making disciples of Jesus
On Friday we celebrated the opening of the οἶκος Centre – our new name for the old Sunday School room. It may seem like a strange name at first, but Oikos is an important concept in the New Testament, and some argue it is the primary vehicle through which the Gospel spread across the Roman Empire.
‘Oikos’ is a Greek word that most simply means ‘house’ or ‘household’ and is often translated that way. Far from the ‘Quarter Acre block with mum, dad and 2.4 kids’ image that such a word might bring to our minds, in the Greco-Roman world of the early first century, it spoke of a much bigger idea – extending to the family, the family’s property, the extended family of the household, the slaves and servants (if they had any) – and some scholars argue it even extended to close friends. The concept of ‘oikos’ pushes into those relationships that form with others where, though there is no blood-relation, still they are ‘like family’ to us.
Here are some examples of ‘oikos’ in scripture:
Acts 5:42 - ‘Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house (oikos to oikos), they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.’
Acts 10 and 11 - As Peter is sent to the ‘oikos’ of Cornelius, where Cornelius and all his ‘oikos’ are saved as a result of the gospel (and clearly this is not just Cornelius and his wife and children!)
Acts 18 - Crispus, the leader of the synagogue at Corinth, along with all ‘oikos’ believe in the Lord
1 Corinthians 1 - Paul refers to the baptism of the ‘oikos’ of Stephanus
Names are important, because they immediately draw ideas and concepts to our mind. This will take some initial retraining on our behalf, but by calling it the οἶκος Centre, we are saying ‘this is a place for ministry, a place where we want to grow together in community with one another, where we want to share the gospel with one another, and live out what it means to be the family of God in our shared lives and activities together’.
Let us pray that as we serve the wider community and each other in this space, God truly continues to grow us together as his οἶκος!
Over the past few months we have been renovating the inside of the old 'Sunday School Hall' at St Mark's in Deloraine to make it a warm, inviting and comfortable place where we can hold events, and especially begin our new initiative - the LEGO club!
Running on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from the 3rd of April, children are invited to participate in a variety of LEGO building activities, including:
In our renovated space we have a lounge area and some toys for younger children to play with, as well as a coffee machine and tea making facilities, so we hope that parents will stay and relax while their children create. If you're not able to stay, that's ok too, we will just need you (or a designated adult) to sign your children in and out each week. If this is a problem because of work or other commitments, please give Josh a call on 0438681404 so that we can discuss options - we are seeking to create a supportive environment and will do everything we can to ensure your children are able to participate.
We are committed to the safety and well-being of all people, and most especially children - so all of our programs are staffed by volunteers who hold a current Working with Vulnerable People's Card and have undertaken Child Safe Training.
Please feel free to download and share the flyer with friends - we'd love to see you there!