Stefani Leeper | 3 April 2020  |

About once a month, Messy Church opens its doors to the community, offering drinks and a snack before diving in to an hour of themed crafts, followed by worship and a meal, reports the denomination’s Trans-European Division (TED). [Reports were made in late 2019, prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic.]

“Messy Church is reaching people who weren’t previously attending church,” explains Church Army in the document “Playfully Serious.” It is a new approach that is “growing disciples and modelling new patterns of leadership, and it is doing so across a wide range of economic and social contexts.” 

While this approach certainly doesn’t fit the conventional church parameters, it still caters toward the same goal: making disciples of Jesus.

Messy Church, as quoted by the TED, lists the following as its primary principles:

  • To provide an opportunity for people of all ages to worship
  • To help people of all ages to feel that they belong in church and to each other
  • To help people have fun together
  • To give people a chance to express their God-given creativity
  • To invite people into an experience of Christian community
  • To introduce people to Jesus through hospitality, friendship, stories and worship

The innovative approach originated with Lucy Moore in St. Wilfrid’s, England. Explains the Messy Church website, “As she was working for The Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) at the time, BRF became the natural home of the ministry when training and resources began to be needed for other churches to start their own Messy Church.” 

Supported by BRF, Messy Church, interdependent with established church and usually operating as a separate congregation or church, has been ministering and growing since 2004. A mere 16 years later, Messy Church now registers over 2,800 registered groups in England alone. In fact, the church—which started as a children’s ministries concept—has 3,804 locations in over 30 countries. Many of these are connected to Adventist churches. 

Messy Church also features a handful of offshoots and new opportunities. Messy Cafe, Messy Prison, Messy Camps, and Messy Vintage (the latter of which is geared toward older populations) have begun popping up. Messy Church also offers training courses and additional resources, many of which are utilized by the TED. Clair Sanches-Schutte, TED Children’s and Women’s Ministries director, has been running a very practical Messy Church training across the TED. In May 2019, the International Messy Church Conference was held in Hertfordshire, England.

For more information and to learn how you can bring Messy Church to your church, you can visit:

Church Army: Playfully Serious

Or, connect with Messy Church on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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