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Judy Paulsen

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The goal of this study was to evaluate the multigenerational worship and learning experience called Messy Church. This was done in order to discern if this new form of church could enable an established parish to reach de-churched and non-churched people. The primary research questions addressed who attends Messy Church, why they attend, and what effect their participation is having on the development of their faith.

Results of the study showed that Messy Church has enabled the Anglican parish of Christ Memorial Church, Oshawa, to re-connect with de-churched people and to connect with non-churched people. It was found that two primary age groups attended Messy Church. These were young parents with children and young grandparents with grandchildren. While the grandparents largely were church-attending grandmothers, the young parents primarily were marginally attending, de-churched, or non-churched mothers and fathers. The majority of children participating in Messy Church were non-churched.

Results indicated that families attending did so primarily because they wanted to teach their children key stories from the Bible. Main attractors included the multigenerational and participatory nature of the experience and the multi-sensory format. Analysis of attendance records indicated significant growth since the inauguration of Messy Church. This analysis also revealed that the majority of participants were regular in their attendance.

The study demonstrated that as a result of participating in Messy Church a majority of families experienced increases in several Christian behaviors. These included knowing the Bible, worshipping God, talking with their children about God, and praying together. Results also showed that due to additional support and resources, parents and grandparents felt better equipped to serve as the Christian educators of their children and grandchildren. Implications for future praxis in missional settings were discussed. These included implications for worship, discipleship, Christian education, and church planting in a post-Christendom context.

Content Reader: Alan Roxburgh, DMin

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Roxburgh, Alan J.

Document Type





Christ Memorial Church (Oshawa, Ont.); Missional church movement; Intergenerational Christian education; Anglican Communion; Liturgy; Lay ministry


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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