The OIKOS paradigm was introduced to us at the GHC Conference last year. OIKOS is a Greek term for household, a more extended group than our nuclear families. The OIKOS paradigm is that we each have an extended household, our OIKOS, of 8 to 15 people with whom we share life. This is the part of the world where we can have the greatest impact for the gospel.
If we try to ‘bolt on’ the OIKOS to existing programs and patterns, more people may come into relationship with Christ. If it shapes the way we view and structure corps ministry, there is potential for much greater kingdom impact. The OIKOS paradigm can equip and release followers of Jesus Christ to “transform Australia one life at a time.”
So what do we do?
Personally we LIST, PRAY, INVEST, INVITE, PREPARE. It signifies that we are intentional about people around us experiencing the love of Jesus as we share life with them.
LIST the 8 to 15 people whom God has ‘strategically and supernaturally’ brought into your life. At least two or three people on this list should be among those yet to know Christ. They may be neighbours, friends, workmates, or even the local barrista. Who does God keep bringing across your path on a regular basis? Maybe they need to be on your list?
PRAY for them daily. Pray for others regularly as well, but pray for these people every day.
INVEST in them. Spend time in their company, share in their interests, do life with them. If they are not yet Christians, it may mean going out of our way (and comfort zone) to share with them.
INVITE them to places where they can hear the gospel, build relationships with other Christians, or learn a little more about Jesus. The invitation needs to be appropriate to them, and might not be accepted the first time. Don’t give up!
PREPARE yourself to share the love of Jesus. The continued work of God on our character, and our own continued transformation through the work of the Spirit, is preparation to change the world in which we live. In praying for others, we also ask what is required of us to reveal the love of Jesus more clearly to our OIKOS.
It’s simple – but it’s not easy! I can do it… and so can you, and so can everyone in your corps.
Graham Roberts (Major)
GHC Network Director
Next time: OIKOS and corps ministry
Image: Tom Mercer