How it began
The first Messy Church began in 2004 when a group at St Wilfrid's in Cowplain near Portsmouth were frustrated because, as a church, they were hardly reaching any children with God's story.
They felt they had lovely buildings and facilities but weren't using them enough. They had creative people in the church, and the area needed as much community-building as possible, being a rather featureless suburb.
There was a lot of sympathy towards church in general but the church wasn't offering anything that really gripped the imagination of local families.
They decided very early on to try to do something for all ages together, partly out of a belief that we grow best as a church when we walk the journey with as many different people as possible, and partly from a desire to help families to grow together in their walk of faith, and and not see Christianity as something you grow out of when you're 11.
How it spread
One of the original team members was Lucy Moore. As she was working for BRF at the time, BRF became the natural home of the ministry when training and resources began to be needed for other churches to start their own Messy Church. Messy Church is now a core ministry of BRF.
Messy Church is spreading across denominations and countries, with Mess happening in the countries represented on this website.
The challenges include supporting and enabling this worldwide network, especially as it grows so fast. Creating and commissioning suitable resources is a challenge. Funding the Messy ministry and specific Messy projects is a challenge. Guiding the network in a Godly direction is also a challenge as the team reflects on new ways of being disciples in this context.
The rest is history... a messy present... and an unknown future that you may well be part of too!