What is Mossy Church?
Mossy Church is a bringing together of two wonderful fresh expressions of church; the 10 year old, worldwide phenomenon that is Messy Church and the relatively new Forest Church movement which builds on ancient links to creation.
I first used the phrase 'mossy church' when I was chatting to a friend about the crafts and prayer activities I was putting together for Oakwood Forest Church. I was drawing on my three years of leading messy church whilst ensuring that everything we did was impact neutral or positive on the environment. I wanted to use the environment of Oakwood whilst engaging the families in prayer and exploration of they're relationship with a Jesus. I wanted everything whilst leaving nothing.
I've since heard other people in the forest church movement use the term mossy church and I'm sure we're all talking about the same thing. This is the time for these two distinct movements to come together in a powerful, mission focused way.
What are the foundations of Mossy Church?
- activities point to or connect with Jesus Christ
- activities cause no harm to the environment before, during or after
- anything "left in the forest" speaks of Jesus and is biodegradable and safe for all wildlife in the area
Ten examples of Mossy Church:
1. Ripples of Forgiveness
- pick up a stone, small rock or piece of wood
- imagine it holds within it the things you've done wrong
- drop it into the lake praying that you don't make the same mistakes again
- watch the ripples travel across the water and see that you are forgiven by God
2. Christmas decorations
- collect cones or leaves or sticks
- connect together with wool to make hanging decorations
- hang them on trees as you would a Christmas tree
3. Prayer mandala
- Collect sticks, leaves, nuts or anything else which means something
- lay them on a circle to make a mandala
- pray using this image as inspiration and representation
4. Faith rocks
- collect small stones or pebbles
- write words on them which represent your relationship with God using sharpie
- place them together as a basis for prayer
5. Prayer labyrinths
- use stones or sticks or leaves or nuts to mark out a labyrinth
- Alternatively draw labyrinths on paper plates and use them as finger labyrinths
6. Easter gardens
- get permission from the rangers or whoever looks after the land you are worshipping on
- collect a large rock, soil and clippings of plants to make an easter garden
- bind sticks together with wool or string to make a cross
7. Entering creation
- take small pots and seeds into the wood
- fill the pots with soil and plant the seeds
- take them home and nurture them until you see new life come forth
8. Fishers of men
- decorate paper fish shapes with leaves as scales
- use pritstick and ensure you take home all plastic
9. Bubbles of thankfulness
- use bubble mixture to blow bubbles of thanks for all the good things in your life
10. Noah's Arks
- build rafts from sticks or origami boats from paper
- float them on the lake
Further information about forest and messy churces.
Forest Church is
- a fresh expression of church drawing on older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside
- drawing on contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time with nature in wild places
Forest Church isn’t
- just normal church happening outside, instead it attempts to participate with creation.
- just a fellowship group doing an outside activity, we aim to learn, worship, meditate, pray and practice with the trees, at the spring, along the shore....
- is a way of being church for families involving fun
- is a church that helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour
- is found across the world
- values are about being Christ-centred, for all ages, based on creativity, hospitality and celebration
Messy Church is not. ...
- a craft club
- for kids
- a feeder for "proper church"
For more mossy church ideas visit my pinterest boards at http://www.pinterest.com/emmuk74/