An email came recently, describing first a phenomenal amount of publicity put into a Messy Church, then saying:
'So far, we have not brought in any money through the event and have been covering the cost from church funds, but we know we can't continue to do this for long. Do you have experience of Messy Churches going from this position to bringing in funds, and if so, what's the best way to do this?'
A wonderful group of Messy Church enthusiasts came to Lee Abbey last year to find out more about Messy Church. One was Alison Thurlow from Yate near Bristol. She emailed with some very good ideas right from the coalface:
Working with people from outside the church
I've had a couple of emails recently from leaders with a BIG problem: they fear too many people coming to Messy Church! So put that in your 'church is dead' pipe and smoke it, oh people who say church attendance is dropping irredeemably.
But it is a problem, as nobody wants to turn folk away, but at the same time, you need to keep things safe and manageable and have some level of intimacy. I'll copy one of the emails below with my answer, but if you have any further inspiration, do email me and I'll share your wisdom around.
We changed a few things last night at our October Messy Church: we decided at Messy Tea that the opening half hour was becoming a little stale and limp, so we had just a handful of games out and turned the focus on to one big, easy activity for everyone to come and join in with as they arrived. We also had a more organised welcome table and only one entrance, so everybody was greeted by name or, if we didn't know them, by a friendly face. Both of these gave a lot of energy to the start time. We also asked the team to come and chat more, rather than setting up their crafts in that time.
Have decided to do what I should have done three years ago, if I had a brain or the vision of a small wombat, which is to keep a journal of what's going on with Messy Church so that it will help me reflect on what God's doing with us, let other people see the mistakes we make and the journey we're on for Encouragement and Edification in case they want to do something similar.