Ideas and advice

Ideas on storytelling, Christmas and Easter, prayer, music and discipleship from the Messy Church team.

Discipleship Self Review Toolkit

Bristol Diocese have created a really thought-provoking document for teams to analyse and evaluate their own Messy Church. Why not give it a try if you’re exploring the aspect of the Discipleship Pilot which is ‘improving your Messy Church’? Download the PDF

Messy science and God

We're grateful to Rosalind King (St David's, Carr Mill) for providing us with her talk on Messy science and God. Download the PDF

Messy Discipleship Pilot

Here’s a helpful tool to get your team discussing what you might do to help your Messy Church grow disciples. You’ll find lots of background details in the May-August 2018 issue of Get Messy! It’s very simple to use:

Holy Communion in Messy Church

A really helpful guide to doing Messy Church Communion in an Anglican setting. This is a collaboration between Messy Church BRF and the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, with help from Hymns Ancient and Modern. Read the introductory blog

The Gingerbread Man’s Christmas Adventure

Messy Church regional coordinator for Leeds, Rachel Gotobed, has written this great Christmas play, The Gingerbread Man’s Christmas Adventure. It would work well as a standalone play or could be used alongside Renita Boyle's book The Gingerbread Nativity.

Messy Church Does Science: Free and extra activities

We have made 13 activities from Messy Church Does Science available to download for free, some of which are not included in the book itself. Click here to download all 13 activities. If you would like to download individual activities, please click below:

Messy Church Does Science: Take-home ideas

Can't get enough of Messy Church Does Science? There are loads of experiments and other activities you can do at home to continue exploring the ideas in our other resources.

Floating and sinking eggs from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Floating and sinking eggs activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Tornado in a bottle from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Tornado in a bottle activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Wave machine from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Wave machine activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Storm in a jar/Clouds in a jar from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Storm in a jar/Clouds in a jar activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Cartesian diver from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Cartesian diver activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Refraction of light from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Refraction of light activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Moulded plasticine from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Moulded plasticine activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Making music from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 1)

You can see photos from the Making music activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Stardust from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Stardust activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

The blue planet from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the The blue planet activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Rock around from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Rock around activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Day and night from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Day and night activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Spoon science from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Spoon science activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Solar system from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Solar system activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Pleiades from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Pleiades activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Always moving and all ways moving from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Always moving and all ways moving activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

EXTRA Dinosaur hunt from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 2)

You can see photos from the Dinosaur hunt activity in Messy Church Does Science below. This is an extra activity that is not included in the published book. You can download this activity here.

Invisible air pressure from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Invisible air pressure activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Air resistance and asking questions from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Air resistance and asking questions activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Paper planes from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Paper planes activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Acoustics from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Acoustics activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Air resistance and Cayley cones from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Air resistance and Cayley cones activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Wind, seed dispersal and autogyros from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Wind, seed disperal and autogyros activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Measuring our breathing from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Measuring our breathing activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Measuring wind direction from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 3)

You can see photos from the Measuring wind direction activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Light and shadow from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Light and shadow activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Spectroscope from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Spectroscope activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Red sky at night from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Red sky at night activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Chromatography from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Chromatography activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Paint mixing from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Paint mixing activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Acids and alkalis from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Acids and alkalis activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Linear optics from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Linear optics activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Flame tests from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Flame tests activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Fluorescence, iridescence and luminescence from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Fluorescence, iridescence and luminescence activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Young's double slit from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 4)

You can see photos from the Young's double slit activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Heart: pump it up from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Heart: pump it up activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Brain: it's mind-blowing from Messy Church Does Science (chapter 5)

You can download templates from the Brain: it's mind-blowing activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Hearing from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Hearing activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Taste and see from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Taste and see activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Get in touch from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Get in touch activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Body unity from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Body unity activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Blind spots from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Blind spots activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

DNA extraction from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the DNA extraction activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Messy fingerprints from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Messy fingerprints activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Dem bones from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 5)

You can see photos from the Dem bones activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Tree rings from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the tree rings activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Fruit batteries from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Fruit batteries activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Growing babies best from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Growing babies best activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Starch testing from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Starch testing activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Leaf rubbing from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Leaf rubbing activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Camouflage from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Camouflage activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

All you need in a seed from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the All you need in a seed activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Yeast from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Yeast activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Potato osmosis from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Potato osmosis activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Survey the churchyard from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Survey the churchyard activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

EXTRA Burning food from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Burning food activity in Messy Church Does Science below. This is an extra activity that is not included in the published book. You can download this activity here.

