What follows incorporates points made by the “PCC Tonight” material produced by CPAS[h]. There are three important dimensions which underpin a PCC’s shape and functionality:
1. The Legal
- The PCC is a legally constituted body - it exists to fulfil certain, defined obligations;
- A PCC is a body corporate (see s.3 Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure 1956). liabilities it incurs in contract, for example, are enforceable against it rather than against its members;
- The Charity Commission accepts that PCCs are charities.
2. The Theological
- The New Testament offers insights into the nature of the Church and Christian leadership. These can be summarized…
Church as body of Christ
- The Bible suggest that Christian leadership is best exercised collaboratively;
- The model of Christian leadership is derived from God himself the nature of the Church - God is Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit in community. There is a relational dynamic at the heart of our understanding of God that is to be reflected in our understanding of Church and its leadership;
- Our understanding is that the Church is more than a collection of people who happen to share an interest. Church isn’t a club where members choose their own level of engagement - it is a body where each part is dependent on other parts to fulfil its role, so that the body can function well.
PCCs fit the bill
- ‘Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’ This naturally extends to the PCC as a corporate, Christian body;
- In this context leadership is not seen as somehow separate from the church, those in leadership are seen as part of the body, using their gifts to serve the people of God, to help the body be all that God wants it to be, so that it may be a blessing to the world;
- Leadership is plural, it is people working together creatively towards a common goal;
- If we lead on our own there is a danger of denying something about the true nature of Christian leadership, the nature of the Church and the nature of God.
Church as missionary endeavour
- The church is the body of Christ: it is a living organism, growing in the knowledge of God – it’s a living community shaped by an understanding of what it means to be Christ’s body - discerning a vocation as God’s missionary people;
- We engage in mission because our God is a sending God, we are a sent people. We don’t exist for ourselves, but for others by being a blessing to the world. The missio dei drives our engagement.
Servanthood and stewardship
- We exercise leadership as servants and stewards;
- Servant-heartedness governs our attitude as leaders who follow in the example of Christ;
- We don’t exercise leadership to rule over others, to get our own way, but to serve the purposes of God;
- ‘Leadership is always about those for whom I have a responsibility of care’;
- Members of a PCC are called to exercise servant leadership in order that the church might be further formed around the one who is its head, Jesus.
There are many ways we can constitute such leadership within church life, just as there are various models in the Scriptures, but in a Church of England context the PCC is one place for sharing leadership.