Streetly All Saints Church

Messy Church

E-mail Print PDF

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Matthew 28.19

We have been encouraged by Bishop Jonathan to consider how we might grow as a healthy church. That means how we can seek to grow up healthily as followers of Jesus Christ together as well as to grow numerically as a body of people worshipping in Streetly.

To help us to focus our energies we have been given a health check of five areas of growth. So how are we doing in each of the following?

·         Discovering the Heart of God,

·         Growing Disciples,

·         Reaching New Generations

·         Transforming Communities a

·         Practising Hospitality

Someone recently said that 'Church growth strategies are the death rattle of a church that has lost its way.'  I disagree! They help us to ask honesty, how healthy is the church here in Streetly?

One of the most lauded strategies for church growth is Messy Church. Messy Church was initiated at All Saints a little over eight years ago by Rev’d Alan Bartram and laity who worked together to initiate Messy Church. Messy Church ticks all the boxes of developing a healthy church, which is why you will often  hear me say, Messy Church is a real gift to us and in many ways our best expression of church.  

So why is it we’re so slow to catch on to what it is all about? Why do some of us see Messy Church as the Cinderella church compared to “proper church” And why do we wonder when these people will start coming along to our services on Sunday? Well maybe we need reflect together on what Messy Church is before we can answer these questions.

Messy Church is church. This means that it is a body of people who come together to hear God’s word, to break bread together in a fellowship meal and sing praise to God, enjoying being part of a fully sacramental community. *

Messy Church is about bringing families into a place (which might not be a 'church') where there are activities, fun, food and friendship on offer to help us draw closer to God. So just like Sundays really. (Many of you will have been at Prom Praise and I hope will agree with me!).

Messy Church focuses on reconciliation to God through the cross of Jesus Christ. It is not about getting families in and claiming scalps!  We have Messy Church to share God's love, not pay the parish share or 'bring children in'. Except of course it will do that too, but that's not the goal.

Messy Church is not……

Messy Church is not messy evangelism. Often people complain, 'we’ve been doing messy church for over a year and no one has come to the other services!’. Messy Church is not supposed to be the means by which we bring people in and then, once they're comfortable in the place, re-pot them into a Sunday service, rather like we would take a young plants taken from the greenhouse! Messy Church is evangelism, but not the sort that builds up an ageing and sometimes inflexible Sunday gathering. The messy folk might come to have a look at a Sunday service but wherever and whenever the messy church takes place, that's church for them.

So what is Messy Church for? The answer is simple. We are called by Jesus Christ to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Matthew 28.19

When we gather for Messy Church we are seeking in the power of the Holy Spirit to build God’s universal Church and not the local expression of what we think is church, in our church building. We are being obedient and going into the world and making disciples of the people of Streetly; people who otherwise might not come to our services on Sundays.

Messy Church does not give an overnight success. Messy church is hard work because you need to have people praying for Messy church and ideally during it too! The wonderful brothers and sisters here who have faithfully planned, lead, catered for, assisted, washed up, set tables up, set tables down and swept the hall become familiar faces to the children and adults who come to Messy Church. That is a challenge in itself, for us to befriend those who come and not simply doing Messy Church to the children and adults who come.

Messy Church depends on the whole family of God at All Saints, to keep on doing Messy Church for a long time. That means to support, come along and pray for Messy Church through feast and the famine times, as faithful and committed members of Messy Church. Did you know a small team meet monthly to plan Messy Church, others go out to buy and prepare food for Messy Church, others come early and go late so the church building is ready and left clean and tidy for others. For the family of God – we give thanks!

Messy Church doesn’t pay? Messy Church is mostly a church (or group of people) who are willing to fund their church for as long as it needs funding. This is similar to Sunday church, though in all honesty the regular members of Sunday Services struggle at times to contribute to the weekly running costs of the church and we are left relying on God’s goodness and provision.  

Messy Church, like Sunday Church is about servant hood and sacrificial giving of time, money and self.  We have opportunities at Messy Church, to teach children and adults to pay their way and to learn that if they want things then those things need to be paid for. This is good parenting and is what we do in other expressions of Church, though on Sundays we tend to call our giving a gift, tithe or offering.

Messy Church and Sunday Church both communicate the Gospel and make Jesus Christ, known. We do this in the knowledge that Jesus in turn will make the Father known and bring about reconciliation with God and us.

So please, will you pray for our opportunities to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? Will you consider how you might actively support Messy Church? Will you encourage Kathryn Smith our Families and Children’s worker and those leading and seeking to bring people to Christ? And will you be ready to whoever God brings to us at All Saints Streetly?  If they come along to another service, let’s make sure they receive the welcome and encouragement that we ourselves would wish to receive.

Reverend Mandy Walker,

Vicar of All Saints’ Parish Church Streetly  


 

* All we have in terms of sacrament according to Cranmer is 'bath and bread' - and these should be on offer at Messy Church, as in every church setting. Messy baptism and confirmation should all be on the menu when the time is right. In fact one of our new Messy Church helpers has just been confirmed and as part of serving Christ has joined the kitchen team!

 

Charity Number: 1134127

Address: All Saints Parish Church Streetly, Foley Road East, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B74 3JL

Regular Services


Sunday
7.00am Morning Prayer 
8.00am Holy Communion
10.00am Parish Family Eucharist
6.00pm Evening Service 
 
Monday-Saturday 8.30am Morning Prayer 
Tuesday 10am Holy Communion

 

Special Events- Dates for your Diary

Saturday 21st April Time 7.00pm- Quiz Night 

Saturday 28th April 7.30pm- Jean Martyn in Concert

Saturday 12th May 10.30am- Coffee Concert with Simon Lumby and Angela Sones (Organ) 


 

 

 

 




 


You are here: Home The Clergy Revd Mandy Walker Mandy's Articles Messy Church