The Messy Church annual leaders get together took place in early October in the Connect Base on the Shankill Road in Belfast.
We had Messy Church leaders from 6 different Messy Churches across Northern Ireland so thanks to all of you for coming along.
We had a look at Sweaty Church which is creative way of doing Church, sparked from Messy Church but involving games and NO CRAFTS! To access the Sweaty Church website click here
We looked at the format for Sweaty Church and how the Sweaty Church congregation are organised into doing the various games and challenges. Sweaty Church like Messy Church is “All Age”- for families to enjoy together and is particularly popular with dads and boys. If you are trying to incorporate more activities for boys and dads at your Messy Church, it would be worth checking out the ideas from Sweaty Church. There are six excellent Sweaty Church sessions available from Scripture Union at a cost of £5 which can be found here
We also had a look at some of the resources from the Messy Church does Science book and had a go at balloon rockets, speedboat matchsticks, bicarbonate fizz, finding your blind spot, paper planes with ailerons, investigating air pressure. For information on how to buy the book plus lots of other information, including 13 free experiments to download and links to the Messy Church science pinterest board click on here
The Messy Church does science book has full instructions for how to carry out the experiment, information on the science behind the experiment and a section called “Big Thinking” which relates the experiment to bible references and concepts about God.
We then had a break for tea/coffee and biscuits and time to chat to one another. The leaders found it useful to have this time to ask each other questions about each other’s Messy Churches. After coffee we discussed teenagers in Messy Church. One of the Messy Churches have families which have been coming regularly for a few years and the children are now teenagers. We discussed how to keep their interest in Messy Church – some suggestions were: encourage them to become young leaders/ be responsible for an activity/get involved in planning activities/provide an activity table which will appeal to teenagers each month. Some suggestions for activities which interest teenagers taken from the leaflet “How to engage Teenagers” from the Messy Church staff can be found here. Ideas include Minute to Win it Challenges blowing things up (for the brave) and large scale construction projects.
We also discussed how to get the Sunday Church congregation to understand and appreciate Messy Church when there is no sign of the Messy Church members coming to the Sunday Services. One of the Messy Church leaders had comments that the Messy Church wasn’t working as there was no cross over into church. One suggestion was to hold fun day -food, bouncy castles, face painting etc. to get everyone together, which included an optional informal service in church or church hall as part of the day.
Finally, we thought about ways to keep your Messy Church progressing and moving forward. People thought it was important to keep advertising. One Messy Church had postcards made for people to put on their fridges with a list of the year’s dates for Messy Church. A large outdoor banner advertising Messy Church and going up outside the church a week before Messy Church is also effective. Leaders also said they advertised their Messy Churches on Facebook, in local schools and by leaflet dropping around the neighbourhood.