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Messy Church Conference

There will be a variety of workshops, of which participants may select three – each lasting for an hour. Workshops include practical applications that will help practitioners to increase their skills and ‘best practices’ in applying the values of Messy Church.


In addition to the workshops, Lucy and Martyn will present three Keynote Addresses on the theme of the conference - Meeting Jesus in Messy Church: Loving Jesus, Making Jesus Known and Living like Jesus.

Loving Jesus – a Christ-centred Messy Church

If we try to take Jesus out of Messy Church, everything else falls apart. Conversely, if we keep returning to him, our Messy ministry reflects even better what God calls us to do in his name. What is it about this Jesus that is so attractive and how does a Messy Church embody this? How can we be the church the world needs?

Making Jesus known - appropriate evangelism

There are opportunities at every Messy Church session to talk – and to listen; to have the right words - and to let the environment speak for itself. How do we respond wisely to these opportunities in order to make a space for people of all ages to know and love the living God?

Living like Jesus – discipleship

Is Messy Church just a great way to get people into church or is it also a secret gift from God for making and growing disciples? What does Messy discipleship look like and how can we all keep on responding to the call of Jesus to follow him?


Messy Church is all about five values...




All-Ages and

Christ Centred

... with Christ at the heart of everything that encompasses Messy Church.

See conference and workshop schedule here. 


Equipping Your Team: discipleship

Presenter: Lucy Moore

How can we help our teams to function well together and to flourish as disciples themselves in their Messy ministry?  What attitudes can we gently re-shape to be more Christ-like? How can we reframe ‘our turn on the schedule’ as a vital part of our own journey with God? What do-able methods are being used in Messy Churches to grow faith together and to serve the families and the Lord at Messy Church as effectively as possible? Messy teams are a gift from God: in this workshop we’ll present, discuss and share ideas of how to make the most of them.

Storytelling: bringing the theme to life

Presenter: Martyn Payne

Telling the Bible story well is a vital component of the celebration time in Messy Church.  For many at Messy Church it may also be the first time they have heard this Bible story, so it’s important that it is engaging and memorable.  In addition there is the challenge that Messy Church congregations are all-age and often restless, not much used to listening for any great length of time! We need a range of approaches to story-telling in this context and Martyn will explore these in this workshop encouraging us all to become better interactive and reflective storytellers.

Messy Conversation with Lucy and Martyn

Presenters: Lucy Moore & Martyn Payne

Share your stories, air your burning questions, muse over your failures, celebrate your successes and join in the laughter in this informal open time to talk any- and everything Messy in the safe company of friends.

Soul Song: The Music of Messy Church

Presenter: Nancy Rowe

Music in Messy Church is a vital part of the celebration but presents its own unique challenges.  Most participants don’t come with a Church music repertoire or even an experience of singing in a group.  Meeting once a month doesn’t provide opportunities to develop a set of ‘familiar‘ songs.  There isn’t a choir to lead, perhaps not even a musician.   What’s to be done?  Nancy will offer a ‘buffet’ of ideas for the varied contexts in which Messy Church is found.   

New Frontiers and boldly going where the people already are 

Presenter: Heather Liddell

Together we will explore some of the joys and challenges of New Frontiers for Messy Church. Using our experiences in starting a Messy Church in a seniors homes as a model, we will talk about starting Messy Churches in third spaces while retaining the characteristics and values of Messy Church – being Christ-centred, all-ages, hospitality, celebration, and creativity.

Prayer: The Messy Way

Presenter: Jane Hird-Rutter

Prayer is an important part of faith in the lives of those who follow Christ. Encouraging children and adults alike to become comfortable talking to God through prayer is an important part of every Messy Church. This workshop will introduce, discuss and present practical ways to begin a lifelong prayer journey as a key part of Messy Church. Some topics we will discuss include a definition of prayer, ‘what is ‘Messy Prayer’, why prayer is important in Messy Church, practical ideas to incorporate prayer, and more.

Digital Messy Ministry:  Jumping Off the Platforms of Twitter and Instagram

Presenter: Carol Fletcher

Messy Church hospitality begins long before we open the doors, and the values are lived out long after the session closes.  How we use social media to share our news and the Good News matters.  Come, join the conversation  - it’s about using Twitter and Instagram as our first smile and our hand of friendship, leadership and celebration.

Encouraging Men in Messy Church

Presenter: Mark Hird-Rutter

Messy Church is for all ages and for all people to encourage multi-generational learning and growing in a Christ-Centred community.  When we look at today’s church we see that women play a predominant role.  Messy Church is no different.  Why are men under-represented?  This workshop will investigate how we can encourage more men to take part in Messy Church in practical ways. Four key areas of discussion will be attracting men to Messy Church, involving men at Messy Church, Including men in leadership roles and encouraging men to discuss their spirituality.

What is a Disciple anyway and why are they important to Messy Church?

Presenter: Andy Kalbfleisch

According to the Gospel of Matthew one of Jesus’ last instructions to his followers and to us was to ‘Go Make Disciples’. We often talk about making Disciples, but do we really know what ‘Making Disciples’ means? More importantly do we know what it means in the context of Messy Church? This workshop will explore Disciple Making at Messy Church and beyond. 

So what exactly is Messy Church? The Basics

Presenter: Kerry Cromarty

If you’re new to Messy Church and are wondering what it’s all about, then this workshop is the place for you!  We will be discussing all things Messy Church with a focus on the core values and the basic shape of a typical Messy Church session.  There will be time for looking at some helpful books as well as asking questions.

The Big Bang: Engaging in the theme as you enter Messy Church

Presenter: Beverly van der Jagt

You have developed your theme for Messy Church.  Where do you go from there?

We will discuss the importance of interweaving the theme into the program right from the moment people walk through the door. We will look at how you can start with a Big Bang so that your guests get engaged with the theme right from the beginning. You will learn the importance of first impressions. In learning how to create an atmosphere centered on the theme you will experience the genius of creativity and celebration. This will be an interactive workshop aimed at helping you to develop creative ideas of your own so that each Messy Church session starts with a Big Bang.

How is everyone else doing? Looking at common factors of “successful” Messy Churches in Canada & the UK

Presenter: Katherine Brittain

There is a lot of information and excitement about how to start and run a Messy Church program, but how do you measure whether or not it’s successful?  How do you know if Messy Church is the right fit for your church or community?  Katherine is spending her Sabbatical surveying, visiting and chatting with leaders of Messy Churches in both Canada and the UK to try and determine if there are common factors in Messy Churches that are thriving, and how each Messy Church assess “success”. The goal is to develop an assessment tool for communities looking to begin their own Messy Church ministry.  Learn about this research at the mid-point and bring your questions or stories about Messy Churches that are thriving and Messy Churches that maybe didn’t quite fly, and help shape the assessment tool.

Messy Activities and Games: for all ages, all together

Presenter: Sue Kalbfleisch

  • Are you looking for ideas to connect all ages of participants at Messy Church?
  • Do the adults and children separate into same-age groups at Messy Church instead of multi-age and intergenerational?
  • Are you looking for active ideas?

In this workshop we will experience ways to connect all ages together during activity/craft time as well as explore active game ideas for your Messy Church themes.  Try ‘Flap the Donkey’, Bandage Race’, ‘Winit in a Minit’, ‘Team Challenge’ and more. Take away lots of resources and ideas for your Messy Church.