OIKOS EVANGELISM & Examples, resources and a definition @CharlesArn

Commentary by Prof. B: Oikos evangelism is loosely defined as how the Good News (Gr. εὐαγγέλιον or euaggelion) often passes through households (Gr. οἶκος or oikos).  An advocate of this approach is Dr. Charles Arn Ed. D. of WesleySeminary.com

Below are resources from Dr. Arn (10/22/16):

A church practicing oikos evangelism: http://highdesertchurch.com

A pastor practicing oikos evangelism: http://highdesertchurch.com/about-hdc/staff/member/1325302/

Training for oikos evangelism: http://highdesertchurch.com/resources/oikos-workshop/

Book on  oikos evangelism: https://www.amazon.com/World-Smaller-Than-You-Think/dp/0984036407/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477161113&sr=8-1&keywords=tom+mercer+oikos

Article on oikos evangelism: http://www.sermoncentral.com/Articles/Article_PrintFriendly.asp?ArticleID=728

(personal email to the curator from Charles Arn, 10/22/16)


BRIDGES & Not Walls

by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 11/15/16.

Bridges not walls. I am convinced that, as Christians, we are called to build bridges not walls. This doesn’t mean a wishy-washy lack of conviction, but an approach that sees the others as human beings created in the image of God – often as brothers and sisters. I fail in my calling as a Christian and a scientist if I fan the flames of conflict rather than seek to lead people into understanding. I also fail if I allow wall-building to pass unchallenged… (Gal. 5:13-26, 6:7-10) …

We tend to put a lot of emphasis on acts of the flesh such as sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft … drunkenness, orgies, and the like, often skipping over the central part of the list. But this is the part that is hindering our witness today … hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy. I have not heard anyone among my non-Christian colleagues accuse Christians of debauchery and drunkenness; the most common complaints come from the middle group: hatred, discord, selfish ambition and the like. The impression is not of a people shaped by love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control or of a people who are marked as those who do good to all people.

Far too often we invite people to come behind our wall rather than building bridges that heal.

Elsewhere Paul writes “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:17-18)…

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2016/11/15/bridges-or-walls-rjs/

ORGANIC OUTREACH & The Importance of Cultural Bridges w/ Believers Living on the Other Side

“By means of the ‘Gentile on the bridge’ there came to be in town after town within a comparatively short time a considerable number of Gentile converts who remained in close organic connection with large numbers of unconverted relatives.” Donald McGavran

  • The above quote is from p. 34 of The Bridges of God, by Donald A. McGavran.
  • Secure your copy of McGavran’s biography by Gary McIntosh by clicking the link.

MULTIPLICATION & Why Culturally Diverse Worship Options Increases Evangelism

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/5/15.

A student made some good points when he stated, “I still don’t buy that it’s (the Multiple Generational Approach) the best approach, or always necessary to have multiple generations present in a church. In the end, the church comes down to relationships. We grow because of our relationships and our activity in them. We don’t have true/deep growth because we have the hip program that people want to come to. Because if that’s the case, we die if we ever stop it! That’s not the church, that’s business.”

He made many good points, but it was also evident he was not reading my books. If he had, he would know that I agree with him. But, I also needed to point out that his unfamiliarly with my writings has led to some false assumptions on his behalf.

Let me share my response.


You are right when you stated, “I still don’t buy that it’s… always necessary to have multiple generations present in a church…. We don’t have true/deep growth because we have the hip program that people want to come to. Because if that’s the case, we die if we ever stop it! That’s not the church, that’s business. At SOME point in this model, we have to address knocking down individualized services based on preferences and move towards true connectivity/mutuality/UNITY in our community as a whole.”

Some churches don’t need multiple generations, especially in areas which are growing with one primary cultural generation. And, I list such examples in the book.

Also, I agree that if a church is performance driven it is not an organism, but a mechanization (see what I said about professionalism verses improvisation in “Inside the Organic Church”).

And, you are right that “At SOME point in this model, we have to address knocking down individualized services based on preferences and move towards true connectivity/mutuality/UNITY in our community as a whole.” This is the GOAL! 🙂

But, for a church to reach the unchurched, who are not yet ready for “true connectivity/mutuality/UNITY” we must offer entry level (i.e. evangelistic) conduits that are individualized based upon cultures. But, for people to mature in Christ, we must have processes to bring them into unity, connectiveness, and mutuality.

Thus, individuality in cultural aesthetics is for evangelism. And creating “one out of many” (see my writings on this in Preparing for Change Reaction) is the second part of a two part process. Both are needed, and a church fails without both.

CULTURE & A Leadership Exercise That Can Increase Bridge Building Over Cultural Chasms

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/23/15.

Building bridges over which the Good News can travel to other cultures is a strategic intention that requires sensitivity and understanding of other different- and inter-cultural milieus.  To train leaders in intercultural understandings and bridge building across cultural gaps, I use this exercise with my students.  In this exercise, you will be looking at the efforts, effects, and principles of inter-cultural ministry.

Begin by posting one (1) paragraph on each of the following questions.

1)  Share a story from the missionary field that demonstrates how a missionary had to acclimate him or herself to another culture. Then tell us what lesson this has for helping multi-cultural churches live in harmony.

2)  And secondly, tell about a church that is sharing its facilities with a congregation of another culture.  For instance, you may describe how a Caucasian church is sharing its facility with a Latino church, or an African-American church shares its facilities with a Laotian congregation.  You may be familiar with such examples or you may have to do some sleuthing.  If the later is the case, go online and find an example of a church sharing its facilities with Christians from another culture.  Or you could call your denominational office.  Then you may wish to call the church you locate and ask them a few questions over the phone.  Whatever you choose the result of your inquiry should be to answer this question: What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of a multi-cultural approach?

EVANGELISM & A Link To Donald McGavran’s Original Article: The Bridges of God

by Bob Whitesel, 3/4/15.

A former student in my “Growing a Multi-Generational Church” course once said, “Once the message (Good News) gets into the culture, then it is like an infection and spreads more rapidly, easily.”

QUOTE McGavran on Bridges of God copyTo depict this, Donald McGavran used the metaphor of  “the bridges of God,” suggesting we must:

  • build multiple bridges to a culture
  • across which the Good News can travel
  • more quickly
  • and concurrently.

Here is a downloadable version of Donald McGavran’s seminal article on “The Bridges of God:”


(From The Bridges of God [Revised Edition] by Donald Anderson McGavran. Published in the United Kingdom by World Dominion Press, 1955. Revised edition 1981. Distributed in the United States by Friendship Press, New York. Used by permission.)