Take a Risk: Get Messy!
“I don’t want to go!”.
Have you heard this before? In your own family or in your own church? Do you want to turn it around?
Do you wish you heard: “ I can’t wait!” – “We can’t miss it!” – “Can I invite my friends?”
Messy Church is a way of being church together that is engaging, conversational, relational and accessible. In October 2022 Our Saviour Lutheran Church decided to give it a go – after more than 12 months thinking about Growing Young with support from the LCAQD. Our local church was wanting to find more intentional ways to prioritise young people and their families, and concentrate on warm and welcoming relationships.
Messy Church is a non-denominational fresh expression of church that looks to be all age, inclusive, creative and hospitable, with a focus on Jesus at the centre, with deep joy and celebration. Anyone can give it a go, and there are lots of resources and support available to plan, experiment, and gather as a Messy Church.
The first trial session was a big hit! Internally, the Our Saviour members were excited to try something different for church. A group of people committed to the core team of planning every month – another group committed to volunteering in roles like hospitality (we call them the kitchen friends) and activity stations.
Now, after 12 months, we can say we have welcomed more than 250 people to our messy church in 2023; 50+ are new people to our community. Some are friends of friends – some from the Redeemer College, some from the youth group, some from the playgroup. One family went to a messy church before Covid and it closed and did not reopen. Now they worship with us. They were so excited when our messy church opened in their neighbourhood!
We have a regular team of more than 20 volunteers. Because the Messy Church runs once a month, on the 3rd Sunday, from 4-6pm, people can mark their calendars, or note if they will be away in advance. Families prioritize the time to have faith discussions, get creative, be outdoors, connect with others and enjoy eating together in a relaxed community space.
No two Messy Church sessions look the same – from Lego dioramas and macramé bird feeders to Mentos explosions with Coke bottles – the aim is to engage, explore and enjoy our faith in Jesus with our community of gathered disciples. It’s a safe place for new-to-church families, returning-to-church families, multi-generational families wanting to connect across generations, and people of any or no faith to explore the person of Jesus, the sacred text of the Bible and what it means for us today!
Messy Church is Church – but it might not look anything like a church you have ever attended before. And that is why people respond to it in ways they aren’t responding to traditional forms of Church. It has certainly been a joy and privilege to hear our families and young people say they love to come to Messy Church and would not miss it.
Want to know more? Visit Our Saviour Lutheran Church on a Messy Church Sunday. Use the global Messy Church “find a messy church” tool. Explore Messy Church’s resources online or in a Christian bookstore. Messy Churches have a culture of resource sharing and replication: so please reach out if you would like support or advice getting started! Anyone, from any Messy Church, would be happy to help you.
Anna lives and leads on land originally inhabited by Aboriginal people from the Yagara and Yugambeh language groups. Our Saviour Lutheran Church worships in a variety of formats, including Messy Church, on the Redeemer Lutheran College campus. Anna is married to Lee, and has 3 amazing children who are on the journey with them in the Pastoral life.
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