We've been getting excited about grandparents recently. Maybe it's because Jane and Martyn are now both grandparents themselves, but more likely we've always been fascinated by the unique relationship between older people and younger ones - whether they are related or not. My own children benefited hugely from the church family of surrogate grandparents as they were growing up, when their own grandparents lived a long way away.
Being intergenerational in Messy Church
We've been noticing a number of 'extras' added on to Messy Churches. Most of the time we'd roundly applaud the imagination, energy and dedication that goes into organising yet another opportunity in the month to help people encounter Jesus. But just occasionally we writhe a little in angst about whether the development is actually Messy Church or has gone back down a more traditional route.
I had the privilege of speaking at General Synod at the Church of England last week in response to the (very good) paper on evangelism. I thought I had five minutes but actually only had three minutes, so here's the full whack of what I had hoped to say. Your thoughts? To get the ambiance, you have to picture me trying desperately to look nonchalant as I lurk behind a lectern waiting for my turn to speak to a huge chamber full of very awesome people. Nervous? Moi?
We've been alternating between laughter and banging our heads against a wall recently as we've had two emails, which show what an impossible job we're trying to do. One says the activities in Get Messy! are too advanced for the young children coming to their Messy Church, and one says they are too toddler-oriented for the older children at their Messy Church!
Messy Church and working families
A new report on working families in the UK has just been published. It is based on a survey of 1000 families. You can read it here (opens as PDF).
Kliederkirk is the name given to Messy Church by our friends in the Netherlands.In their recent newsletter to their own 'Messy Church' family of churches they included some top tips on becoming and staying all-age.We thought you might like to read them, especially number 8 with its recommendations for making adults feel welcome at the meal!
I was horribly wrong when I wrote no adults should come on their own in Messy Church 2. There were reasons for writing that at the time, but since then we’ve discovered so much more about being an all-age welcoming church. We now all agree that EVERYBODY is welcome, solo adults included, and indeed one of the BRF Messy Church team was quite hurt when he, as a lone adult, was treated with suspicion at the door of a Messy Church he had been invited to visit.
It has been great to visit Messy Churches up and down the country and get a feel for what God is doing through Messy Church. Great things are happening and I am sure there are greater things to come! Some of these great things include what is going with the teenagers who are involved with Messy Churches. I have heard testimonies from young people who say that Messy Church is giving them the chance to share their faith with others. Messy Church is giving young people the chance to evangelise and draw people into a deeper faith in God. How fantastic is that?