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Are Brands Needed

I well remember when 'Messy Church' first came on the scene, and thinking "I've been doing this all my life, only we didn't have a name for it".  Now there is a whole 'industry' of Messy Church, with 'off the shelf' ready to go schemes and ideas where you 'simply add faith' and off you go.  It's not that it's wrong, I've just always been bemused at why people needed to brand it, and what it is about branded resources that somehow makes them 'kosher'.

With Emerging Church (another brand) came such things as 'Surfer Church' (yes, they go surfing then do some Bible stuff afterwards) and more recently 'Forest Church' (who go for walks on the a Sunday morning, forage and then share a meal, often cooked on an open fire or portable barbecue).

I have no problem with them as ways of being church - though they do pose many fascinating questions about what is 'church' and what is 'worship' - but I am bemused by the need for branding.

And I wonder what is the essential difference between, say, a 'church walking club' and a 'forest church'.  I guess there has to be one, and I expect it has to do with overt acts of worship, but it's not neatly defined.

What, too, is the fundamental difference between 'Messy Church' and 'Intergenerational, Interactive worship' apart from some big words and probably which day of the week they take place?

One of the tasks I've set myself for this summer is to think quite intentionally at how we, as a local church, move forward enabling and equipping a younger generation to continue the work begun back in 1883.  I'm not sure any of the 'brands' has 'the' answer, nor that such answers as they have are right for this church - but it's certainly interesting to ponder and to pray and see where it all goes. 


  • A thought provoking post as ever. Why do we have to find a name for everything?

    When did "intentional" replace focussed thinking? We even brand words now

  • thank's Steve, you're right of course -'intentional', 'missional community', and so many more fancy names for things that already are!

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