Mountainside United Methodist Church recently held a "Messy Church" service to introduce members to this style of worship service.
Messy Church is a church experience for families who have not found other forms of church engaging and who don’t yet belong to a church. It explores a biblical theme through hands-on creative experiences, a celebration and a meal.
It is usually held once per month at a time other than Sunday morning. It does not prioritize either the needs of children or adults, but welcomes and provides for all ages.
In June, Mountainside UMC will begin offering a Messy Church service once a month open to all. The church’s schedule can be found at mountainsidemethodist.org.
The first Messy Church began in 2004, at a church in the United Kingdom. Church members were frustrated because they were hardly reaching any children with God’s story. They had lovely facilities but weren’t using them enough.
There was a lot of sympathy toward church in general, but the church wasn’t offering anything that really gripped the imagination of local families. They decided very early on to try to do something for all ages together, partly out of a belief that a church grows best when members walk the journey with as many different people as possible, and partly from a desire to help families to grow together in their walk of faith.
Since that start, Messy Church has spread across denominations and countries. There are 3,945 Messy Churches across 47 countries.
At Mountainside UMC, the service started with a brief introduction and prayer on the theme of “Being Fishers of Men.” Then everyone moved to different parts of the room to participate in crafts and games related to the theme.
They gathered back for a short sermon by Pastor Doug Mills and sang two songs. After a prayer moment, everyone shared a quick meal and helped with clean up.