The Hunger Games: Affectionately Known As the PCA MNA Assessment Center

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As Katniss Everdeen, Haymitch Abernathy, and Peeta Mellark are traveling to the Hunger Games, Katniss walks into a conversation where she is greeted by these words from Haymitch: "I was just giving some life-saving advice... It should come in handy if you were still alive." The goal was survival. Someone needed to be the last man or woman standing. Who would it be?

As far as I was concerned, the last man (or family) standing at the Presbyterian Church in America Mission to North America (PCA MNA) Assessment Center was going to be my family. Prior to attending the assessment center, I was looking for "life-saving advice." I had heard too many horror stories about the process. In some cases, the stories I heard were just short of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Attempting to be a good husband, therefore, I relayed the information to my wife. It did not help her much. In fact, it made her more nervous. Apparently the fact that she was/is pregnant was unhelpful as well.

On day one, we got acquainted with the assessors and those being assessed. My antennas of discernment were up. I quickly began analyzing people. "Who do I need to take out first?", I thought. "If there is only going to be one family remaining, it must be us." My competitive juices were flowing. I began analyzing the dominant personalities and those whom I could befriend. Although the assessors claimed to be on my side, I was not entirely sure. They were watching our every move. As a matter of fact, someone was told that they placed hidden cameras in our bedrooms. For my family, it did not matter. We were on our best behavior.

My desires to compete with the other families and have our arms raised as the victors of the Hunger Games at the end of the assessment soon ceased. By the end of day one, the fog through which I analyzed the process cleared. I began to realize people were extremely friendly. This was not a competition. We were actually all trying to get to the same place - church planting. The assessors were warm, welcoming, pastoral, and gentle. So, too, were the families being assessed.

What I heard about the PCA MNA Assessment Center and what I experienced were two completely different realities. There were no hidden cameras in our rooms. You did not need to be the victor. The entire process was about glorying God by helping us, those being assessed, to further embrace Christ. Yes, there were times when the assessors had to expose the idols of our hearts, but they did it in such a gospel-saturated manner, they left us with hope.

I highly recommend the PCA MNA Assessment Center. It was a blessing to my family. The assessors truly cared about us and it showed. We also met some amazing church planting families with whom we hope to keep in touch. 

If you are considering attending the assessment center, you might not want to believe the hype. It might have you going to Atlanta (or wherever the assessment is being held) ready to chop off peoples' heads and take no prisoners. Rather, let your guard down. Know the assessors have your best interest in mind. Relax. Enjoy. Learn. Have a good time, and may the odds ever be in your favor.
Posted February 17, 2014 @ 6:06 AM by Leon Brown
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