'We're reaching people who have never been to Sunday church'
Breaking down barriers on hard-to-reach urban estates
From Dundee to Portsmouth, Kilmarnock to Edgeware, Bradford to Telford – we’ve heard how estate residents of all ages are coming to faith through the inclusive, generous and informal way of being church that is Messy Church. One respondent to Ellie's research said:
It's a family! We have grandparents, parents, children, friends, neighbours all coming together. The families know each other well, the children see each other at school, and Messy Church is always a happy, relaxed and sometimes chaotic gathering!… It’s sometimes where you share the hard things too, and we've had many opportunities to have quieter conversations, to pray and to comfort.
That can mean dispensing with the official welcome, as people wander in at different times, and making sure each individual is greeted personally. It can mean tasking one volunteer solely with chatting to people and building relationships. Occasionally activities are tweaked to meet the particular needs of the people
Like Messy Churches elsewhere (as reported on by the Church Army in Playfully Serious), those on council estates tend to meet monthly, though they’re more likely to meet on a Saturday and in a variety of venues.
A church for the unreached
Mirroring the Church Army findings, Ellie’s research tells of families coming back, attending regularly and inviting their friends, and of individuals making a firm commitment to Christ.
While some people do start coming to other church events, many Messy Churches have developed an identity as a separate congregation, or 'fresh expression', one that provides a strong sense of belonging for those coming.
Releasing ordinary Christians for service
Though it’s not always an easy sell, Messy Church presents a huge opportunity for members of the regular congregation, helping them in 'growing together and releasing gifts', unleashing energy and 'achieving something they never expected'.
Join the Messy Church mission!
BRF nurtures, trains and equips over 100 volunteer regional coordinators and thousands of Messy Church leaders, creating a constant supply of imaginative new ideas and resources and developing new ways to grow the ministry.
Wherever you live, if you’re as excited as we are about what God is doing through Messy Church, we’d love you to get involved. Could you help us bring the good news to tough places in the UK and around the world?
Street image © 2019 Google