What is Partnership for Missional Church?
Partnership for Missional Church is a three year-process of spiritual reflection, transformation and engagement, which originated in the United States, travelled to South Africa and is now being launched nationally around the UK.
Why Partnership for Missional Church?
As individual Christians – and as a church – our primary mandate is to love God and to love our neighbour. In fact, both individually and corporately, we cannot fully satisfy God, without actively working for the spiritual and physical well-being of our neighbours.
The Westminster Catechism reminds us that our chief aim in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And God is most glorified when we tell others about how wonderful He is and what great things He does. In fact, the more we glorify Him, the more we will see Him at work in our individual and corporate lives. And the more we see Him at work in our lives, the more we’ll enjoy Him! PMC provides a framework for glorifying God and reaching out to our neighbours.
What is the most important aspect of Partnership For Missional Church?
The most important aspect of PMC is the spiritual journey of drawing nearer to God; of seeking to satisfy his heart and becoming channels of His love in our community. This individual and corporate spiritual journey, not only increases our faith in, and our love for, God – it also increases our love for others. It can turn an inward-looking church into a confident, outward looking church, reaching out in God’s power and timing to achieve what human effort alone could never achieve.
How does Partnership For Missional Church work?
PMC is based on the understanding that God is already at work in the world and in our communities. We begin by recognising that we need to get caught up in God’s work, rather than asking God to help us with our church’s work. It’s about discerning God’s plans and His timing and cooperating with what He is asking us to do for Him. It’s about church members talking to each other about how and where they’re seeing God at work.
Going about our daily lives, asking ourselves, “I wonder how God might already be at work in the lives of strangers I encounter every day. How might I engage them enough to discern how God may be at work in their lives? What if I were to simply reach out with a word of kindness, or affirmation? How might God use this situation through my simply engaging them? Even in casual conversation.”
What would cause Partnership For Missional Church to fail?
PMC will fail if we only grasp the practical aspect of going out into the community and talking to people – or even seeking to help people. Why rely on our own efforts when we can go out in God’s power and Providence? Why struggle to achieve our own goals, when we can experience the thrill of finding ourselves right in the centre of God’s plan in a given situation? PMC will fail if we neglect to dwell in the Word and to saturate everything we do in prayer and worship. Heart-felt worship is a critical aspect of this spiritual journey because it satisfies the heart of God and it is powerful. As we worship, God is working within us to will and to do.
How might we pray?
Prayer is most powerful when its primary aim is God’s glory. When our desire as we pray is that God should be seen to be at work in the answering of prayer – then we’ve got our priorities right and that is powerful prayer. Prayer isn’t primarily about getting God to do what we want Him to do – it’s about tapping into what He wants to do, possibly through us. And in response to our rightly-motivated prayers God will place the resources of heaven at our disposal.
As a church we can also pray that God will put us in touch with other people in our community that he is using as practical channels of his love – people He would have us work with. Prayer, discernment and Providential timing are critical here. There are so many needs in our community that we could end up overstretched and exhausted if we try to run ahead of God. God is just as much at work today as He’s ever been – if we will only pray. He can bring the right person or people to our minds or into our lives. He can guide us to the work that He plans to empower us to do. Work that is done His strength is exhilarating not exhausting.
Our vision, when it is aligned with God’s current work of creating, redeeming, and sanctifying in our neighbourhood, will restore our church to what God intended it to be; to how God intended it to function. And – most important of all – God will be seen to be glorious.
Dear God, please draw us closer to you, to seek your heart, to know you more and more, and to better understand your ways. Show us how we can glorify you by telling others about how wonderful you are and what great things you do. Please be at work in our church, dear Lord. Make us a church that puts you first in everything we do. Please inspire, guide and direct us. Show us where you are working and what you are asking of us. Bring the people you want us to work with into our lives and enable us to be channels of your love in our community. Cause us to delight in you and to get excited about what you are doing. We want to be a church that satisfies your heart and draws others to the heart of Jesus.
Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading talks about why he is so enthusiastic about Partnership for Missional Church:
Richard Lamey, Rector of St Pauls, Embrook and Woosehill Churches talks about his parish’s experience of the first year of Partnership for Missional Church:
Pat Keifert of Church Innovations explains that Partnership for Missional Church is a spiritual journey: