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!