What is Partnership for Missional Church?

Graphic with slogan: God is at work: your church can join in

As a CMS advocate, you might be aware of the Partnership for Missional Church journey which CMS offers to UK churches. Maybe your church has taken part in the process, or maybe you’ve heard about it but have never known the details? Or, maybe this is the first time you’ve read anything about it?

Whatever your experience, we hope we can inspire you with this unique opportunity and encourage you to share it with your minister.

Churches navigating change. Together.

Change can be liberating – and scary. Especially for churches.

We’ve all recently lived through so much change in so little time. The question is, will we lean into this change and join in with what God is doing in our communities? Or will we avoid it, and miss the chance to be part of something greater?

“Rather than being gripped by fear and uncertainty, I am continually being uplifted as I see the light, life and power of God at work among us during this season of lockdown.”

Helen, Oxford Diocese

The Partnership for Missional Church journey invites churches to take a look at ourselves, our communities and our calling, and to step out in deep, radical faith to discover what God is up to around us and how we can be part of it.

If this sounds a bit unsettling, that’s pretty much the point. Thankfully, you won’t be alone.

bar staff serve atttendees at a beer festival inside a church
“When our doors are open, and something dynamic is going on, we can meet people on the margins…” Rev Martin Anderson, vicar at St Mary’s, Norton

Churches learning together

Each church that joins in PMC forms part of a cluster of 10-15 churches who share the journey, learning together in community while applying the underlying PMC principles to their unique context.

Churches of all kinds are encouraged to join: big, small, urban, rural – and all denominations are welcome.  Because PMC does not offer a cookie-cutter approach, every congregation’s story will be unique.

Empowering every member

PMC is serious about setting all God’s people free into God’s mission – not just clergy. Each participating PMC church sends a mix of clergy and lay people in teams to join the process, which is guided by CMS PMC facilitators either in person or online.

“I didn’t really get involved with church because we’ve got a son who’s got medical problems. So I felt that I couldn’t. Then I became involved in PMC and it gave me meaning.”

Wendy, St Wilfrid’s, Wilford

A unique process

Real change and true growth take time. The full PMC process is a three-year journey including learning six spiritual practices, but churches are welcome to sign up for just the first year initially to test the waters.

  • Year one focuses on listening, paying attention and discovering where God is already at work. It’s about discerning God’s unique gifting and call for your church in its community.
  • Year two moves into experimenting. Based on what churches discover about themselves and their communities in phase one, the next step is to take some mission risks and learn from what works well and what doesn’t. This is all done with people in the local community, not just ‘for’ them.
  • Year three is about creating a sustainable vision for the church that can be lived out by everyone in the congregation.

Seeing real change

In summary, PMC reignites people’s faith and deepens their discipleship as they discover God at work all around them. Church members are inspired to connect with their local community and empowered to live and share their faith. Participating churches have seen growth in worship attendance and numbers of people turning to Jesus.

Furthermore, they’ve seen many people who aren’t clergy become empowered for leadership and get more involved, which helps churches thrive.

And together, churches have developed creative, innovative and effective ways of making God’s dreams for their communities come true.

children and adults seated round tables in school hall doign craft activities
“The school I went into seven years ago might have had an occasional visit from the vicar – now there are real relationships.” Rev Pat Jones, St Barnabas’ Church, Thatcham Park

Next steps? Getting your church on board

As a mission-minded CMS advocate, we know you will be serious about wanting to see real transformation in your church and community, trusting in God as your primary partner in mission.

But we also know that churches can be busy places, with plenty of things to distract us from God’s mission calling – something church leaders are very aware of.

To help you talk about PMC with your church leader, why not try some – or all – of the following:

  • Share our PMC video with them, so that they can understand more about what’s involved and hear from people whose churches have taken part.
  • Read testimonies of churches that have lived the PMC journey, choose one or two that you think are most relevant to your church’s situation, and then share it with others.
  • Encourage your church leader to contact our PMC team for an initial, informal conversation, or book a place on one of our free PMC ‘taster’ sessions.
  • If your church leader would like to read some of the harder facts and figures about PMC, you can download a copy of our 2018 Impact Report. It makes for an encouraging read!

It’s a time of great change. Let’s face it – and embrace it – together.

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