EXTRA Seaweeds from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Seaweeds activity in Messy Church Does Science below. This is an extra activity that is not included in the published book. You can download this activity here.

EXTRA Smells from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 6)

You can see photos from the Smells activity in Messy Church Does Science below. This is an extra activity that is not included in the published book. You can download this activity here.

Evolution: the great adventure of life from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 7)

You can download templates from the Evolution: the great adventure of life activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Dinosaurs: God's grandeur from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 7)

You can download templates from the Dinosaurs: God's grandeur activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Feed the birds from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 7)

You can see photos and download templates from the Feed the birds activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Bees from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 7)

You can see photos and download templates from the Bees activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Watching birds from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 7)

You can download templates from the Watching birds activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Nestboxes for birds from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 7)

You can download templates from the Nestboxes for birds activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these templates are free to download and photocopy.

Make a milk carton car from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Make a milk carton car activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Water power from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Water power activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Balloon rocket from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Balloon rocket activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Speedboat matchsticks from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Speedboat matchsticks activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Bottle rocket from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Bottle rocket activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Penny battery from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Penny battery activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Greenhouse effect from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 8)

You can see photos from the Greenhouse effect activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Cornflour gloop from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Cornflour gloop activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Mentos geyser from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Mentos geyser activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Bicarbonate fizz from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Bicarbonate fizz activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Cleaning pennies from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Cleaning pennies activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Elephant's toothpaste from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Elephant's toothpaste activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Wind-up racer from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can download diagrams from the Wind-up racer activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these diagrams are free to download and photocopy.

Types of invisible ink from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Types of invisible ink activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Slime from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Slime activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

EXTRA Meringues from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 9)

You can see photos from the Meringues activity in Messy Church Does Science below. This is an extra activity that is not included in the published book. You can download this activity here.

Barton's pendulum from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the Barton's pendulum activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Sand timers from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the Sand timers activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Measuring direction: a water compass from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the Measuring direction: a water compass activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Measuring temperature: a water thermometer from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the Measuring temperature: a water thermometer activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Weighing air from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the Weighing air activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

How fast are you? from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the How fast are you? activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Light speed from Messy Church Does Science (Chapter 10)

You can see photos from the Light speed activity in Messy Church Does Science below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr.

Messy Church Does Science at Cheltenham

You can see photos from the Messy Church Does Science Cheltenham event below. All these images are available to download via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. See the album on Flickr. 

Summary of Easter resources

Here are some Lent and Easter resources to share with you, pulled together by Jane. Grab some new ideas or store away for another year:

Make a thumb piano!

An exciting activity from one of our Messy Church which doesn't require glitter, glue or colouring in. Dr Rob Rutherford is from Top of Town Messy Church in Basingstoke, Hampshire and shares this science activity which you should definitely try! Find a saw, wood and bolts and create a thumb piano to create your own Messy tunes on. 

Summary of Christmas resources

Jane pulled together this useful list for Christmas that is worth keeping in a folder for future use.

Encouraging families to live out faith in the home: part 2

The guide is for families and churches to give you some reassurance about how to get started with Christianity in the home. Getting Started Take into account the following factors when offering support and resources to families: Appropriate language and content when selecting Bible stories There is a range of Bibles available for children and young adults. It is helpful if families can be given guidance as to what is appropriate for different age groups.

Social Action

This guide is for families and churches on the importance of social action as part of your Messy Church. Messy social action: Messy Church seeks to be both ecclesial and missional; in other words, to be both fully a church where the congregation is nurtured and taught in the faith,  as well as a church that goes on reaching out creatively with the compassion of God and the good news of Jesus to others in its community and beyond.

Encouraging families to live out faith in the home

The guide is for families and churches to give you some reasurrance before you start to talk about faith in the home.  Reassurance before starting Whatever a parent’s/carer’s level of knowledge, there are some important points to recognise at the start.

Messy Cathedrals

The guide shows you the best way to host a Messy Cathedral, along with lots of other ideas that are worth considering! How Do We Run a Messy Cathedral Event? Running a Messy Cathedral event is a brilliant idea! It provides the opportunity to showcase Messy Church in the region, it helps to enlighten people who may be thinking about starting their own Messy Church and it can also encourage those who are already involved in a Messy Church, not forgetting the joy of taking part in a Messy Church together in a high-profile building.

Messy Evangelism

This guide is to highlight the importance of sharing Christian faith in Messy Church.

Messy Twinning

This guide is to show you the positives of twinning with another Messy Church and how you might put it into practise. 

How to engage teenagers

Here are ways to help your Messy Churches feel more all-age rather than directed just at younger children.

How do we encourage discipleship in Messy Church?

