The Messy Church team have put together a 'Maximising the Mess' guide with really helpful advice on engaging teenagers in Messy Church. Here are ways to help your Messy Churches feel more all-age rather than directed just at younger children.
Round 7: 'Maximising the Mess' - How to engage teenagers
There has been a lot of discussion about how Messy Church can help to involve people of all ages. If Messy Church is church, then we cannot afford not to provide something spiritually challenging for every individual who comes through the doors to meet with God. Messy Churches have the opportunity to welcome all people, including teenages, to give them the chance to evangelise and to draw people closer to God as well as learning more about God themselves.
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?
We had a cracking day yesterday with generous youth advisers and youth ministers from Wales, Canterbury, Winchester, Portsmouth, Rochester, Bristol, the Baptist Church and CMS.
Say a messy hello to James Pegg!
James has just joined the BRF Messy Church team as an Intern for this coming academic year. James is also supported by The One Programme which is run by the Methodist Church. James will be joining us for some of our events, going with Martyn on his messy visits and making a few of his own, with a particular focus on looking at 'teenagers in Messy Church'.
An enthusiastic email with excellent news from our old friend Grandma Claudia in Nova Scotia:
To the Messy Church Leaders
Hello. It's Grandma from the Parish of Blandford in Nova Scotia again. Thought I would give you an update on a rural Canadian Messy Church again. I'm so proud of our minister, our young parents and of course the children. Oops, I must use the word YOUTH now.
You see our group of kids are growing up. We have teenagers now. That caused a slight change here that just keeps us all growing.
Two remaining reports from the teenagers' day in Yate. The first is from Miriam Thurlow who scribed what the teenagers discussed in their separate group. The second from Alison Thurlow gives the reactions of three of the group in more detail.
1. What do you most enjoy about your Messy Church?
Martyn Payne, in his 'listening' role has written this excellent summary of our day with teenagers in Yate on Saturday 18 January.
Reflections on the 'listening to teenagers' day at St. Nix, Yate near Bristol
The report about Fresh Expressions gives us much food for Messy thought. I've no doubt we'll be writing and talking much more about the discoveries. On my mind at the moment is the teenagers' day, so I was particularly interested in the exhortation to make sure our fresh expressions think through how to keep older children and teens. (Perhaps better phrased 'serve' them?, though it sounds more pious and dull.)
Caroline Chichester in a very rural setting in Salisbury Diocese emailed with news of her wonderful teenagers: I started a monthly Messy Church- style service a couple of years ago which is called 'Lovely Cake'. A few months ago the older children in the group (years 6-8) asked if they could form a separate group, although they continue to come with their families to 'Lovely Cake'. We began a few months ago and they decided to call themselves 'Awesome Cake' - continuing the cake theme!