Messy Church

Fresh ideas for building a Christ-centred community

Messy Munch

Aike Kennett-Brown, St. John's Church, Blackheath - 02 Oct 2013

In June 2013 we hosted our first Messy Munch.

What is Messy Munch?

This was our first attempt at intergenerational discipleship, aiming to strengthen relationships within our Messy Church congregation, in an informal way.  As we currently meet bimonthly, it has taken time to get to know some of the families on the fringe, and our long-term hope is that these families will not simply see Messy Church as an event that they drop in to if nothing else is happening, but will become part of the Christ-centred community.

What did Messy Munch involve?

3 families (who are part of our Sunday and Messy Church congregations), aided by some of our senior Messy Church team helpers, hosted a BBQ at their home, during the month of June, with an open invitation for any of our Messy Church congregation to sign up.  We put a limit on numbers at each venue, depending on the size of host house/garden, so that everyone had the opportunity to get to know the other guests and not get lost in a crowd.  We provided each host with a set of all age conversation starter questions adapted from the Table-talk series, which they had the option of using.  We asked guests to sign up to bring some drinks, or a part of the meal, so that everyone felt they could contribute in some way.

What actually happened?

At the Messy Munch that I hosted, 4 families, plus my own attended and despite the chilly weather for a BBQ, it was a really good informal time to get to know people better.

An interesting point of learning: the families who come to Sunday Church as well as Messy Church responded to the invitation on the day or from the email invitation - it's very much a part of our Sunday Church culture to sign up for stuff. 5 days before the event, all our attendees were people from both congregations (although admittedly all the Dads were either not-yet Christians or practiced another faith), so I prayed for one Messy Church family to come. 2 days before the event I built up the courage to personally ask one of these families (our kids all go to the same school) and they were delighted to be invited and immediately said, "Yes please!". The parents had received all the group emails, but it took a personal invite to get them to come. As it turned out, this family had a connection unbeknown to me with all the other families who came - through nursery, swimming class or church toddler group connections.

So - a first step to building deeper friendships and for the not yet Christian Dads to realise that we are all ok as people. Messy Munch will be back on the menu in 2014.

Aike Kennett-Brown
Messy Church Pioneer
St. John's Church, Blackheath