Here are ways of exploring and growing discipleship that make sense in a Messy setting. How do we encourage discipleship? Jesus said, ‘... go and make disciples of all nations…’ Matthew 28:18–19, NIV

Liturgy and Messy Church

Here are ways of exploring and growing liturgy that make sense in a Messy setting.

How do we finance our Messy Church?

It's got lots of tips and hints on easy ways to make your Messy Church work on shoestring because 'you don't need posh crafts'. 

Why should we register our Messy Church?

The Messy Church team have put together a 'Maximising the Mess' guide with reasons for you to register your Messy Church on our directory. It's got lots of important points that take into consideration the previous guides, so definitely take a read, because we'd love to have you as part of the ever-growing Messy Church community. 

The Lord's Prayer with actions

Lucy Moore, Jane Leadbetter and Martyn Payne demonstrate the Lord's Prayer with actions. You can watch on YouTube below: Here's the wording they use for the prayer:

How do we increase our numbers?

Messy Churches come in all different shapes and sizes, much like people! There is no magic formula for increasing the amount of people that roll through the doors.

How do we welcome people with additional needs at Messy Church?

Messy Churches have all different types of people coming through their doors. How do you make sure that you welcome every member equally and are accommodating to all people, including those with SEND? 

How do we operate as a larger Messy Church?

Over the years, Messy Church has grown hugely and we are now celebrating over 3000 churches that are part of the network. With the amount of registrations growing monthly, the amount of families attending this all-age ministry is surely growing too.  The team has decided to put together helpful 'Maximising the Mess' guides to help your families to be excited, ready to come back each month and for you to make the most of your Messy Church.

Faith Pictures

Faith Pictures is a short course designed to help Christians talk naturally to friends, neighbours and colleagues about what they believe. The heart of the course is about helping people to identify a single picture or image that embodies something of their faith. This is because the kinds of communication which best stick in the mind are concrete and rooted in story.

Liturgy bridging traditional and Messy Church

Sue Taylor sent us the following liturgy that they are using for Communion. Her introduction:

Twenty ways to develop Messy Church out of an event, festival or pilot

Many churches take part in a festival, fete or fair at which Messy Church features in some way. Examples might be the Big Church Day Out, the Royal Norfolk Show or one of the Fusion Festivals. Other opportunities to look out for might be events like farmers' markets, car boot sales, craft fairs, patronal festivals or other annual events. Running Messy Church at an open event like one of these is great fun and hugely rewarding but very different from holding it on a regular basis and it's worth bearing the differences in mind.

Can Messy Church Work Anywhere? Social deprivation report

Research into Messy Churches in areas of social deprivation within the UK

A nativity play from 'Awesome Cake'

You may have read in the January - April 2013 edition of Get Messy! about the group of teenagers called ‘Awesome Cake’ from a village in Hampshire. They have kindly sent in the nativity play they wrote together. As their leader Caroline Chichester says, ‘It’s been so important to engage them with the reality of the Gospel today and to see their thinking and faith develop.’

Research into Messy Churches in Schools in the UK

Throughout 2013 the Messy Church Team in the UK has been exploring some of the challenges and advantages of running Messy Churches in schools. Early in the year a questionnaire was sent out to over 50 Messy Churches registered on the website who stated that they met in their local primary or secondary school. In addition, there have been visits to a number of Messy Churches which run in schools in order to talk to leaders, their teams and those who are part of the new congregations.

Helpful research for planning a Messy Church

One Messy Church conducted some research to find out the best time for a new Messy Church to start. You can see the results of the research (PDF), and you can download the interview sheet for yourself to modify (Word document).  

The Lost Sheep website

I met Andrew the creator of Cecil the Lost Sheep when I was in Australia last and just love his stuff. Try the free download of the storytelling kit and you’ll see how well it fits into the Messy Church ethos – quirky fun for adults and for children. The books are available in the UK from Wesley Owen, Eden or your local Christian bookshop.

Interactive Prayer Spaces

Check out Orison's great resources for interactive prayer spaces in schools.

Flash cards telling the whole Bible story

From Richard Shrimpton, Horsley Village Church Yesterday before telling the story I used a great resource that the children loved: digital Flash Cards on a laptop. There's nothing new about the concept of flash cards but these are available to download as PowerPoint presentations from The Bible Curriculum website. The flash cards tell the whole Bible in 30 images giving a really clear overview of God's big story and helps children understand the chronology of the Bible.

Music for Easter from Friends and Heroes

We used the song 'Remember me' as part of our Good Friday family time

Worship for Everyone

Worship music accessible for all ages together.

Guidance on photo and image copyright

If you use images or photographs either on a website or in publicity material, you generally need to obtain copyright permission first. If you are using images on your website or publicity materials that you have found on Google (or equivalent) by searching, but where you have not looked for copyright information, you are likely in breach of copyright.

