What is an Oikos?

"Go to your home [oikos], to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."      Mark 5:19

When Jesus worked a miracle on someone’s behalf, like the man in Mark 5, it was his custom to give them a simple assignment--to return home with good news. Jesus wasn’t referring to a home as a structure but as a network of relationships. Oikos is the Greek word New Testament writers used to represent those key relationships we all find at the center of our daily lives. Like everyone else, your oikos is made up of your friends and family, neighbors and coworkers. Jesus’ expectation is that you also will tell them what God has done for you. The Oikos principle is Gateway's primary strategy for reaching out to our community with God's love. 

One of the most important aspects of embracing the Oikos principle is committing ourselves to prayer. The people that God wants us to reach need prayer. We also need to be praying for each other and for the effectiveness of Gateway’s ministries to build Christ’s church. Oikos prayer cards are available at the Welcome Center as a simple tool to help you identify and keep track of the people in your Oikos that need prayer. Keep it in the place you most often pray or read your Bible. And remember to take it with you to your Grow Group so that you can ask your friends to be praying with you. 

What do you do with an Oikos?

God does not expect you as an individual to reach the entire world with his love. A task that size would be paralyzing. He does ask you to reach your world though--your relational world of the 8-15 people who are closest to you. These people make up your “extended household” or Oikos. It’s always a good idea to be thinking and praying about the needs of the people around you. As you keep your eyes open for opportunities, you will be able to Show God’s Love in many different ways. They can be summarized in three simple categories:


Because Jesus’ strategy for building his church focuses on relationships, investing in your relationships is always a good place to start. Whether it is a friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative, when you invest in someone’s life it can be a display of God’s love. Listening, meeting practical needs and just spending time together as friends are valuable ways of investing. When we start with investing, people know that our love for them, and therefore God’s love too, is sincere and dependable.


The people in your life need to know some things about your relationship with Jesus too. When you read what Jesus asked of people in his life, it was most often simply to tell others what God had done for them personally. It’s important that the people in your Oikos get a chance to know your story of faith. When people are open, it is important that they also hear how they can pursue a relationship with Christ for themselves. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Informing is all about the things you already know and have experienced with God.


There are many times when the best thing to do is to invite people to take a step closer to Christ. This might involve encouraging someone to accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness and relationship. Or perhaps they need the more gradual step of attending church with you. Did you know that surveys of unchurched individuals reveal that more than 80% of them would accept an invitation to church from a friend? Or maybe the next step is to merely invite someone to build a stronger relationship with you! Invitations to dinner or coffee can count too!

If you would like to dig a little deeper into the Oikos principle and how we apply it at Gateway, we would encourage you to read the book, “Oikos, Your World, Delivered.” It is available for purchase ($10), just ask someone on the Welcome Staff to help you get a book.