The church’s best-kept secret?

The ‘Messy’ ministry that’s equipping 40,000 churchgoers for active mission in over 20 countries.

Messy missionaries on the march

You’re probably aware of Messy Church as a relatively new, vibrant, innovative and creative way of reaching out to local families of all backgrounds. You might even appreciate its potential as a ‘fresh expression’, creating intergenerational, community-based church in new settings, such as in a school on a weekday afternoon. What you might not know is that BRF’s Messy Church has been supporting and equipping a global movement of Christians and churches united in this vision for leading people of all ages and backgrounds closer to Christ through celebration, creativity and hospitality on four continents. With over 3,900 registered Messy Churches (and many, many more unregistered), we estimate around 40,000 people are involved worldwide in leading and helping in this mission. 

A generous gathering

Messy Church leader from France (L'Église pêle mêle) presenting at conference

The massive distances people were prepared to travel to this superbly well-organised conference speaks volumes about what Messy Church means to them. The calibre of delegates and their serious engagement with the discussions were impressive.

Andrew Roberts, editor of BRF’s Holy Habits resources

It was to be an unprecedented time of generous sharing and bonding for the Messy Church global family: High Leigh Conference Centre in Hertfordshire was buzzing with joy, energy and creativity when 200 delegates from a dozen countries gathered on the May 2019 bank holiday for the second Messy Church International Conference. Joining BRF’s Messy Church team were Regional Coordinators and Messy Church leaders representing many of the estimated 40,000 Messy Church helpers on four continents. They brought with them amazing new ideas from all corners of the world and they left with many more, as well as with a renewed commitment to the Messy Church mission.

Thank you for your leadership, encouragement and for binding us together as a community that can grow together.

Thank you a thousand times for the hard work and preparation. It was a transforming experience.

Nurturing disciples all over the world

slate decorated with Bible verse: On this Rock I will build my church, Matthew 16:18

There was affirmation from Claire Dalpra, presenting her Playfully Serious report from the Church Army’s Research Unit on Messy Church’s effectiveness, and challenge from Andrew Roberts, the editor of BRF’s Holy Habits discipleship resources. All fired up, conference delegates put their collective hearts, minds and souls into thinking hard about how to nurture followers of Jesus in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Croatia and Norway, as well as far-flung parts of the English-speaking world.

The Holy Habits books have proven a great starting point for practical suggestions that are tailorable to the local church environment: a special new Messy Church Holy Habits resource for 2020 will make it even easier for teams to embed discipleship at the heart of their Messy Church planning.

Serious fun

As Claire’s research shows, Messy Church is serious; but it’s playful, too – and this energetic gathering of extraordinarily fun and talented people proved no exception, getting involved in a Messy Murder Mystery, marshmallow toasting, music and movement, and singing in Te Reo Maori. Since the conference, Messy Church’s Facebook page has been alive with photos and videos of how delegates are spreading the joy in their home communities – check out this video of a South African Messy Church singing and dancing to a Fischy Music song made popular by the Sunday morning Communion service!

Kirche Kunterbunt, Tesz-Vesz Gyulekezet, Eκκλησία Aλλιώς Kliederkerk, L’Église pêle-mêle, Llan Llanast, Kreativ Kirke
Can you guess in which countries these Messy Churches meet?

Fifteen years of Messy Church

Almost 15 years ago to the day, Lucy Moore first stepped out in faith with the idea of an informal, uplifting church gathering that would allow all kinds of people to bring their lives – however messy – to God, engaging them in his word through all the senses. The very first Messy Church was launched in St Wilfrid’s Church, in Cowplain, a suburb of Portsmouth on the south coast of England, on 29 April 2004.

The growth of Messy Church, from suburban parish outreach to international movement, is a testimony both to God’s blessing and provision and to Lucy’s vision, faith, dedication and sheer hard work, as well as those of the other team members who have supported her over the years.

Lucy Moore in conversation with conference delegate

Onwards and upwards!

Please pray for Messy Churches around the world – and especially that the leaders and Regional Coordinators who attended the conference would find opportunities to use their experiences and skills for the good of God’s kingdom in their own countries (including the Messy Church delegates from Sweden shown here!).

Keep on teaching, sharing, encouraging, inspiring and partnering.

Keep up the good work. You are on to something very special.

Inspiring… Going back home with great new ideas.

Three members of Swedish Messy Church leadership team

Discover more of the Messy Church world