A tale of two Messy Churches

A God-given approach for all kinds of churches

Whether in a leafy suburb or a more challenging downtown area, Messy Church offers a unique pathway for the journey of faith. We talked to Revd Mike Lowe who has led Messy Churches in both environments, and why he believes Messy Church is ‘a God-given expression of church for the 21st century’.

Mike Lowe (left) helps lead national communications at Baptists Together as part of a wide-ranging enabling role. He’s also a passionate advocate of Messy Church, having led two, simultaneously, in different congregations in Derby, where for a few years he juggled separate ministry roles.

One was as part-time children and families worker at a church with an existing midweek Messy Church. As minister for a second church in a more deprived area, Mike started a new Messy Church as an opportunity to cement relationships across existing outreach activities, which included a food bank, Christians Against Poverty, and a range of clubs that were open to the community.

'An exceptionally important way of nurturing relationships'

 

Both Mike’s churches hosted third party activities that acted as ‘bridges’ to the local community: one a popular toddler group, the other a strong girls’ brigade. For those involved in these groups, Messy Church offered a pathway to deeper engagement with the church.

Strategically it was an exceptionally important way of nurturing relationships. There were many child dedications and parent baptisms. Some people even got a job as a result of the Messy Church community!

Revd Mike Lowe

'Absolutely not just for children!'

The Messy Church approach is based on Christ-centred and intergenerational creativity, celebration and hospitality. Holding the new Messy Church on a Sunday morning helped older people understand that it was for them too, and the ‘eating together’ element was incorporated as either a shared meal or coffee and cake.

'A profound gift'

Man and boy doing Messy Church craft

Mike is convinced of the importance of Messy Church for the church’s future.

It’s a new flexible, intergenerational, inclusive way of gathering. It allows babies, children, parents and older people to come alongside each other. There is no expectation of silence – so it’s less stressful for parents. It takes down social awkwardness and the potential difficulty of formal gatherings. It allows the creative, intuitive side of the mind to engage. It’s a profound gift – a way of offering church on a level playing field. It’s a more kingdom way of presenting a gathered community where God is in the room.

Discover the latest research on the impact of Messy Churches in the UK.

Read about how a Messy Church is reaching out to a large housing estate.

Thinking of starting a Messy Church? Find out more.

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Support your local Messy Church

Could you support a Messy Church near you? Why not contact the leaders and ask how you could help, through prayer, or even offering to bake cakes or lead a creative activity.

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Host an area talk

Could you organise a talk for your local group of churches so they can find out more about this ministry? Messy Church Regional Coordinators are happy to visit Churches Together groups, area deaneries and other similar groupings.

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Messy Church is funded mainly by voluntary donations and grants. Could you help BRF sustain and grow this ministry? Thank you.