This is the 5th and final post in a series looking at the key principles of Oikos – our New Testament model for extended families on a mission together. You can start reading from the beginning of the series here.
“The most vigorous forms of community are those that come together in the context of shared ordeal or those who define themselves as a group with a mission that lies beyond themselves – thus initiating a risky journey.”
The Forgotten Ways
Something we often forget about ancient households is that they were not only a place of belonging, but also activity and fruitfulness. Alongside relationship, family members would be expected to participate in the common mission of the Oikos; be that business, farming, politics, skilled labour, or whatever. Children would be raised and apprenticed in this environment and would be expected to participate too. All of this meant that everyone knew and understood the purpose/mission of their Oikos. More than that, they lived it out every day.
This is exactly the experience of the disciples in Jesus’ Oikos. As they grew in relationship, they also understood the common mission that they had been invited into. After all, Jesus said to them at the start;
“Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). This is an invitation to relationship, but also a call to adventure together.
Jesus continually led in a way that invited people into greater levels of both relationship and adventure. This is a pattern that is important for us to copy, because it both builds community and gives us a purpose beyond ourselves.
But we mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking that adventure is just a personal thing. The key is that it is SHARED. As we talked about last week, it is important to steer away from the “lone-ranger” mentality of mission – this is never sustainable!
Consider the quote above from Alan Hirsch, a missiologist from North America: Vibrant forms of community grow through coming together and getting behind a common mission or vision. This is precisely the value that we look to grow in Oikos.
So how could you create a shared adventure?
Well, in our experience, partnering in mission involves a good amount of proactivity! Here are 3 quick practical ways to start doing this:
1. Sharing People of Peace (People of Peace are those who, as a result of your missional vision, you have begun to connect with and are open to Jesus). If members of your Oikos have relationships with People of Peace they are discipling, encourage them to invite others into this, so that the relationships are shared within the Oikos and people are discipled by a community.
2. Serve others as they step out in mission. For example, something as simple as looking after someone’s children while they go to have dinner with people they are discipling could be a helpful way of partnering in mission together.
3. Think about what resources could be shared to enable mission to take place. Does someone need practical or financial support to step out in part of the mission of your Oikos? How could you practically get behind others?
As we have said before, it’s about knowing the change that you want to see and looking for the next steps you can take together on the journey.
So, consider your Oikos:
As relationships grow, are you inviting people on an adventure?
Do people know what the adventure is?
What steps could people take in order to share this adventure together?