Not everyone is in favour of Messy Church. Here's some email correspondence I've had recently which may give you food for thought.
Email to the website:
I am really afraid that our church will get 'messy'. Surely, if the simple telling of the Gospel of Jesus to people who have been searching and on whom the Holy Spirit has been working is not adequate to bring about their salvation you are off course. Yes, do all those fun things - we do - but remember that those God calls will have no chance to refuse. We can be a loving, caring, outreaching church community without giving wrong impressions - I could go on and on about such big errors as Purpose Driven and Toronto but I know God will sort it out. Nevertheless I worry about just getting numbers in. I am sure you are all sincere but messiness has taken the sanctity out of church worship. Our church is growing -with simple Christian neighbourliness - and activities - messy we aren't ...YET!
Thank you for your email and concern for the church.
Can I ask if you've been to a Messy Church to see what goes on at one? I think you'll see for yourself that nobody on the team is remotely concerned with 'just getting numbers in' - it's about individual relationships and making the most of God-given opportunities to introduce people to the living God, and you'll probably see sanctity running all through it in different forms. The numbers aspect is just icing on the cake.
My fear is that most families in our society don't even get to the point or place where anyone from a church can do the 'simple telling' in the first place, never mind respond to it, and Messy Churches are just one way of making a 'telling place' more widely available to people of all ages. I was very moved on Saturday to listen to a person who said she felt God was saying that through Messy Church he was answering his people's cry to be set free to worship him.
I don't believe God is limited to any one form of church and he loves to use all sorts of people and means to draw families closer to him. Messy Church is just one of those ways and I rejoice with you that your church is growing: it is obviously another way of being church that he is blessing. If we can count numbers as blessing, I suppose.
If there are any specific concerns you have with the theology of Messy Church, I would be interested to hear them.
Every blessing in your ministry
And the final reply from the person concerned:
Yes, I have serious issues. I have looked at most of the site. DVDs etc. Lots about food crafts fun but little mention of Jesus from those interviewed. Even commending infant baptism. This is not scriptural. You can involve the neighbourhoods without letting them think worship of our Saviour is about having a laugh and a party. That is important, yes, and we do that a lot at our church but it is not the way to approach Salvation. I am very sorry to complain but I feel you should not be having to major on the fun. I deal with all sorts of folk of all ages and some various disabilities. We need to first see the need for forgiveness. But why am I saying all this? You have a Bible. Take care. May God bless your efforts. Please don' t reply. We must both save our energies for prayer.