Messy Togetherness

Being intergenerational in Messy Church

Martyn Payne

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Content

In Messy Togetherness Martyn Payne looks at Messy Church as an all-age expression of church and the benefits of this to the church community. He explores current thinking about faith development and gives a biblical rationale for the all-age approach, offers practical advice and shares stories and ideas from across the Messy Church network and contains three complete outlines for Messy Church sessions (from the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Epistles), which offer Bible stories with insights into what it means to be intergenerational as church.

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Reviews

STAR News; Diocese of Peterborough October 2016

READ THIS BOOK! It does not matter if you lead Messy Church or not, this book makes it clear that any ministry that focuses on children in isolation will be limited or restricted by its incompleteness. 'Where generational connections have been broken, we have seen faith falter.' Martyn provides so much wisdom on how to include people and how to work so that generations support and inspire each other that I reread the book as soon as I had finished it the first time! There are tips on how to share a Bible story well, and statistics to make us think. Brilliant, challenging, deep - what more could we want from a 'how-to' book?

Rona Orme


Church Times 30 September 2016

FROM the introduction: "This book focuses on the 'all-age' value of Messy Church. Why do more and more people advocate that the generations should develop their faith together, and what does the Bible have to say about it? . . . Is it really practical and possible to have an experience of church in which the youngest to the oldest share the same meeting space, service theme and time to worship? Messy Church is claiming that this can and does happen."

So Martyn Payne sets out his stall in this - the fifth, by my reckoning - of the theory of Messy Church books that BRF is releasing to encourage users to understand and stick by the theology and values that underpin the Messy concept.

It is a super book to read. Payne has a light touch, and examples to illustrate the theory are plentiful, springing from his work visiting and encouraging Messy congregations. They are also encouraging to the reader, and sometimes challenge those of us who worship in less Messy churches.

As you would expect, Payne is very positive about the advantages of intergenerational worship. It is something that many dioceses are encouraging churches to engage with in these days when few or no children and young people come to church; and for many Messy congregations, this is the place where whole families come together.

But he is also very straight about the importance of not letting parents get away with what might be called a child-care approach, where the children join in while the parents simply sit round the edge. He thus emphasises the importance of training and support for the vast number of people needed to ensure that Messy is intergenerational.

And therein lies the nub of it: intergenerational worship is deeply challenging for many, and is costly in terms of preparation time and creativity. It also involves a sea-change in the way in which many churches regard children and young people and what they bring rather than what we give them - this is ministry with children and their families, not to, as we say in Canterbury diocese.

The last chapter gives three "how to do it" sessions, carefully chosen to represent the full canon. They are very good - maybe those of us who "do Messy" need to compare our offerings with these suggestions, and do a quick audit of where we let our standards drop.

Messy Church was created to be intergenerational. It is a poorer model of ministry if we cheat and take the easy way by removing some of the generations because of when, how, and where we offer it.

The Revd Ronni Lamont is Faith and Nurture Adviser for the Diocese of Canterbury.


Hand in Hand Newsletter - June 2016

Why do more and more people advocate the idea that generations should explore faith together, and what does the Bible have to say about this? How does this fit with our inherited model of age-related groups for learning and discipleship? And is it really practical and possible to have an experience of church where the youngest to the oldest share the same meeting space, service theme and time to worship? Messy Church is claiming that this can and does happen! In this book Martyn discusses Messy Church as an intergenerational expression of church and the benefits of this to the church community. He explores current thinking about faith development and gives a biblical rationale for the all-age approach, offering practical advice and sharing stories and ideas.

Sue Price says:
As with other recent titles from the Messy Church stable, I'd recommend this book regardless of whether you are involved in a Messy Church. I can't put it better than Nick Harding (Children's Ministry Advisor for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham), who says in the book's Foreword: 'This book is a great resource for the whole church. It is an invaluable tool for those who are committed to Messy Church or are considering it. It is essential reading for those who lead worship in any church. It is also ideal for everyone, across our denominations, who has as inner sense that, when the children and young people leave, there is a gap, and we need to bring change.'

Sue Price


Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857464613
  • Published: 20 May 2016
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
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