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Messy Church book review

3 March 2011 No Comment

For a few years I had read about Messy Church. In 2010, as part of my study leave looking at Fresh Expressions of Christian community in the UK, I visited several churches that had a thriving Messy Church to see for myself how Messy Church ‘worked’ in different contexts, including its birthplace, St Wilfrid’s, in Cowplain, near Portsmouth. A double-bonus was being at Cowplain for Messy Church’s 6th birthday, and staying with Lucy Moore and her family.

Lucy is a dynamic, energetic leader with a passion for connecting people, especially households with children, to Jesus and a faith community. She is a professional actor and a wonderful storyteller.

In her books Lucy reflects on her experience of how Messy Church originated and developed, and, through her insightful reflections on the nature of ‘church’, explores creative possibilities for local leaders to adapt Messy Church principles for their own community.

In her first Messy Church book (2006) Lucy provides a clear overview, and identifies core ingredients to a Messy Church all-age experience that includes worship, craft and food. In Book 2 (2008) I particularly valued Lucy’s focus on the crucial aspect of discipling. In each book there are 15 programme outlines, which provide brilliant material and practical ideas for those leading and preparing all age worship.

From my own observations a few words of caution for those interested in exploring starting a Messy Church. A Messy Church is very intensive. And, if a congregation funds a Messy Church community, be very aware of the Fresh Expression dynamic, of creating a new community. Fresh Expressions of church are designed for those on the outside or edge of the Christian community; a thriving Messy Church may not lead to more people attending established church worship, or ‘paying its way’. Investment in a Messy Church is an investment in mission and people.

For further information about Messy Church, ideas and resources visit messychurch.org.uk or contact Judyth Roberts, Children and Families Ministry Consultant 02 8267 4289. Lucy Moore is coming to Australia in August and is the keynote speaker at Messy Ministry Context.

-Nicholas Fried

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