History, Scripture, and Missional Communities

Post-Christian Europe

  • Our future missionary culture vs. Christendom

  • Think like a missionary

  • Missional Communities—if everything you do succeeds, you are not trying hard enough. We need to empower people to do things themselves, which entails some failure.

  • “Think of a person that you care about deeply that is not a Christian and for whatever reason (justified or not) they will not come to a Sunday church service. –now think about what church could look like for them? How do we reach that person?”—we need to exegete the culture we are trying to reach. Jesus says to ‘go to them’, so what does it look like to go to them?

Missional Communities

  • Ex: MC made up of middle school parents and their kids. Relationships are deep, but need a spiritual component to grow deeper. Many residual Catholics. They know that you are a Christian so when you invite and say: “adding a spiritual component will deepen our relationship, help us learn to be better parents, and lead their kids.” Discussion centered around gratitude for vacations, life, ETC to God. Many people prayed and many were a surprise!

    • Relationship→deepen relationships (via spiritual conversations→talk about life in light of those conversations

  • “Interact with non-Christians as much as Christians”

  • People receive prayer well—“Be Jesus weird, not religious weird.”

  • Can take a long time for relationships to reach a point where MCs make sense. –the invite should include the expectation that we’ll talk about Jesus. No bait and switch.

Biblical Backing for Missional Communities

  • Oikos—Greek for Household. Where friends, family, neighbors, coworkers gathered. Oikos were centers for family and professional life. It made sense for the early church to meet there because they were a persecuted minority and could not have a building specifically for religious gatherings.

    • 20-70 people

    • “Jesus is Lord” was their ‘password’

    • had a ‘mission-vision’—they had defined intentions of who they meant to reach with the Gospel.

    • Authentic community was essential.

  • Romans 16—makes reference to several Oikos.

    • v. 3-5 Greet Prisca and Aquila…and the church in their House.

    • v. 10 Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus—meaning household.

    • v. 11 Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus.

    • v. 14 and the brothers who are with them (referring to the household again)

    • v. 15 Philologus, Julia, Nereus, and his sister, Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Could refer to an Oikos meeting in the imperial palace since these are typically names of slaves. Also—passage in Phil 4:22 corroborates this idea “Caesar’s household.”

    • 1 Cor. Chp. 12—makes more sense in the context of a household gathering.

Historical/Statistical Perspective on Oikos/community movement and Following Institutionalization

  • Oikos—Early Church and China

    • AD 40 about 1000 Christians=approximately .0017% of Roman population

    • AD 350 about 34m Christians=approximately 56.5% of Roman population

    • This amounts to about 40% growth every decade. The only other example of this level of growth is in the Chinese church (which uses the Oikos model). May be more Christians in China than members of the communist party in China. –on track to be a Christian majority

  • After Institutionalization (Constantine)

    • Church and State became interwoven, people lost sight of Missional living.