What in the world is an “oikos?”  
 
DEFINITION OF OIKOS:
 
OIKOS is a Greek word that means: a dwelling (more or less extensive, literal or figurative)by implication a family, home, house, household, temple.
  • This is the general meaning of the term as it was used in the New Testament text.

                  –  If we take the word “oikos” and contextualize it in a manner that’s relevant to us today it would look something like this:

OIKOS = the people that God has placed within my relational influence.

 

Is an oikos-focused ministry really biblical?
 
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES
 
1.  Two occasions from the gospel accounts that help us to see the power of an OIKOS-focused ministry as well as the intentional approach that Christ Himself employed:
 
So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives;” and he himself believed and his whole household (OIKOS).  John 4:53 (NASB)
 
As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him.  And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people (OIKOS) and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.  Mark 5:18-19 (NASB)
 
2.  Two accounts from the book of Acts that help us see how the disciples followed in Christ’s footsteps by employing an OIKOS-focused ministry.
 
Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household (OIKOS), and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.  Acts 10:1-2 (NASB)
 
They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household (OIKOS).”  Acts 16:31 (NASB)
 
3.  Two accounts of Paul talking about God’s OIKOS.  OIKEIOS is a plural form of OIKOS, meaning several OIKOS’ bound together into one greater OIKEIOS.
 
“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household (OIKEIOS) of the faith.”  Galatians 6:10 (NASB)
 
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household (OIKEIOS)…”   Ephesians 2:19 (NASB) 
 
 
How do I put OIKOS into action?
 
OIKOS TIPS
  • Make a list of those God has placed within your oikos–your relational influence.  (i.e. family friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.)  Each person has approximately 8-15 people (including non-believers and Christians) in their oikos. Remember, relational influence is the key to determining who is in your oikos.
  • Pray for your oikos daily.
  • Be intentional about getting to know your oikos.  Let them see your faith in action as you pray and wait for God to open a door of opportunity for you to share the gospel with them.  
  • As God provides opportunities, invite them to come with you to church or church-sponsored events.