Team building

You can't run Messy Church on your own - you need a team. You often need a large team by church leadership standards. But don't panic: this simply means you are giving more people a chance to grow in their own discipleship as they serve in Messy Church.

Sustaining your Messy Church & team

There will be exciting positive months when everything goes well, crowds are pawing at the door asking searching questions about the place of suffering in the world, and when every craft leads young and old into a deep relationship with God and with each other.

Prodigal Son ideas and crafts

By Kathy We made marshmallow pigs on biscuits (I've previously done marshmallow pigs in 'mud' on top of chocolate angel delight but wasn't sure how many to cater for so decided biscuits was easier). Use one marshmallow for the face, cut 2 triangles of marshmallow for ears and stick them on each side. Use half a mini marshmallow for the snout and writing icing for eyes and 2 dots on the snout. The marshmallows stick reasonably well when cut but a bit of icing for glue always helps!

Activities on Creation, The Good Samaritan and Palm Sunday

By Sue Avery Sue Avery's Messy Church in Cholsey, Oxfordshire, has put together the following craft ideas on the themes of Creation, The Good Samaritan and Palm Sunday. These craft-based ideas work well at Cholsey, where they have a relatively young average age. The ideas are available as a PDF. Download

Creative writing activity

By Pam Mellor Have you considered using spiritual verse? Some people use the word 'poetry', but that conjures up too many bad experiences of sitting through boring English lessons! I have attached a copy of a verse which I wrote several months ago, which I have used during worship. Although, not the best piece of literature ever, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people present, who asked me for a copy!

Encouraging participation

Joining in! Doing stuff! Being a player, not a spectator! However you want to put it, it's really important to give everyone the chance to participate as much as possible in all parts of Messy Church as participation is a way for people to feel they belong, to learn and to stay engaged. Participation in the welcome time Is anyone hanging back, too shy to join in the board games or activities at the start? Have you got enough leaders to keep an eye open for newcomers and to join in alongside them?

Knit your own Bible

by Anne Le Bas Our local school was looking for resources to go in story bags which would help children to explore Biblical stories. It was easy to find Nativity and Noah's Ark toys and figures, but difficult to find anything else. A couple of us from our our church therefore devised knitting patterns for Bible character glove puppets, and gave out the patterns to anyone in the church who liked to knit.

Blessing boxes

by Rev. Canon Duke Vipperman We wanted to put something in the kids empty hands. So we developed the idea of a 'Blessing Box'. We used white Bride's favour boxes often placed at the table setting of guests at a Wedding reception. They are easy enough for most kids to assemble themselves. Then the box was filled with symbols of each beatitude. Riffing off the reworded Beatitudes found elsewhere on this Messy Church site, we gave the kids these ideas: 1. Good on you who feel empty,God's home is open to you.

Footprint painting the easy way

by Rachel Parkinson Years ago I had seen a large banner made by blanking off parts of the cloth to leave a cross shape revealed. People then walked all over it having dipped the soles of their feet in paint. The result - a footprint cross - was really effective. I wanted to do the same for our second Messy Church.

Advent Candles

by Anne An unexpected hit at our Advent/Christmas Messy Church session yesterday were decorated Advent Candles. It was really just an extra 'filler' activity in case we needed it, but it really seemed to absorb a wide range of people - one Dad really got into it and produced a wonderful candle.

Sugar Marbling

by Valerie Prettyman You'll need: 2 level spoonfuls icing sugar 1 spoon white wine vinegar selection of food colourings card squares cocktail sticks a paste brush Mix together the icing sugar and the vinegar. Then brush it completely over your card. Be generous in your application! Then dip the cocktail stick in the first colour of food colouring and hold it onto the card where it will start to spread in a snowflake pattern. Then introduce more colours. DO NOT USE TOO MUCH as it does spread!

Messy Church & people with disabilities

Many Messy Churches enjoy the company of people with disabilities. With this in mind, we asked Cristina Gangemi to describe how to make a Messy Church experience most helpful for families in which someone has a disability. Cristina produced the following piece of work full of interest, challenge and practical ideas. Some of these we can put into practice tomorrow; some of them require careful planning and some may be a step too far for teams who are already stretched. But we can all have our eyes opened to new ways of making sure that all people are welcome in our Messy Churches.

An introduction for church leaders

We've put together a helpful introduction to Messy Church for church leaders. Hopefully this will be a useful tool to use to talk to your church leaders about Messy Church. The PDF includes endorsements, benefits for your church and some of the why and how.

Table Talk for all-age Messy moments

This is a very valuable resource and will be a great "next step" for Messy Churches.

Bap-tingle

by Jane Carter At a Baptism within a Messy Church service I adapted the Christingle for baptism. Everyone made one of these.