The 4 P's of Missional Life and Ministry

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 04:49PM

Last night while driving from my house to Franklin and Marshall College to speak at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship I was listening to some seminar given at Dallas Theological Seminary by Michael Frost.  In the seminar Frost was talking about the missional life and he laid out 4 P's of missional life.

The 4 P's are:

Proximity-  This is based off of John 1:14 where Jesus takes on flesh and blood and moves into the neighborhood.  This is being in close relationship and close space to those who Jesus misses the most.  This can mean to move into a new neighborhood that God is calling you to move into, or to just spend more time in the relationships and neighborhood that God has already placed you.

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.

Presence- When we spend time in the world we are litterally the presence of Christ in the world.  We are the hands and feet of Christ.  We will be with people in relationship and in the midst of that relationship Christ will be present.

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- This is probably one of the hardest thing from the perspective of a white middle-class educated male who at times doesn't realize that he has always been on the side of the "power" dynamic.  But what Michael Frost is getting at was shared in the context of a story about 2 Texans who were teaching english to some burmese refugees.  Frost said to ask the refugees to teach them something, like cooking to change the power dynamic.

Proclamation- This is one piece that all too often is missing in the missional conversation.  We react so strongly against the "evangelism" that is about manipulation, hell-fire and brimstone, and lacking in relationship that sometimes we just let our actions speak for us.  (especially from the perspective of an anabaptist).

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?

So I am digesting what this means for my family and I as we discern our next steps together and also as leaders within the Veritas community.  I also am wondering how Veritas might live out these 4 P's in our communal life.  How are you or your community living these 4 P's out?  I would be interested in hearing comments, thoughts, and suggestions..