By Frauke Eicker
Do you remember those 3D images that don’t look like much on the outset, but when you train your eyes to see and relax into them enough a whole new world unfolds before you?
Well, I found Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) to be rather like that.
I first stumbled across PMC on the CMS website while working as a coach, and I was curious: here was something that sounded different from your standard church course or event. PMC seemed to offer deep challenge as well as the chance to unlock potential within both the church and the community. And all that with attention given to the local context – not one size fits all.
So I offered to volunteer and got to experience first-hand some of the core strengths of PMC:
PMC enables lay leadership
It is fascinating to see: people are coming out of the woodwork even where a church may have struggled to recruit volunteers in the past. Unexpected people suddenly find their place and shine. And they step up and get courageous. Whether that’s the person who served the tea discovering they’re a really good listener and love to talk to people in the community, and weaving God into conversation more easily than they thought possible. Or the family member who tagged along never feeling they fitted in church, but who loves the opportunity to help with food hub deliveries.
God is the invisible motor who releases energy
It is like that moment when your eyes go from straining to see, to relaxing into the 3D image. You can’t force it, but it happens: through PMC people slowly but surely are getting excited about God showing up around them.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but the change through the PMC spiritual practices is tangible. Anna, a PCC member, teacher and mum of three, puts it this way: “You talk about God being with us, and if you really believe that everything changes. Because you’re starting to see him at work everywhere – in your church, outside your church…. It’s a life changing way of thinking.”
And it’s infectious. Like Helen who, with a beaming smile on her face, is able to say “We’re not involved in the area of mission we thought we would be involved with. But this is the mission that God has chosen for us now and we’re happy to walk with him and the people he is choosing for us on a wonderful adventure.”
And that’s the main reason why PMC got me hooked so much that I now do the work for a living!
PMC is transformational – way beyond its finish line
It may sound like a bold claim, but the thing about transformational change is that we don’t even know this way of seeing is possible unless we go there. It shifts the underlying perspective we didn’t even know we had.
PMC has left me changed. I can’t not see the God opportunities in the community around me any more than I can go back to seeing 2D when viewing a 3D stereogram. And I am not alone. Vicar Phil reflects: “I saw formation happening in members of the congregation far more than any sermon I had ever preached or any other course or activity we had undertaken…. These people…would be transformed for the rest of their Christian lives.”
And that, I find, is worth investing in.