy Church “brand”. It is tried and tested; don’t fall into the trap of …tinkering about with it.’

I shall be passing the book around in the hope that it will encourage us to learn from the Messy Church experience. I hope we will take the good ideas in it, think about what will work here, and no doubt will tinker about with it.

Reviewed by Robert Barlow

From The Good Bookstall – 30 April 2012

This is a slim volume of 55 pages (sales help fund the Messy Church ministry) introducing this popular Fresh Expression of church to those considering starting a Messy Church in their community. It sets out to be ‘short, punchy and easily passed round a team’ and it fulfils this aim well. Providing help to think through whether or not this is for your church, it counsels not rushing into starting a Messy Church. ‘What matters is that your want to help families meet Jesus’ this is not just for children, but a form of church for children and adults that involves creativity, celebration and hospitality. The big picture to hold in mind is that it is all about making disciples.

Support from the whole church is needed, along with commitment from the leadership and prayer, and there is also good advice in seeking out the ‘unlikely’ people to be involved. It stresses that this is a team ministry and all will need to be prepared for hard work. Messy Church once a month is the normal pattern giving time for preparation and reflection between the sessions. The availability of help, encouragement and resources from the wider Messy Church network through people, books and online support is also covered.

Review by Margaret Brasier, Beeston, Nottingham

From The Church Times – 17 February 2012

MESSY CHURCH, say Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter, is not a children’s church, nor a way of attracting more people to a church’s existing services. It is, they explain in Starting Your Messy Church: A beginner’s guide for churches, a form of church for children and adults which involves creativity, celebration, and hospitality. It meets at a time and sometimes in a place that suit people who don’t belong to a church.

‘The way you go about making disciples may involve horrifying amounts of icing sugar and glitter glue,’ they say – but making disciples is what it’s all about. The aim is ‘to introduce Jesus through hospitality, friendship, stories, and worship’.

Lucy Moore is the Bible Reading Fellowship’s Messy Church Team Leader, and her co-author is a member of the team. Their small book is jolly, encouraging, and full of good and detailed advice for those interested in this kind of worship.