Give thanks with a Grateful heart!


The majority of my Messy Church plans are just thought up by me a few days before our planning meeting (or now, planning email) and so tend to come from where I’m at on my faith journey or something I’ve read or listened to. So this theme was partly inspired by a house group I was at that was based on this talk by this talk by Greg Boyd The Secret (which I’m actually going to email out to my parents).

We’re going to focus on the story of the 10 Lepers from Luke 17:11-19. We find it really helpful to have a story to focus on in each theme.

Welcome – 10 minutes

A-Z Thank yous – See if we can think of as many things as possible from A-Z that we’re thankful for, write them out on big posters.

Crafts and activities – 50 minutes

Prayer Activity – Bean bag spelling


Think of something that you want to thank God for, work out how to spell it and throw the bean bags at the letters in order. Once you’ve spelt the word out shout ‘Thank you God for…’ For this we printed A-Z on a4 pages and laminated them, and bought some beanbags online.

Playdough thank yous

Using lots of different coloured playdoughs model something you’re thankful to God for and leave it on the table for all to see. All you need is some playdough, which we usually make ourselves – we use, salt, flour, oil, cream of tartar, water, and food colouring. You can find lots of recipes online!



Blessings Jar

This idea came from the WONDERFUL Mina Munis’ Blog Flame Creative

Click here to see her explanation!




We have the story on the table so the families can read it and understand it before doing the crafts on it. The story of the 10 lepers. Then all you need is some a4 paper, paint and some good felt tip pens!

BIG Painting – Thankful!

We love our BIG paintings at our Messy Church, either using a really long role of lining paper or covering a big noticeboard. In this one we’ll give the families451f6b53-c409-452d-9267-6b5b65fec1ec.jpeg the freedom to paint whatever they like, specifically whatever they want to thank God for.

Thank you cards

We want to encourage thankfulness not just within our walls, but outside of them too! Here the families will have the opportunity to write a thank you card to whoever they like. For it’s God’s will for us to be thankful! All you need is some cards, envelopes, pens, stickers and other crafty bits and bobs and some imagination.


1 Thankful man biscuit

We ALWAYS have a food craft at our Messy Church, and this month is no different! I found this idea, like a lot of ideas, on Pinterest. All you need is lots of gingerbread men, and some different coloured icing tubes.


Bible station – The story of the 10 lepers


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, we always have questions to answer and give them the freedom to explore the story either through making a poster, a video on an ipad, making a powerpoint slide on a laptop, or just discussing it with other people on the table.

The questions this month are:

What happened in this story?
Why should we thank people?

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. This time it will be – Counting Every Blessing – Rend Collective

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!

Glory and honour – Doug Horley

Story – 10 lepers story – Luke 17:11-19

We like to tell our stories in lots of different ways, sometimes its a video, sometimes we get a few people to act it out, sometimes we get EVERYONE to act it out. So for this story we put every one in these groups:

  • 10 lepers
  • Priests
  • Jesus and his followers
  • Onlookers

We tell the story straight from the bible and encourage each group to get involved with the acting in each section they’re in. Everyone gets a big clap at the end!

Prayer Activity

Balloon prayers – Give everyone (I mean everyone, parents and helpers too!) a balloon and invite them to blow it up (some may need help). Share out some permanent markers and invite them each to write the thing they are MOST thankful to God for. We will then play some music and throw all the balloons into the air, keeping them up in the air until the music stops. Hopefully by now you’ll have a different balloon. On three altogether we’ll shout ‘THANK YOU GOD FOR…’ and everyone will shout out what it says on their balloons, and then start the music again. Repeat this a few times. This worked really well and the families seemed to really enjoy it, but it’s definitely a chaos creater so BEWARE!



BE happy – Doug Horley 

We always finish our messy celebration with the Messy Grace with actions which can be found in the Messy Church books.


This month we’re handing out Count your blessings sheets by Christian Aid 

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 February 2018

3 thoughts on “Give thanks with a Grateful heart!

  1. Barbara Galley

    Thank you very much – what great ideas. You were obviously having a great time with the balloons. Will look forward to sharing more of your ideas.
    We started our Messy church in 2010 and also meet on Sunday afternoons so it’s great to have fresh ideas!


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