What is OIKOS?
Oikos is the Greek word for household. However its meaning is much broader than what we typical give to the definition of household. For us it means those who live under one roof. However for those living in the Middle East during the time of Christ it came to mean that group of people with whom you have contact. It is a group that could be classified into three categories of relationships. They are; 1) Kinship, those related to you, 2). Friendship, those you like to hang out with, and 3). Associates, those with whom you have a working relationship.
Another way of describing oikos would be to identify it as your circle of influence. If we do a study of the word oikos in the New Testament we discover that God used these circles of influence to bring large numbers of people to faith in Christ.
One example is when Christ cast the demon out of the man from country of the Gerasense. After doing so Jesus commanded him “Go home (oikos) to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (Mark 5:19). Acts 16 gives us another account of oikos. Lydia, a business woman from the city of Thyatira believed in Christ. Luke records for us the event in this way; “and after she was baptized, and her household (oikos) as well…” v. 15). Numerous times we see this take place.
Every one of us has an “oikos” whether we are Christian or not. The Christian is commanded by God to be salt and light to those with in their “oikos”, that is their sphere of influence. We are to influence them with the gospel of new life through faith in Christ.
You have an oikos of approximately fifty people that you know and come in contact with during the regular course of living. That number will vary from person to person. Now, you cannot effectively reach out to fifty people in an in-depth way. You can however reach somewhere between 8–15 of these people. God wants to use you to be a light on their spiritual journey, a light that leads them to Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to ask God to reveal to you who these individuals are and to show you how He wants you to intentionally engage them right where they are in life. You don’t need some special ability to do this. God has already equipped you through faith in Christ. They don’t need to come to a church building for this to happen. It can take place wherever you get together with them.
Check out other materials on this website as to how you can begin to identify your oikos and bring the message of Christ to them in a meaningful way.
May God grant you wisdom to know what to do and the courage to step out and do it.
Dr. Ed Scearce