As with a growing number of churches, Airside Kirk host a regular Messy Church. Over the time I have been involved in these at Airside, I have seen a growth in numbers attending and a deepening of relationships between families, and between those of us from Airside Kirk would help run Messy. There's definitely something happening there and I will be sad not to be around for much longer.
The thing that gets to me about Messy is the argument that Messy isn't for children, it's for all. While I agree with the former part of that statement, I do not agree it is for all. That's not just from my experience at Airside, but based on a lot of thinking about this over the last wee while. (Triggered, in part, with thinking about how to 'attract' couples without children to hear and learn about the gospel).
If Messy is open to all, then I wonder how organisers of Messy churches would react if a single person (especially a man on his own) came to Messy. I don't think we'd know what to do. Yet, I'm told Messy is for everyone.
And, if I'm being totally honest, if I wasn't involved in church, I would not go to Messy. Yes, Spot and I are a family, but we are a family without children. Where would we fit into Messy? And how would those who come to Messy react?
This isn't a criticism of Messy church. Not really, honest! I think there's never going to be a one size fits all model of church. Messy is one way of being church, it's not the only one and that's great, because there's diversity in God (the trinity) and people reflect that diversity.
I still have no answers as to how Messy could become truly for all. Maybe it never can, is that a bad thing? I don't think so, I think those of us who are involved in Messy should acknowledge that.