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Author(s): Lucy Moore, Jane Leadbetter
MESSY CHURCH, say Lucy Moore and Jane Leadbetter, is not a children's church, nor a way of attracting more people to a church's existing services. It is, they explain in Starting Your Messy Church: A beginner's guide for churches, a form of church for children and adults which involves creativity, celebration, and hospitality. It meets at a time and sometimes in a place that suit people who don't belong to a church. 'The way you go about making disciples may involve horrifying amounts of icing sugar and glitter glue,' they say - but making disciples is what it's all about. The aim is 'to introduce Jesus through hospitality, friendship, stories, and worship'. Lucy Moore is the Bible Reading Fellowship's Messy Church Team Leader, and her co-author is a member of the team. Their small book is jolly, encouraging, and full of good and detailed advice for those interested in this kind of worship. From the Church Times - 17 February 2012 From Country Way - June to September 2013 We were having problems with the format of our all-age worship in a small rural church - we weren't reaching young families so we thought we would try something different. This book is just what it says in its introduction: "short, punchy ...it gets the basics across quickly." It's not a book about setting up yet another children's programme. God is at the heart of it, with a passion shining through for all generations to meet Jesus in a fun and accessible way. This is a useful resource with some practical checklists and lots of encouragement. It sets out the principles and values of Messy Church, and is full of practical tips - about praying, funding, venue, child protection etc. It shares some useful experiences of those already involved with established Messy Churches. It doesn't pull its punches about the difficulties and challenges likely to be faced but it does stress the encouragements and excitement the team will experience as they too grow as disciples as they get involved in the vision. Once you have decided to give it a go, you are not on your own. The book lists lots of other resources - more books, the Messy Church website, training and regional networks - you never need to be short of ideas and inspiration. We have been running Messy Church now for six months. It's hard work but it's fun. It's encouraging our regular church families and it's involving people who, a year ago, "wouldn't darken the doors of a church". It's an opportunity to share the Gospel with them and to build relationships. Above all - it's messy! Reviewed by Gillian Roberts
Lucy Moore works for BRF as Messy Church Team Leader. She is responsible for developing the work of Messy Church nationally and internationally-writing, speaking, reflecting and developing Messy projects. She continues to help lead Messy Church in her own church, where her husband is the minister. Before working full-time with Messy Church, Lucy was a member of BRF's Barnabas children's ministry team, offering training for those wanting to bring the Bible to life for children in churches and schools across the UK, and using drama and storytelling to explore the Bible with children herself. Her books include titles in the Messy Church series, as well as AllAge Worship, Colourful Creation, Bethlehem Carols Unpacked, The Lord's Prayer Unplugged and The Gospels Unplugged. She also presents Messy Church: the DVD. A secondary-school teacher by training, she enjoys acting, walking Minnie the dog, marvelling at the alien world of her two teenage children and guiltily watching unimproving television programmes. She is a Lay Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral. Jane Leadbetter is part of the BRF Messy Church Team, has worked as a primary school teacher and was Children's Work Adviser in the Diocese of Liverpool for twelve years. She runs L19: Messy Church once a month.