This is the latest post in a series I am writing about this project some of us at 8&H have undertaken called oikos. If you’ve missed them, you can find the previous post here and the first post in the series here.
So far, we’ve taken a lot of time to talk about the biblical framework behind oikos. Essentially, my oikos is a small community within the larger 8&H family committed to fulfilling Jesus’ commission to be and make disciples together. To make that happen, each oikos commits to develop four rhythms within the life of their group.
Shared Life. An essential part of oikos is doing life together. As a matter of fact, this project was started as part of an effort to focus on the “scattered” life of 8&H as much as we do on the “gathered” aspects. We believe our worship gatherings and Bible classes are important, but the power of the kingdom is in living it. So, each oikos commits to sharing the in’s and out’s of life together. Over the last two years, I’ve watched as the oikos I am a part of has become closer and closer. We eat together frequently. We share life’s successes and struggles. We help each other in times of need. We pray for each other. Romans 12 is a guide for us in this kind of life.
Shared Worship. By this, we mean our normal worship gatherings, but we also mean more. We believe worship is a transformative thing. As such, we spend time in prayer and worship and reflection and silence together outside of our normal Sunday gatherings. We work to develop rhythms that honor God in every aspect of our being. If worship is speaking of God’s great acts, one hour a week is never enough. We want to make that a regular part of our life. Oikos is about developing that kind of focused community.
Shared Faith. This is bigger than evangelism and it is also bigger than benevolence. We believe those are two words describing different ways of doing the same thing. Our oikos is committed to sharing our faith – with our words and with our actions – throughout the community in which we live. We often fail at this, but we work hard to be an outwardly focused group, serving as a light in our neighborhoods and our town.
Shared Wisdom. Wisdom is bigger than knowledge. Wisdom is bigger than what we can learn in a classroom. Wisdom is about how you live your life, not just what you know. We spend a lot of time talking about the Bible in oikos, but we’re also committed to living it – and learning from those in our group that can show us what that looks like. This is one of the reasons we emphasize intergenerational groups, where our teens sit next to the little ones, who sit next to the retired couple, who sit next to the newlyweds, who sit next to the single guy.
We do not keep these commitments perfectly, and anyone in my oikos would tell you we’re still figuring a lot of things out. But we are finding life in these rhythms. We are finding Jesus in these rhythms – and we’ve established a context where that Christ-likeness can flourish.