The Methodist Church runs an event once a year called 3generate. It’s an event for 8-23 year olds, and this year we took 9 young people. They really enjoyed it. Some of the things we explored at 3generate were being agents of change, thinking about what church looks like, and what our part in it is. So for this Messy Church we wanted to encourage the young people that led to do some of the leading! So I got together with them and had a planning meeting! We talked about what they learnt and what they wanted to share. They each helped run a table alongside one of our usual helpers, with the option to go off an enjoy the crafts themselves after the first 20 minutes. It was a great example of how Messy Church is for ALL ages, we just need to make sure that we’re adapting for them, not staying static!
Welcome – 10 minutes
Sometimes our welcome activity is lots of a3 colouring sheets for people to do together whilst we welcome everyone in. We often have 4 year olds sat next to 80 year olds colouring together, which a great sign of just what Messy Church is!
We had this on our welcome table and invited families to help fill it in by thinking about different people it might be hard for us to love.
Crafts and activities – 50 minutes
The idea behind this is that we need to be filled with God’s spirit to go out to be his agents of change.
Blow up a balloon, hold the open end and attach a piece of drinking straw to the balloon with tape. Thread the string through the straw. Hold the string tight and higher at the end with the balloon. Release the balloon. All you need for this is straws, Balloons, string and sellotape.
Love the world
Part of being an agent of change is looking after the world.
For this you will need paper plates (blue), green paint, heart shaped post it notes.
The post it note says: ‘God wants us to love the world!’
I am an agent of change poster
This was one of the kids ideas. She wanted us to have a bit more freedom with painting. So we went for something simple. A piece of a5 card, paint and any other craft supplies you fancy. Then a print out of ‘I am an agent of Change!’ with Luke 4:18 written underneath.
Pile some sand or Plasticine onto a plate and shape it into a cone. Make a hole in the middle and put in a small pot. Place some bicarbonate of soda into the pot and some red food colouring then mix it up. Add some vinegar and watch the lava flow down the mountain. Again talk about being filled with God’s spirit and reacting to it!
One of the things the kids really liked at 3generate was a session where they could talk about things with no judgement and some anonymity. We tried to replicate this in a small way by having 2/3 big sheets of paper with questions on for the families to write on.
The questions were:
- What would you change/add to Messy Church/ the church?
- What could we do to make Messy Church more family friendly?
Messy Church Invites
Part of being an agent of change is evangelism! Telling others the good news of God. One way we can do that is to invite people to church.
So we put the dates of every messy church next year in an invite and the families decorated them. Here was one I made earlier. The ones the families made were MUCH better! But I didn’t get any photos!
Biscuits for the lonely
This idea came from one of the kids, he was asking how do we show people who are lonely or sad God’s love? W
e decorated little biscuits, and put them in a little bag with a note saying ‘God loves you, from Grangewood Messy Church’. Then families chose to give it to a neighbour or someone they thought might appreciate it. They came and spoke to me in the weeks after this saying who and where they took them!
Another idea from the kids, and would only work in January. We made up a calendar with a different place/person/cause to pray for each month. The families decorated it and got to take it home. We’re going to reference the place/person/cause of the month at each future messy church.
The Bible Station – Listening for God
Each month we have a Bible station, this is a table with lots of different types of bibles laid out with the story on. We have one lovely helper on it who talks through the story with the families. The story we’ll be focusing on in the celebration is going to be about Samuel being called by God. So I wanted this station to be a place where families could explore how we can hear god speak in today’s society. We had lots of bibles on the table, with paper and pens to explore. We also had headphones playing mixture of worship music playing.
Celebration – 20 minutes
After our Welcome and Crafts and Activities we go into a time of worship, which we call the ‘Celebration’.
As people are coming in we always have a song playing. We usually use Fischy Music – Build up One Another. We sometimes have a different song if we can think of something relevant!
Welcome – We start by welcoming everyone, asking people what they’ve done today in Messy church and what they’ve enjoyed.
Worship – We like to start with a worship song, to get people going!
We had a meditation that was inspired by TakeTime Meditations who came to 3generate. You can find the full meditation here – Samuel Meditation – Agents of Change. It was based on the story of Samuel being called by God. For this to work I had to bring about a relaxed vibe in the room, and also reassured families with little ones that them making noise was not a problem!
We cut strips of paper and handed them to everyone (including parents and helpers) and invited them to write on the piece of paper how they could be agents of change with God’s help. We attached all of the pieces together in paper chains, and talked about how on our own our actions are quite small, but together, we’re strong (like chains) and we’re many!
We always finish our messy celebration with the Messy Grace with actions which can be found in the Messy Church books.
Food – 30 minutes
Then we come together for food! We always do party food as we meet on a Sunday afternoon. Families generally help us tidy away which is great!
THIS THEME WAS USED AT GRANGEWOOD IN JANUARY 2018