First belonging, then believing
The Messy Church that’s bringing the gospel to a whole community
Making it easy to show the love of Jesus
'There wasn’t anybody really reaching out with the good news of the gospel to this community,' says Revd Sue Nicholls, explaining her sense of calling to the estate in the small West Yorkshire city where she’s pastor of an Elim Pentecostal church. When she found out about Messy Church, she felt, 'This is something we need to do. It was something new, something vibrant, involving all the family. It's so easy to show families the love of Jesus in such a non-threatening environment – and it's fun!'
A place of acceptance at a time of need
Take Patricia's family. For a while, complex PTSD had affected the young mum’s ability to look after her own children. When they returned from foster care, she needed somewhere welcoming and non-judgemental to take them. 'I've spent a lot of my life looking for love,' Patricia told us, adding that at Messy Church, 'I found love. God has given me a lot of love from this place. It's come in friendships. It's allowed me to build relationships with my children. It's just been amazing. I found a family.'
Patricia is now baptised. She told us how being a Christian has changed her family.
We’re more conscious of how we behave… we think of how we can be kind to one another – how we can curb our tongues.
Patricia, a Messy Church mum
Hear Patricia tell her story
Bringing the gospel to the wider community
And it’s not just families who are impacted. When the local primary school approached Sue about a school visit to her church, she decided to organise a Messy Church-style session. 'What I didn't expect was that they were actually bringing down a hundred children at a time!' This was soon followed by further special whole-day school visits, including at Christmas and Easter. This year the whole school will be coming to experience the Messy Church-style approach.
'The children are telling their families but also all the staff are getting to know about Jesus. We're reaching out to a school who then impacts more families. We love Messy Church and so do the school!'
Revd Sue Nicholls