Messy Parables

25 retellings for all ages

Martyn Payne

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Creative ways to share the stories Jesus told

Jesus' parables intrigued, inspired, engaged and challenged the crowds, combining everyday imagery with surprising twists that prompted all ages to wonder and discover the treasures of the kingdom of heaven for themselves. Through 25 tried-and-tested retellings, together with sections on the importance of story, the power of parable, the challenge of all-age storytelling and becoming a Messy storyteller, this resource communicates the immediacy and relevance of Jesus' message for Messy congregations today.


Part 1: All about storytelling
  • The importance of story
  • The power of parable
  • The challenge of all-age storytelling
  • Becoming a messy storyteller
Part 2: Messy parables
  • 1 Messy baking: The parable of the yeast
  • 2 Messy bridesmaids: The parable of the ten young women
  • 3 Messy brothers: The parable of the two sons
  • 4 Messy builders: The parable of the wise and foolish builders
  • 5 Messy choices: The parable of the rich man and Lazarus
  • 6 Messy coins: The parable of the lost coin
  • 7 Messy contracts: The parable of the workers in the vineyard
  • 8 Messy excuses: The parable of the great banquet
  • 9 Messy families: The parable of the prodigal son
  • 10 Messy fishing: The parable of the fish caught in the net
  • 11 Messy forgiveness: The parable of the unforgiving servant
  • 12 Messy friends: The parable of the friend at midnight
  • 13 Messy gifts: The parable of the talents
  • 14 Messy harvest: The parable of the wheat and the weeds
  • 15 Messy justice: The parable of the widow and the judge
  • 16 Messy livestock: The parable of the lost sheep
  • 17 Messy market day: The parable of the sheep and the goats
  • 18 Messy motives: The parable of the shrewd manager
  • 19 Messy riches: The parable of the man who built bigger barns
  • 20 Messy seeds: The parable of the mustard seed
  • 21 Messy soils: The parable of the sower
  • 22 Messy tenants: The parable of the tenants and the vineyard
  • 23 Messy travellers: The parable of the good Samaritan
  • 24 Messy treasures: The parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl
  • 25 Messy words: The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector
Postscript: A parable about Messy Church

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Author info

Before retiring in 2017, Martyn Payne was BRF's Messy Church researcher. His role was to visit Messy Churches up and down the UK, listening to the stories of how Messy Church is developing, networking good practice and bringing encouragement. He has a background in Bible storytelling and leading all-age worship and is passionate about the blessing that comes when generations explore faith together. Martyn, who is a qualified teacher, worked with BRF for over twelve years contributing to training and resources and leading Barnabas RE days; prior to this he worked with the Church Mission Society as its national children's work coordinator. His books include A-cross the World (2004), Footsteps to the Feast (2007), Where in the World? (2012), The Big Story (2011), Creative Ways to tell a Bible Story (2013) and The Barnabas Family Bible (2014).


Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857465504
  • Published: 23 June 2017
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
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