Oikos: going somewhere?
Hopefully you’ve been following the series on Oikos on the 3DM UK Blog over the summer, where they have shared some reflections on the principles of Oikos. Here on the Missional Communities blog we have been posting some practical suggestions of what Oikos might look like in real life. Today Helen shares some personal reflections on her experience based on the most recent 3DM UK blog post entitled ‘Where’s the Adventure?’
- Firstly, it would be really easy to start a Missional Community focussing on the UP (worship, prayer etc) and IN (accountability, fun, socials) dimensions, and be tempted to leave the OUT (mission, being good news) dimension for when people have got to know each other a bit better. Don’t be tempted to do this! What you may find is that you inadvertently create a cosy group of people who become reluctant to engage with any OUT kind of activity when you suggest it. So many of us feel most comfortable in the UP & IN dimensions and so consequently it is vital that the OUT dimension is present right from the very beginning, setting the culture you want to continue with. This will create a sense of shared life and adventure together much more quickly than many prayer meetings or social events.
- When you do an OUT activity/event together, do something ‘low-bar’ (unless you have a group of raving evangelists!), perhaps something that offers a little challenge for the most nervous of your group, but which most people would be comfortable with. You could prayer walk the area upon which your missional vision is based, hold some OUT-focussed social events to which people can easily invite their friends – perhaps a charity fundraiser of some sort, or a wine tasting evening, or a walk in the local park followed by the pub or a picnic – or maybe undertake some kind of project together which helps someone else – Besom projects where you offer your time to help others are especially good for this kind of thing.
- If you have a few people who are itching for something ‘higher bar’ such as treasure hunting, or starting a discussion group or going out on the streets then release them to go and do those things, with the expectation that they share testimony with the MC and continue to encourage others to go out with them. Doing something scary feels much safer if you’re with people who have been there and done it before!
- One MC that I used to lead had the vision of supporting and encouraging each other in the various areas of work and ministry to which God had called us. To create a sense of adventure together we would occasionally all turn up to support an event or something that one of the members was involved in e.g. a community Easter kids party, some detached youth work…but we would regularly do something ‘missional’ all together as a group as well. For a couple of years we did some fundraising as a group to buy refugee and asylum seeker kids in our city Christmas presents (through a relational link one of our group had to a midwife); another time we held an Easter egg hunt in the city centre & gave out small Easter eggs to passers by, and still another time we held a mission day where we found various projects we could all go off and do in smaller groups and then reconvened at the end of the day for worship, testimony and debrief.
It almost doesn’t matter what you do as a group together to begin with, just make sure that you do something! Set the culture of mission as soon as you begin the MC and keep it high on the agenda!
Helen Askew lives in Deal, Kent along with her two young children and husband Ben who is training for ordination. She works for St George’s Church with responsibility for everyone under 30. They have just planted a new MC for young adults there, are working to establish youth MCs and also work with 3DM UK from time to time!