by Joel Comiskey
I’m writing from Puerto Rico, having been invited by “The Church of the New Testament Vega Baja” to do a cell seminar. I feel like they have taught me more than I have taught them. Pastor Emilio started his church in a home five years ago. God showed him the power of home cell group evangelism. In five years the chruch has grown to 24 cells and 275 people. As I interviewed the leaders and supervisors, almost all of them were divorced, using drugs, or caught in a Satanic web. Someone in the cell befriended them, ministered to them and eventually led them to Jesus. “Cell life” is second nature to them because thy were born again speaking the “cell language.”
For many of these converts, their oikos played a signicant role in bringing them to Jesus. What is an oikos? Ralph Neighbour has helped the church to understand the meaning of oikos. He writes:
The word [oikos] is found repeatedly in the New Testament, and is usually translated ‘household.’ However, it doesn’t just refer to family members. Everyone of us have a ‘primary group’ of friends who relate directly to us through family, work, recreation, hobbies, and neighbors. â€¦ Newcomers feel very much ‘outside’ when they visit your group for the first time, unless they have established an oikos connection with one of them. If they are not ‘kinned’ by the members, they will not stay very long or try very hard to be included before they return to their old friends (Shepherd’s Guidebook, p. 61)
Cells penetrate society through the members’ friends, family, and loved ones. It’s essential to find these web relationships at work, home, and recreational activities. On a practical level, those who know us will accept an invitation to attend a cell meeting more readily than strangers.
If you are a cell leader reading this blog, encourage your cell members to love, pray for and invite friends, relatives, coworkers, classmates and neighbors. David Yonggi Cho writes: “I have found the only definite way to increase church membership is through personal contact, and personal soul winning. If you know the person, it is better. Since you are personally touching your neighbors, through the cell system, it is far easier to win them to the church.” (Church Growth Manual, 7, p. 19)
An effective way to open hearts and attract oikos is through social meetings. Cookouts, sports events, retreats in a mountain cabin, or eating events are non-threatening, non-church environments where non-believers are comfortable.
I knew one cell leader who gathered his group at a ranch house on major holidays, or for a sporting event during the week. Cell members invited friends and family to these fun times, and many eventually joined the cell group. To maintain the intimacy in the group and to continue reaching out, this cell gave birth to another cell, and the multiplication process continued.
Have you found oikos evangelism effective? Share your story.
8 thoughts on “Oikos Evangelism”
Build relationship is the very first thing to do in order to reach out for Christ. When I was in Mozambique in the refugee camp four years ago, I started ministering to both refugees and the Makua people group. The first thing, I did was to build relationship showing love to them sharing sugar, Omo soap, clothes to them. After this, I shared the gospel of love by our Lord Jesus Christ, and I saw many people responded positive as this love was first practical from my team. I thank God that he has given me a compassionate heart to first build relationship with people then share to them the message of love .
Great article! I began a home based church earlier this year, and we currently have 7 people attending – 2 of which are non believers! We are intentional about rubbing shoulders with people in our oikos. However, I am finding it a challenge to go beyond social relationships with friends/relatives/neighbors/etc and they most often do not respond to my requests to visit our home church. Do you have any books/tapes, etc with examples of things we can do to both reach out, and invite people in?
Your visit to our church – New Testament Church of Vega Baja – has opened the spiritual eyes of many of us. Even though my Pastor Emilio Licier has been successful in moving forward with his son’s dedication to Prayer Cells; it’s implementation, application and assestment he also strives to see us leaders grow in knowledge and understanding of the spiritual dinamics involved. The seminars were fabulous. You are a great speaker and your techniques are encouraging. I feel more confident with my group because I have a broader and better sense of of responsibility towards them. Definitely the closer the relationship the easier the invitation. I feel more capable of dealing with the youth of our church and reaching out to them as a caring leader, friend and Brother in Christ Jesus.
Thanks for the books. I’m hooked on “Una Cita con el Rey”. How important is our relationship and prayer time with the King. The intimacy, communion, and solitary moments we dedicate to Him unfolds a new sense of fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Last of all but not least important…I thank God for a devoted and supportive wife, outstanding leaders as are Dennis and Roseline, two loving Pastors like Emilio and Leyda….and most of all for the Good work God started in me so that I may be useful instrument in His hands to bring more souls to His kingdom. Thanks.
God bless…you, your family and ministry…richly and abundantly.
Gracias a estos correos la gente se da cuenta de como trabajar correctamente y asi poder ganar almas Dios le bendiga joel
ESTA MUY IE , QUE UEO ES ENSEÃ‘AR A OTROS HERMAOS A QUE PUEDA CRECER COMO IGLESIA.SOY DE REP. DOM. Y PARTICIPE E EL CONGRESO QUE USTED DIRIGIO. GRACIAS. SIGA ASI. VERY GOOD
Hola Joel, para mis es un honor escribirte. empece hace 1AÃ±o a estudiar sobre el metodo celular, y empece en Mayo de este AÃ±o con reuniones celulares, En Agosto de este aÃ±o nos constituimos en iglesia, con una asistencia promedio de 40 hermanos por reuniones, todos frutos de los grupos celulares, ahora en Diciembre estare bautizando un grupo como de 20 hnos, y seguimos creciendo….ESTUVE EN EL CONGRESO ORGANIZADO POR RAFAEL CRUZ AQUI EN SANTO DOMINGO…
Felicitaciones, Johnny!! Adelante. Estoy contento por tu esfuerzo para Jesucristo. Es estÃ¡ contigo!