Michael Frost says that the missional paradigm takes seriously three fundamental doctrines; 1) Missio Dei — we are called to embrace God’s mission in this world and to go with him. 2) Participatus Christo — to participate in the work of Christ; to see where Jesus is at work and to dare to step into that context and work with him. 3) Imago Dei — all people bear the finger prints on their soul of the living God.
If we take these three fundamental doctrines seriously, there are at least four things (but not limited to these) which we will take seriously and that will inform our practices. Frost summarizes these in the four “P’s” of Missional.
The Four P’s
I’m paraphrasing Frost here.
Proximity: We step into the experience of those we seek to win and serve. We need to step out of our comfort zone and move into proximity of those who would not be in our normal circle of friends. Ministry happens in the neighborhoods.
Presences: We are to practice the presence of Christ in the midst of the world. We should be doing what Christ would have been doing if he was still physically walking in this world.
Powerlessness: Not spiritual powerlessness, but material or temporal powerlessness. Most Americans look at our churches and think that we represent a power base. They see us with enormous reserves of money, gigantic buildings, fabulous property — absolute power in a temporal sense. They think we will do anything to protect this power. Image if we could prove to Americans that the following of Jesus is worth more to us than the stuff of religious institutionalism. What would happen if we lost or gave up all “the churches” material wealth and only had the people left? Would we discover something about our spiritual power if we stopped relying on our temporal and material power?
Proclamation: Should we actually tell people about Jesus? If we move into the neighborhood and build relational proximity and are the presence of Jesus, going empty handed and naked as the powerless ones, sooner or later someone is going to want to know who you are and why you do what you do. The answer to that question is of course the proclamation of the person of Jesus. Without this proclamation we will be seen as just another good person. Of what value is that?
I’ve focused more on the last two because it is here where I believe much work needs to be done.